Students had no say in who would represent them as Students’ Association president next year, but they do have a say in what that person will do.
Don’t get us wrong, Connor Best has the talent, leadership and goals to make an outstanding president. But even the best leaders need accountability from their constituents.
Students should stay informed on SA issues and activity to make sure representatives are earning their paychecks.
SA president, vice president, treasurer and secretary each make $1,080 per month, each bringing in more than $8,000 per academic year. Second-level SA employees, such as chief communications officer, chief development and chief financial officer, make $540 each per month, making more than $4,000 each per year. These salaries come from the student activities fund, and that money comes from the students, giving students an even greater incentive to keep accountable their representatives, senators and officers.
Students must keep an eye on what SA is doing. They should attend meetings, talk to their representatives, file complaints, submit ideas, provide feedback and make requests.
Some students might be under the impression that SA can’t really do anything. The truth is, it obviously doesn’t have the same power as administration, but at the end of the day, it can do something.
Although SA can’t wield equivalent power to administrators, it does maintain increased ability to bend administrative ears. Not to mention, SA officers dole out $180,000 per academic year. Out of that total, SA allocated more than $80,000 to student organizations this academic year and used more than $6,000 for student events.
However, nearly $7,000 went unspent last semester, said SA Treasurer Chris Shim, senior finance major from Atlanta.
Every dollar SA distributes represents pennies out of our pockets. SA is a heavily funded organization that students have the power to influence. And although we continually complain about tuition increases, we don’t often question where a large chunk of the student activities fee goes.
Unlike tuition, students can directly affect the distribution of the student activities fund. We can plan worthwhile events in our student organizations and request funds from SA that we will actually spend. We can give representatives ideas on how to use money allocated to classes and general activity funds. And we can watch how SA spends its money, holding it accountable when funds are going unused.
Elections are just the beginning. It’s your money, use it when you need it.