Monday, February 28, 2005

"Like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys" 

Which they are, give or take a few years.

I mentioned last week that we first learned about the resignation of the entire student finance committee here at SCSU by way of an op-ed written by its chair in the student paper. Today's copy of the paper runs the story as page one news. The rift seems wider than even Mr. Bah, the outgoing SFC chair, represented.
"We've had people say that they will never vote to approve any funding for athletic groups," Bah said. "We've had other organizations that were denied because there was some issues that student government supported and they did not. They denied their request for money."

Student government president Hal Kimball said that every member of student government votes differently. ...

"I don't persuade anybody with a vote. I don't debate or tell a senator to vote for this or vote for that," he said. "The only time I do is when the issue is extremely vital, and then I will pass the gavel."

Vice-chair of the finance committee Yee Ling Mui said that Kimball has the ability to press his beliefs onto others both inside and outside of meetings. "They are not going to come out and tell you 'we don't support groups that don't support us,' but it's obvious they do," she said. "He passes the gavel a lot."

SFC is an appointed body and its decisions are approved by student government. But cui custodiet custodiens? In the story we also learn that Kimball's vice president had to be talked down off the ledge from resigning.

In an e-mail sent on Feb. 13 and obtained by the University Chronicle, student government vice-president Bianca Rhodes resigned from her position. In the letter, Rhodes listed various reasons for her resignation.

Following are several passages from the letter: "I really don't care if there will be some negativity against me for my resignation because honestly, I did what I could, with the time that I had. I have tried to run meetings, and they have ran away from me and turned into chaos and I think that is because I believe that I have probably became simply a doormat," "There are so many accomplishments that we could have done this year but didn't happen" and "Senators need to do their job. I have been noticing that this is not happening."

Judicial council, however, ruled that the letter did not constitute a resignation because of its electronic format and ruled that Rhodes remain vice-president. After meeting with Kimball, Rhodes decided to hold her position for the semester.

What do you do with a student government that appears out of control? This question is even more vital now that it is trying to seize the pursestrings over student activity fees. Paraphrasing P.J. O'Rourke, giving student activity money to unchecked student government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.