Editorial The Senate’s desperate soliciting

We are disgusted by an email sent out by the Academic Affairs Chair of the Student Government asking presidents of student organizations for money to fund a new website program for the Senate. This sad fundraising attempt that begs already budget-constrained student organizations for capital is shameful.

The Senate wants $3000 to defray the cost for LegiSlate, a computer program that would allow the legislative body to post its bills and each senator’s voting record online. While this site sounds like a practical idea to communicate with the vast majority of the students that are clueless as to what the Senate actually does, asking student organizations to fund the expense is absurd.

Are student organizations like Organization for Jamaican Unity and the Caribbean Students Organization meant to divert the funds they’re raising for the victims of Hurricane Ivan to fund the Senate’s website whim?

In fact, the Senate already has a rather comprehensive website, and if it really wanted to post its bills and senator voting records, it could do so in its current site without incurring any expense. This would fare better than requesting donations from student organizations that don’t care about some of the useless, repetitive bills the Senate passes. Cases in point, taken from last semester’s Senate minutes: Bill to Amend the Senate Statues, Bill to Ratify a Student Government Senator, Bill to Ratify an Elections Commissioner.

In the email, the Chair tries to spin the issue, saying that LegiSlate – and its “interactive interfaces” – would be helpful to student organizations, which is why they should pay for it. After checking out the program’s brochure, however, it’s clear that the website is more useful to senators than to the rest of the student body. In all honesty, very few if any students are going to log on to read each piece of legislation submitted to the Senate and track its process.

And, while the cost per student organization may not be too steep, it’s the principle of having to pay the Senate that irks us. It’s desperate, needy, and shows poor form.

Besides, the Senate is perfectly capable of working to fundraise on its own, much like all other student organizations are forced to do. Car washes, bake sales, and auctions, anyone?

In fact, the members of the Senate could each make a contribution to go towards paying for LegiSlate and lower the amount of money to be fundraised. This would be at a higher cost per student than charging the student organizations, but at least the students using the website would be the ones paying for it – and the Senate would keep the little dignity it has left.