Against Dissolution

By JOHN GOSSELIN

The same people threatening to dissolve the Student Government Association voted in favor of raising your Student Activities Fee by $20 next year after just a few minutes of debate. They considered important changes to SGA bylaws in even less time, changes which would restructure the Finance Committee as a special standing committee, changing how your student organizations will be funded in the future. It was impossible to tell whether or not these ideas were good given the time we had to discuss them. In pursuing long debates over the minutia of the 13 proposals, your senators have failed to think about their responsibility for managing the $1.2 million annual budget of the SGA, and more importantly, they have failed you.

To be clear, I support the 13 proposals. However, there is a significant difference between supporting the proposals and supporting the asinine strategy under which they were brought to our community. The lame-duck senators threatening the dissolution of the SGA changed their tune as soon as they realized that they stood to defund MCAB and every other organization with a budget larger than $10,000 for next year by not attending our last meeting. They quickly requested the scheduling of a ceremonial additional last meeting so that they could dissolve the SGA with a symbolic flourish. What does this action symbolize, exactly? These people have already made it clear that they are dissatisfied with their work with the administration this year; otherwise they would not have sent the proposals. To dissolve the SGA only after approving the $10,000 and over budgets would symbolize an annual tradition and nothing more, since SGA dissolves at the end of that meeting anyways to make room for next year’s SGA, just like any other student organization.

I would be in favor of this strategy if it had consensus in the SGA or if the people in support of it would be serving on SGA next year. However, the main proponents of this strategy have been our two senior class senators, who are graduating, and our two first-year senators, neither of whom are continuing on SGA next year. A strategy this audacious requires steady leadership, especially when it begins its most crucial phase at the end of the year, or at least a plan for continuing the fight in the new year; the supporters of these proposals have provided no such plan, leaving those who remain stranded at sea.

I would reiterate that I support the 13 proposals, but that changes this important need discussion, refinement, and time. The SGA set an impossible task for the administration when we asked them to respond to these wide-ranging proposals so quickly. I can only hope that the people staying on for next year’s SGA will remember the terrible mistake of threatening dissolution and modify their behavior accordingly. Newly elected senators, I hope, will want to try to do their jobs before they want to try to quit them.

John Gosselin ’20 is the co-chair of Community Council. 

Editor’s Note: Members of the SGA have signed on in support of this letter and may continue to do so throughout the day. Thus far, they include:

Sophomore Senator Uno Lee

Feb Senator Bobbi Finkelstein

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