Letter to Senate: Student concerned over “abuse of power” by student governing board

Dear USF Senate:

I feel obligated to voice strong objections to your most recent abuse of power.

I find it unethical and disreputable that the Finance Committee/Senate has repeatedly defended this preliminary budget proposal vis-a-vis other universities who also give salaries to their student governing board.

Using external salary comparisons as a means to plead your case is absurd due to the innumerable differences between our Senate and other universities.

Additionally, you do not have the authority to simultaneously aquit yourselves of responsibility for this poor decision, which Ms. Platt attempts to do in her response via the online Foghorn forum.

Obviously, external financial situations are beginning to strain many areas within the university, but the Committee’s recent proposal is a clear abuse of our money and of our time.

I doubt I need to enumerate the various clubs and organizations that will be negatively affected by this decision, since all of them will, by default.

This obviously is not an issue of which organizations work more diligently than others, or for what reasons only 2 of the 12 funded clubs actually appealed this proposal, rather it is an issue regarding the economic power that the Senate via the Finance Committee has on campus and your erroneous assumption that this proposal actually represents the needs of all our students.

Is the Senate really that out of touch with the reality of clubs and organizations on campus, that this proposal has even reached the stage of voting?

That you are so ready to cut such necessary funds to vital on-campus clubs, without so much as the batting of your eyelid?

I can’t think of anything more indicative of Senate’s attitude towards student clubs and organizations than this proposal, which terrifies me.

Regardless which funded/non-funded accounts actually joined the Finance Committee, the reality is that the obligation for egalitarian representation for all clubs/organizations lies directly in the hands of the Senate (who obviously are deeply entrenched within the Finance Committee).

It is the responsibility of Senate to understand the needs of its clubs, and to appropriately respond to such demands, instead of clubs having to constantly plead their case to Senate.

Yes, you have a tremendous amount of responsibility to many people, which can be overwhelming, but students shouldn’t have to wonder whether their elected governing board is going to suddenly pull the rug out from under them at any given moment.

I think students, therefore, have the obligation to call each other out, especially when this decision affects the struggling clubs and organizations on campus that are vulnerable to this sort of exploitation.

Or at least value honesty as a legitimate criteria when explaining why you decided to employ a “top- down” policy to keep your own salaries intact.

I just hope that the Senate/Finance Committee is willing to pursue an open authentic dialogue throughout the next several weeks before the May 5th vote.

Further, I hope that the remaining clubs who have not appealed this proposal do so immediately, since this decision will establish a precedent for future USF student clubs and the relationship between Senate and its students.

Cate Maxon

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