Problems with the SGA

20 October 2011

Georgia State’s Student Government Association (SGA) came under fire in the first edition of this month’s The Signal student newspaper. In a letter to the editor, senior Amon Kirk gave his opinion about how Georgia State University is currently operating under a corrupt student government.

With such statements as, ‘Little separates SGA politics from the politics within our current U.S. government—corruption, a lack of transparency, greed and other questionable acts and policies,’ Kirk alerted many students who weren’t previously aware of the condition of our SGA. Kirk’s main points consisted of several instances in which tradition overthrew reason in SGA politics, including who was able to run and be elected president of SGA; how finances are, and instead should be spent; and how the SGA is not a representative of the diverse student body Georgia State encompasses.

Kirk also unveiled that although the Board of Regents voted to increase tuition, the SGA voted to increase their salaries. ‘Their justification, as said by a member in SGA follows: “The type of work we’re doing, we deserve to be paid more.’”

Kirk, a former SGA supporter, has since temporarily relinquished his association with the SGA and urged students to get involved in the SGA’s meetings to get the answers they deserve.

In last week’s edition of The Signal, James Dutton, the President of SGA responded to Kirk’s accusations. Dutton explained in great detail the formation, run and election of the Student First Ticket three years ago.

Dutton went on to explain how the Student First Ticket, although it has since had control of the SGA, is completely run by the students, for the students. He outlined how the Student First Ticket has accomplished many things for students, including the Repeat to Replace policy, the use of PantherCash all around campus, and the stagnation of institutional fees despite the determination of the Board of Regents to increase them. Dutton said, ‘Each of these initiatives took time and hard work from everyone in the SGA and shows our commitment to putting the needs of students first.’

As true as this statement may be, Dutton hardly addressed the majority of Kirk’s concerns. He did, however, clear up the issue of the SGA’s alleged salary raise. Dutton explained that although there was a vote to increase SGA Executive Board members’ salary, it was decided to not increase their salaries, but rather put the excess money towards more student programs.

Dutton concluded by inviting all students to attend the SGA Senate meetings, held every other Thursday in the Sinclair Suite (University Center). He also urged students to email him personally if they have any concerns as to who the SGA is, what the SGA does or what the SGA plans to do in the future.

After reading the coverage by The Signal, Stephanie Ifendu, a CIS major said, “This letter to the editor really opened my eyes as to what actually goes on behind the scenes in the SGA. It never occurred to me to think that things weren’t really in the student interest. I’m glad someone brought it up. And, I do plan on attending some of the SGA Senate meetings. I want to know what’s going on.”

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