Wednesday night allowed us to realize what little interest Congress apparently has in properly using the student body’s money.
In the fashion of a fine bureaucracy, the students’ governing body created a committee that nearly everyone deemed necessary to investigate budgetary inconsistencies but left that committee with no members, no time frame and a two-week break before details can be decided.
It happened like this:
A resolution passed during the old business portion of Wednesday’s meeting created a committee dealing with the budget to be chaired by Rep. Erin Baldwin, Administration Building. The committee will have nine members to be decided by majority vote of Congress.
The resolution was a good one; it deserved to pass, and it did.
But as “new business” dragged on closer to 7 p.m., more members began calling “points of privilege,” asking to be excused. Most did so to leave for church; one representative at 6:45 p.m. said he needed to eat in the Bean, and it closed at 7.
Congress lost its quorum soon after, down from 39 members at roll call to 22, exactly half of the filled seats. The committee will sit unmanned until Congress discusses business in two weeks.
If so many members find their weekly rituals more crucial than the potential misallocation of $85,000, then we must wonder for what purpose they are serving in Student Congress.
SA is not Monopoly; the money used there is real. Every undergraduate student has money invested in the body.
It appears Congress generally does not recognize this, instead adjourning when the students’ business gets too close to a supposedly pressing engagement that takes place 52 times a year.
Several things can be done to remedy this problem, and they start with President Jonathan Wilkerson.
Wilkerson, who preaches Wednesday nights at a local church, has made no secret that he prefers adjournment by 6:45 p.m. and has stopped counting those who leave early as absent. He can remind Congress that leaving early cheats the students, who elected these representatives, of their time.
Wilkerson also can shorten the announcement and prayer times at the beginning of the meeting. While announcements are important for student groups to disseminate their respective messages, a time limit per announcement would be beneficial.
The prayer time, which by itself has lasted more than half an hour on occasion, is a nice touch for the unity of student government. But of what benefit is such unity when its lengthiness robs the student body of its time and votes?
The students’ money and business are too important to be relegated to the back burner by rituals, no matter how worthy they are. And they certainly must take precedence over sliding into the Bean before it closes.
We apologize in advance if students’ money keeps Congress from its perceived personal commitments. Students will gladly have it back if SA’s members don’t want it.