Student Government Association should represent the student body and work to improve student organizations through funding, advice and support.
Membership in multiple organizations is encouraged for SGA officials and involvement on campus increases the likelihood of getting elected. But, once elected, senators need to put biases aside and act in the best interest of the entire student body.
After winning the election last month, then President-elect Randy Gipson-Black’s first move was to present a bill to Student Senate on behalf of his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha.
See Page 1 for more on the Lambda Chi Alpha bill.
Though his inauguration had not yet occurred and he technically did not break any rules, the situation is unprofessional and poses a conflict of interest. Immediately after winning the campus’s support, Gipson-Black used his power to benefit his own organization.
Austin Gipson-Black, Lambda Chi Alpha member, new vice president and brother of President Gipson-Black, served as the religion district’s senator at the time of the vote. Austin voted in favor of the fraternity’s bill, despite the SGA bylaw that reads: “members of the Student Senate shall recuse themselves of participation in any inquiries pertaining to themselves.”
While campaigning, President Gipson-Black said he would avoid conflicts of interests. He and the other senators should set a good, unbiased example.
Student Senate also should avoid conflicts and should use SGA money in a fair way that benefits the most students because that money comes from students’ fees.
Lambda Chi Alpha members have every right to ask SGA for funds, but Student Senate passed the bill at the full amount requested. Lambda Chi received $2,000, despite a discrepancy in the bill, which senators were aware of. This is a high contrast to the majority of other bills proposed this semester that the Senate amended and passed at lower amounts than requested.
Gipson-Black said only three members would attend the conference the money was requested for, but the bill listed the costs for four people. Senators ignored the discrepancy during the vote, even though they asked for a better explanation of the costs at the previous meeting.
Not only did senators let Lambda Chi submit a poorly-written bill with discrepancies, they didn’t make any amendments. They gave the largest allocation of this semester for an event that directly impacts only three people. This is unacceptable.
Any extra money rolls over to next semester, so senators should have reduced the amount for Lambda Chi and saved the rest of the funds for a bill that affects more students.
The bill shouldn’t have passed. Not when it had discrepancies the first time, and definitely not when there was no effort put toward explaning the costs in a more clear way.
All members of SGA need to pay more attention to what they’re doing and think of the implications of their decisions. Bad decisions like this can be avoided if the student body keeps their representatives accountable.
Pay attention and speak up when representatives are spending your student fees irresponsibly.