Considering real world consequences

On April 8, 2010, The Eagle attended a budget appeal hearing in the Student Senate office.

The Senate Finance Committee members present were: Senate Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairperson, Chelsea Keeney, of Callaway; Senator at-large, CAB Representative, and member of the student body (depending on which day we asked) James Bahensky, of Anselmo; Senator at-large, Michelle Mahr, of Sidney; Chief Justice of the Senate Constitutional Court, Jake Karmazin, of Lawrence; Senate Vice President, Jennifer Weiss, of Ainsworth; CAB Treasurer, Christine Aye, of Burma; CAB Representative and member of the Senate Constitutional Court, Hella Bekele, of Ethiopia; CAB representative, Luke Wright, of Waunita; and adviser Laure Sinn, coordinator of student activities. Senate Corresponding Secretary Bethany Seifert, of Lawrence, was absent.

Also present were non-committee members Senate President Jake Zitterkopf, of Scottsbluff, and Senate Secretary Ashley Maxon, of Laurel.

The senate bylaws state that the committee shall include “two (2) members from the general student population (these members must be registered as full time CSC students).”

When we asked previously who on the committee was from the general student population—and not a member of CAB or Senate—Seifert said, “that’s open to interpretation.”

At this point, the Senate members’ interpretation of their bylaws is largely irrelevant. It’s unlikely two unaligned students would sway the committee vote. However, the committee’s actions do have consequences for The Eagle, and its readers.

Although The Eagle’s allocation is greater than most other student organizations, it is spent on printing and nothing else. It is for this reason that we feel members of the Senate Finance Committee acted irresponsibly and without regard to the effect on our readers on and off campus.

Few other clubs are as open and welcoming to students or reach as many on campus or in the community. Participation on The Eagle is open to all students, regardless of rank, GPA, skill or previous experience. The only requirements are dedication and time.

The committee’s decision to cut The Eagle’s budget for the 2010-2011 school year by $2,000 smacks of an attempt to censor The Eagle.

Members of the finance committee told us that they know best—better even than the full senate—how the money should be allocated, and that their decisions were based on where the money would be “best utilized.”

The money left over following allocations is given to CAB each year. Although the $105,000 the committee had to allocate did not change from last year, and few clubs saw significant increases, the remainder given to CAB was $1,685 more than last year.

Furthering the slap-on-the-wrist tone of the unjustified cut, after the rigmarole of appeal, we were told we could request the $2,000 from CAB next fall.

College students often behave as though they are not in “the real world.” And indeed, many of the responsibilities of a college student do not have real-world ramifications.

Despite the institutional bubble wrap that shields many students’ experiences from the consequences of the real world, our actions here at CSC are the building blocks of character and the foundation of our integrity after we graduate.

The Eagle staff takes the responsibility of publishing a weekly newspaper seriously. Where possible, we do things the same way a professional news organization does. When we aren’t sure how to proceed, we look to our adviser, who has been through the rigors of working at a professional publication.

It’s with some chagrin that we receive the continued silence of the Student Senate. We assume that our concerns are being written off as the whining of just another student organization, with no real world analog.

And indeed, ignoring The Eagle’s continued call for an explanation will have few real world consequences for any member of the Student Senate, or the Senate Finance Committee.

All of this is over and done. However, the staff of The Eagle hope that the newly elected senators, and next year’s committee will take the opportunity to act more responsibly, and with a greater sense of the real world consequences after they move on from CSC.

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