Editorial: Senate should not vote on new fee
By Dave Hon
February 19, 2012
Students will most likely not have a choice or a vote when SGA implements a new fee to make up for Western’s budget shortfall.
The fact that some senators say that they know what is best for the students is not only appalling but also insulting. First off, this argument assumes that they are not students, but some being that is above being a student. Secondly, they were elected to listen to the student body, not dictate what we should think and educate us.
The vote to decide whether students should pay an additional fee to make up for the budget shortfall should be decided by the students. The decision is too important to be voted on by 18 individuals, most of who were not even elected by the student body.
Senators who are afraid of a low voter turnout are simply making excuses. Do they really think that when money is attached students won’t take the time to vote on it? If they don’t vote on it, it’s because they weren’t told about the vote.
Sure, one-side of the argument is that Western needs the money. Western is looking at a huge shortfall because of cuts to state appropriations. President Robert Vartabedian has a long list of suffering budgets that need help.
With that said, the few should not govern the many. That would be a tyrannical oligarchy. Sure, Congress raises taxes without our consent, but as Griffon News columnist Gary Weidemann said at Monday’s SGA committee meeting, Congress probably isn’t the best example for students to model our senate after.
If students are thinking that they have the power to vote in a fee, they’re right; they do. But just because they have the power to do something doesn’t make it an action that is representative of the students. Students will lose faith if a fee is voted on by Senate without a student vote as well.
This isn’t a matter of taxes or doing what the university needs or even informing students to make the right decision. If the majority of students are against a fee, informed or uninformed, then that is what students have decided.
If voted in by SGA solely, the fee would not be a student fee. While in the eyes of the governor it would be, students would see this as an infringement upon their sovereignty as students.
If senators honestly believe that a fee would benefit students, they should inform the students of what they think it is right instead of exercising their powers and flexing their arrogance. If it does go up for a student vote, they should be objective and separate themselves from their duty to the ‘university’ and think and vote objectively with the student’s desires in mind.