SGA Poorly Represents Student Body

Kevin Fuerst

SGA President Ram Parimi, in his weekly Maroon-News article on January 28, exemplifies the uselessness of the Student Government Association as a group and the non-representative nature of his Presidency. In an article on page 2, in the same issue, it stated that at the first SGA meeting of the semester “the main focus of the meeting revolved around the presentation of the covered cruiser stop drawings”. Parimi again mentions the covered cruiser stops in his own article “Ramblings” and in the “This Week in SGA Land” advertisement. First and foremost, why is this the biggest issue of an SGA meeting, let alone an entire year? It seems as if covered cruiser stops are the biggest issue President Parimi and Vice President Casey McCormack are pushing. In fact, in a November 19, 2004 article Parimi states the covered cruiser stops are “going to be my goal for the year.” Yet, the reasoning for covered cruiser stops is ignorant and unfounded.

The same November 19, 2004 article featured a description of Parimi’s proposal for the cruiser stops. In it he states that the covered stops would prevent students from ” driv[ing] home under the influence of alcohol” because they have to wait too long, maybe in bad weather, for a ride. What a sad commentary on Colgate students from the one student who should have the most faith in students – the biggest and only deterrent to drunk driving is a covered and heated bus stop. In addition to Parimi’s comments on the need for covered cruise stops, he mentions the proposed cost of each stop – $10,000-15,000. The article states that “although the price sounds costly, students feel that the covered cruiser stops are a necessity” and goes on to quote a single student who favors convenience at any cost. I’m glad that every student was asked for their opinion how $60,000 of their tuition would be spent. Is there really nothing else our SGA could be doing with the $60,000 it will spend on covered cruiser stops? Think of how much money each SGA recognized group could receive if that enormous sum of money went to groups instead of making sure drunken students were warm and toasty – I know the groups I belong to would love even a meager $100 increase in their budgets.

Aside from the excessive wastes of money and time of the SGA, which in and of themselves are enough to condemn the current leadership, the SGA consistently does not attempt to represent the entirety of the student body, its only necessary function. Parimi states, in reference to a problem with the Colgate Viewbook, that it “currently doesn’t have a single picture or article about Greek life at Colgate …. their presence in Colgate’s most visible prospective catalog is crucial.” I’m not exactly sure why it is the SGA’s duty to ensure that Greek life is described in the Viewbook in the first place – Greek organizations have their own governance bodies and should be quite capable of speaking for themselves to the proper authorities should they want more representation in the Viewbook.

However, and more importantly, how is it the SGA’s position that Greeks are the only unrepresented group in the Viewbook worth fighting for? Just to provide one example of what I am sure are many underrepresented groups, Advocates, the Queer-Straight Alliance, has long pointed out that the Viewbook and other literature sent to prospective students lacks any mention of LGBTQ students. So, again, why does the SGA find it appropriate and necessary to fight the battles of Greek life while ignoring – either purposefully or by sheer ignorance – other groups who, likewise, have no representation in the Viewbook? If Parimi purports to be the ultimate representative of all Colgate students, which his position clearly indicates, he should be the first to notice all groups missing from the Viewbook.