The executive board of the Student Government Association recently passed legislation that set up a $10,000 fund to provide financial assistance to TCU students who were victims, or whose families were victims, of Hurricane Katrina.While this is an admirable effort, the execution leaves something to be desired.
First, the aid will be awarded based upon decisions of a three-person committee overseen by an adviser. Its specific decisions will be made in complete confidentiality. While this confidentiality exists to protect the privacy of the victims, it creates a lack of accountability for the committee members. Further, this plan was executed by the executive branch of SGA without even consulting the legislative branch, which could still vote the plan down.
Second, the fund is taken out of a reserve fund of about $117,000 that SGA has accumulated over years of under budgeting. Why hasn’t this money been used to help solve other university-related problems? It could be used to partially fund another parking lot or to get better food on campus, two perennial concerns of SGA’s constituency, the student body.
Third, no one will receive more than $1,000. Is that amount really going to put a dent in the expenses of people who lost everything and have to pay more than $20,000 in tuition and fees? If something is going to be done, then it should make a difference. Given the amount of money available, one-year scholarships could be created for these displaced students, so their families can get back on their feet.
Finally, it is not the function of SGA to provide charity aid. The function of SGA is to represent the overall wishes of the student body and make sure those students have the best TCU experience they can.
What if that money were used toward a fundraising event? Perhaps SGA could pay for a popular musician or group to give a benefit concert for the victims.
In any case, the executive board’s heart is in the right place, but it seems like its members didn’t fully think the idea through.
Associate Editor Jarod Daily for the Editorial Board