In a recent column I stated that one way to improve Student Government would be to dissolve the Student Activity Fund and Allocation Committee (SAFAC) and have its authority absorbed by the SG Senate. I made this statement based on my observation that schools where Student Government plays a major role in the life of students, SG has the sole authority to allocate funds to student organizations. SAFAC is tasked with the job of allocating money to student organizations that apply for extra funds to implement their programs. Due to the amount of money available annually -approximately $500,000-SAFAC has to weigh a number of criteria carefully when determining how much money to hand out. For the purpose of clarification, I did not make the comment about dissolving SAFAC because I was in any way implying that the members of SAFAC don’t do their jobs properly. They in fact do an exemplary job, an often thankless and misunderstood one.
Getting back to the question at hand, my answer is-no. If UM was much larger and had more money, then it might be appropriate for SAFAC to be dissolved. But not now and not here. Why? Because the primary purpose of SG, namely the promotion of programming events and the initiation and administration of special projects, would be ultimately overshadowed were the Senate to take on the additional responsibility of allocating funds to student organizations. With only one primary focus, the students are better served if programming and financing are kept separate, a dynamic the current system preserves.
What would make SG better is if all of you paid more attention to it. It’s gotten so bad that the Elections Commission decided to cancel the presidential and vice-presidential debates this year. I must say, having been a candidate for president last year, it was very arduous indeed to sit through all 105 minutes of the debate last year, especially since only the supporters of candidates go and the most intelligent question asked was about which celebrity we’d each bring to campus. As if anybody gives a crap which celebrity the SG president would bring to campus! My answer was Rush Limbaugh. You all deserve to be forced to listen to all of his three-hour show.
I wish the Elections Commission would have been able to find a way to make the debates better, but I don’t blame them for not wasting their time. Like the audience is even worth their trouble.
Scott Wacholtz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.