Thursday, September 30, 2010
Student Senate: Drawing about 105 thousand dollars from your student activity fee fund, Student Senate is the org you pay for that is MOST likely to let you down. Before you start wondering what the hell Student Senate could possibly blow 105k a year on, I'll break their budget down a little further. The largest portion of Senate's budget, about 72 thousand dollars, goes to paying the Student Legal Services lawyer. If you don't already know what this is, you are probably one of the lucky few that have yet to be arrested by UNH's finest. Student Legal Services is an excellent resource for ALL students on this campus. Services are free and Joanne Stella, the lawyer, is extremely knowledgeable and helpful with all cases involving the trouble one is likely to get into on an average weekend in Durham. This is probably the ONLY reason Senate is worthwhile, and in actuality the two's only tie is that Senate is using your money to pay for her--I can't give them much credit there.
In theory Student Senate is a great idea: give students the power to perform checks and balances over University policies and actions. In practice it's a whole different story. The biggest fundamental problem with Student Senate is that THEY HAVE NO ACTUAL POWER. I've heard the rhetoric, "We have the voice of the student body." Bottom line is, THAT. MEANS. NOTHING! Senate goes about their weekly meetings commending or condemning certain polices or vowing to work with the University to find common ground, but at the end of the day the University can and will do whatever it pleases. Senate can pass bills until its blue in the face and Administration doesn't have to change a thing. IF you don't believe me, look into the housing policies of late that make University housing through the Residential Life Regime just about a step up from living in prison--say so long to personal rights. The reality is that the Administration doesn't have to listen to a single thing senate says or does, that's when Senate's even standing up for us and saying or doing anything.
The second core problem is that in recent years Senate has been composed of "YAY" saying administration supporters--not to mention ex or current residential life members. This is a vital failure in checks and balances! Viewpoints of senators have already been so skewed by member's ties to the Administration it is impossible to expect change or even fair results. When the usual turnout is less than 1000 students for the yearly Student Body President, VP and Trustee elections, I question the legitimacy of Senate at even its very foundation. It seems like the ultimate win for the Administration: Take all the students who are motivated and looking for change, allow them to have something to keep them busy, and continue on doing what it was going to do in the first place.
But hey, just my thoughts.... (I'd love to hear yours!)
Next Time: Find out why CAB is likely to let you down.
*thanks to those who provided the information that made this series of articles possible (you know who you are)
and as always, Live Life Lifted