Policy waiver hypocritical of SGA
Last week, the Student Government Association (SGA) passed the Joint Allocation to Georgia Tech Night at Woodruff Arts Center. This $600 bill, written to fund Stinger Bus transportation to and from the Woodruff Arts Center, was funded out of the Prior Year (PY) account. Prior Year is one of four accounts that SGA is able to draw from and is usually used to fund student organizations.
The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has strict guidelines for what can be funded from the PY account and these guidelines are almost always followed by SGA when allocating funds to student organizations. One such rule states, “Travel shall not be funded to locations within a 150-mile radius of Tech’s Atlanta campus.” The Woodruff Arts Center is less than one mile from campus.
As an undergraduate representative, I cannot speak to the discussions held on the matter in the Graduate Student Senate (GSS), but this issue was discussed in some length in the Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR).
The issue was twofold. First, the funding would not be approved for any other organization; second, the transportation was not truly needed. I will only discuss the first concern here, as the second does not have broad-ranging policy implications.
Many great student organizations hold events throughout the year, and these events are often off campus. Their events would be much more successful if they could request funding from SGA for transportation, but this is disallowed by JFC policy. For SGA to waive this policy in order to support their own event is nothing short of outright hypocrisy. The GSS and UHR each have accounts to fund initiatives of SGA that are not subject to JFC policy, and these accounts should have been used to fund this bill. Instead, SGA used money set aside to fund other organizations without even adhering to its own policies about the use of those funds.
I fully support Georgia Tech Night at the Woodruff Arts Center. I am volunteering at the event, and I hope that many students will come out and enjoy the best our great city has to offer. I also realize that this bill, at $600, is not a major impact on our PY account. I do, however, want to urge my fellow representatives and senators to carefully consider the implications of their decision to waive JFC policy in this case. Student organizations cannot receive funding for local transportation, so they work hard to raise funding for their events. For SGA not to do the same sends a message to the rest of our Tech community that our representatives are not upholding the trust that we place in them.
Stolen T’s foster community on campus
The current theft of T’s around campus is, in fact, a new Tech tradition triggered by the challenges of and punishments imposed on the more traditional stealing of the T from Tech Tower. T’s missing from navigational signs and signs along the edges or campus project a confusing and unkempt appearance to visitors. However, T’s missing from signs used primarily by Tech students create a sense of community and camaraderie amongst the student body and an endearing uniqueness within our campus.
As such, I think that the “Keep the T in Tech” campaign is misguided and that a different reform should be taken on by the administration. Increased penalties for the removal of T’s which are seen by people from outside of Tech are appropriate, but the Institute does not need to constantly replace T’s whose stealing is harmless and, for some, fun and enjoyable. The swiping of these T’s is not with malicious intent but to continue the feeling of home one feels from constant exposure to the atmosphere here at Tech.
There is a certain comfort felt when you see the trademark of a community of which you are a member and a pride when you are able to share this specific, unique characteristic to a visitor.
Civil and Environmental Engineering