Students should have a say in where our money goes

Featured Opinion Opinion

As I’m typing this, I’m sitting next to a sheet of paper taped to the newsroom wall with an interesting quote attributed to HBO’s The Newsroom.  It reads, “there’s nothing that’s more important to a democracy than a well informed electorate.”

I’ve taken this to mean that a government can’t truly be democratic without the voices of the governed, and those voices must be educated on the issues enough to matter.

The current proposal to redistribute funds that were originally intended to subsidize student-based areas was not announced to the student body, leaving them uninformed and will not be voted on by the students.

Another interesting quote comes from Former SGA President Jacob Scott and is on the front page of this paper.  Scott has clearly voiced concern over the proposed SSA redistribution’s ability to serve Missouri Western’s students. The very same students who weren’t thoroughly informed of the situation nor allowed to vote on it.

Keeping student’s out of the loop on what happens with their money is not only inappropriate, but destroys the spirit that the original SSA drafters had in mind.

Don’t believe me?

A third interesting quote comes from the front page of the February 16, 2012 issue of The Griffon News, when the proposal for the original act was announced, and is attributed to then President of SGA Alison Norris.

Norris acknowledged that a decision that affected the students so directly shouldn’t be made just by the handful of students who served on the senate.

“We’re not just going to bring it to Senate and say ‘let’s vote on it,'” Norris said. “Before we would ever do that we would have forums, pass out pamphlets and find out what the students want.”

So, in the beginning, the plan was to include student voice in the the entire process.

But, if you know you’re history, you know that the act ended up passing in the senate without students ever getting to vote, but at least SGA’s Executive Board dared to dream that the students would be allowed to have a say.

In our current situation, the proposal will fund university departments and virtually hand the university $200,000 of student money a year, while denying the students a say in how it is used.

Additionally, the proposal is being put to the Senate just three weeks after it was drafted, and will be voted on just before the semester ends, eliminating the possibility of the bill being tabled.

Look, I’m not saying that every issue SGA handles needs to have a student population vote; part of the reason why we elect senators and executives is because we want them to handle most of these for us.

However, the other reason we vote in elections is to protect our interests by casting our vote for people we trust. Had any one of the candidates running in the past election run on the platform of “I want to take money that we already make you pay and give a little over a third of it back to the university that you already pay to attend,” I probably would’ve avoided clicking their name.

But I didn’t get that option, and now student money may be being put back into the university’s general fund and I won’t get the option to try and stop it from happening.

However, fellow students, we will have an opportunity to at least voice our concerns at the April 18 SGA meeting before the senate vote.

I hope to see all of you in Blum 220 at 5:30. Let’s make our voices heard.