Student Association failing student body

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Student Association is off to a rough start in the first half of the semester.

Multiple individuals were appointed by the Association in September to become new members in a process that has been revealed to be controversial, resulting in an upcoming judicial review. This process began when applicants waiting were told that a closed session would be occurring with their approval; several of these applicants, who wish to not be named, explained that they feared that saying no to such a request would harm their chances of being appointed.

Meanwhile, the Association representatives were told that the applicants requested a closed session rather than being told about it. Furthermore, the Association then did not exit the closed session before voting on the new members, which became a violation of the bylaws. To make things worse, this issue was greatly spoken about outside of the Association, leading to other people knowing what occurred during a closed session.

Much of the year has been full of internal drama yielding little to no results for the student body. An organization granted so much money for the benefit of the students at SVSU has used so little of it, in which members have called being “fiscally responsible.”

I do not oppose the Student Association. I am a former member that only recently resigned due to time constraints. I believe the organization can be the most important one on campus, as it very well should be, and can make major impacts on the student body each year.

However, I have seen these issues firsthand and know the inactivity and lack of direction the organization has. I was urged by members of the Association to write the story to ensure the student body knew what was happening, because it is their tuition money being used for it.

The organization consists of a small number of the student body, some that are elected publicly by the student body and some that are appointed by the organization after the year begins. It is funded by a percentage of tuition from each student each year, resulting in the organization having a yearly budget of $136,625 and a general fund (reserve) budget of $93,058.05.

The organization is made up of six committees: Allocations (accounting for $56,225 of the budget), Campus Events ($10,800), Philanthropy ($10,800), Legislative and External Affairs ($6,300), Student Concerns ($5,300) and Public Information ($3,000). The remainder of the budget is placed into the general operations fund ($30,700), summer continuation fund ($11,500) and a winter retreat for the Association members ($2,000).

Of these funds, each committee chair, along with the Parliamentarian, earn a yearly salary of $1,100 while the President, Speaker of the House and Executive Assistant each make $4,900.
It is fair to ask, with such a large budget, what has Student Association done to fulfill its duties as outlined by its charter?

Thus far into the year, the Campus Events committee has spent the most from its budget, with nearly $1,000 going solely towards tailgating events, which includes purchasing two portable grills for the events. The Legislative committee follows with approximately $668, $650 of which was paid in dues to the Student Association of Michigan, and the Public Information committee has spent $88 total of its budget on Potty Postings.

The Campus Events committee has hosted multiple small-scale events, including the tailgates and a welcoming event. The Legislative committee has hosted two “Coffee and Constituents” events, one with the Association administration and one with Michigan state representative Vanessa Guerra.

The Philanthropy chair has scheduled one community event to assist with at the Saginaw Zoo and has secured sponsorships for the Battle of the Valleys event. The Public Information committee has kept up with updating Potty Postings and plans on ordering sweaters for the Association members, while the Student Concerns committee has addressed little during the first half of the semester.

Generally, the student body does not see much of this. The Association advertises that it does so much to conceal their lack of activity and benefit. With little media coverage and a lack of students outside the membership attending general meetings, Association members are free to do as they please at the expense of the student body. In this case, it is an expense of over $130,000.

If the Association accomplishes nothing by the end of the first semester, it can easily be assumed that nothing will be accomplished the following semester either. It is up to the student body to hold the Association accountable. It is the student body’s tuition funding the organization, and they must demand more from the organization that is in place to stand up for the students, and as President Jarrod Eaton campaigned on, make each student’s day a little bit better every day.

If this does not happen, thousands of dollars from tuition will be considered wasted, and the student body that lost that money will not even know.