COLUMN: Greek community leadership deserves UOSA funding
Proponents of student involvement on campus might have been excited earlier this month when UOSA President Joe Sangirardi vetoed legislation that would cut pay for Greek Council advisory positions, but the motivation behind the veto is troubling.
Sangirardi’s veto was in response to the limited scope of the funding cuts, which he said do not go far enough. During the same legislative session in which these funding cuts were proposed, student congress voted to create a new paid position within its own administrative structure.
Unfortunately for student groups, this recent move toward funding cuts for leaders of student organizations highlights a troubling trend toward less student involvement on campus and in decision-making positions. Sangirardi justifies the proposed cuts by saying organizations that organize and benefit only a certain section of the student population should not receive student activity fees. These include the Greek Council but also the Student Bar Association and the Housing Center Student Association.
While Sangirardi’s argument makes some sense, it ignores the significant impact these organizations have on students and also the greater Norman and Oklahoma community. Just because a group does not engage all students does not mean its impacts are less significant.
Possibly the best example of this engagement is the greek system. While I admit the most impactful activities performed by greek societies generally involve their own members, the greek community is particularly successful in sponsoring events that engage the entire campus, from fundraising to entertainment. They also perform an amazing amount of community service.
These examples demonstrate that, while much of their activity bolsters internal unity, that unity and organizational prowess is used to benefit the larger community in and around OU as well.
It is a patent dismissal of these efforts that allows UOSA to eliminate the pay of the leaders of these organizations who hold positions within UOSA. Student campus leaders should be seeking ways to build alliances with the greek community for mutual benefit, not pushing them away. Simply, the greek community contributes much more to the OU community than we contribute back to it.
Moreover, as odd as it may seem to UOSA, greek students are students, too. The four councils represent a huge number of students who deserve a significant voice in student government
When I read the list of organizations whose leaders Sangirardi and UOSA wanted to cut off from UOSA and researched what they do on campus, Sangirardi’s opposition to these groups further puzzled me.
The Student Housing Association, for example, has a ton of events for students and seems especially important in acclimating freshman into the OU community. This organization would seem like a perfect entity for UOSA and Campus Activities Council to partner and cooperate with.
I am also surprised UOSA, made up of future lawyers and politicians, would not want to forge strong links with the Student Bar Association.
Having served in student government before at another college, I am sympathetic to the need for stewardship in managing student fees. It seems, however, UOSA has taken an extremely shortsighted attitude toward its responsibilities with these fees.
Instead of alienating large student organizations from the process of student government, UOSA should be taking advantage of the large networks of students these organizations employ. UOSA should work with, not against, the Greek Council to make a better campus and community for students.
Contact Joe and ask him to stop pursuing divisiveness in student government.
Mark Brockway is a political science senior.