Monday, the Weber State University Student Association Student Senate unanimously agreed to open an additional senate seat. The current Asian/Pacific Islander constituency will separate into their respective groups, each being represented individually starting fall semester 2012.
While ensuring that fair representation is the order of the student senate, now is not the time to add to our already-large student government.
While student fee monies may not be used to fund the $2,200-per-year tuition waiver student senators receive, activities and other constituency-specific catered events are.
Earlier this year, $25,000 of student fee money — that is, money that comes from students’ pockets to pay the required student fees each semester — was lost due to a cancellation of a contract made with Far East Movement.
Remember that poorly advertised concert. . . the one in which Far East Movement was going to bedazzle students and community members with their hippity-hoppishness and charming looks? Yep, neither do I.
If our student leaders are unable to manage our near-sacred student fee monies they are bequeathed, enlarging our student government should not be a prerogative at the moment.
Some may be crying, “Cole hates Asians and/or Pacific Islanders and/or the WSU Student Association!” Please, let me assure you that I do not. In fact, I consider Senator Lam Nguyen — the Vietnamese-born senator who undertook the feat of acquiring 150 signatures (and trust me, that is a feat) — my good friend, among with many of the other senators.
According to Title II, Section B of The By-laws of the WSUSA, it states that “a constituency is defined as any group of Weber State University students who share a unique community that can be legally tracked within the campus computer system, commonly known as Banner.”
If WSUSA wants to govern themselves by its own bylaws, there should be no division of the constituency of Asian/Pacific Islander; at least until that distinction is made by WSU.
If, however, WSUSA does not want to follow its bylaws and/or is set on adding another senate seat, perhaps a more pressing and — at this time — a more deserving constituency would be those that fall under the LGBT umbrella.
A few weeks ago, staff members from the Counseling and Psychological Services Center, along with a few other individuals — including some student senators — voiced their concern for the LGBT community at WSU. Some even suggested that an LGBT center would be appropriate for WSU students to meet some needs.
An LGBT center would most likely be funded through student fees, much like the Women’s Center. For this and other reasons, I feel that a center would be the wrong course of action. However, this group is not represented appropriately at WSU, and it needs representation.
According to the Provost’s Office, this fall semester some 25,483 students are enrolled at WSU (which is a record-setter). In another statistic-heavy survey — the WSU Student Division’s The Profile of Today’s College Student conducted in December 2010 — it was determined that 92 percent of WSU students consider themselves heterosexual. That means 8 percent — over 2,000 students — consider themselves not heterosexual. Of course, there may be some of those 2,000 that don’t consider themselves LGBT either; most likely, however, the vast majority of those 2,000 students do.
In the same survey, only three percent of students opted their ethnicity as Asian/Pacific Islander — that’s 764 students amidst a combined grouping. If this bifaceted constituency were divided, the numbers to support a customized senator does not hold its weight against a 2,000-plus student need.
Perhaps the data gathered from the WSU Student Affairs Division would meet the legality clause in the WSUSA’s bylaws. Perhaps not. Additionally, a student or student leader would be required to obtain the necessary 15o student signatures to support such a senate position.
In any case, I really like Weber — as do countless others — for its cost-friendly environment. The more we add, the higher the cost. I am an admirer of K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid. Well, then again, maybe not an affectionate admirer of the last ‘S.’