By: Spencer Richardson and Katherine West, Contributors
A word from the editor: In our last issue we released an editorial regarding our stance on SGA’s lack of transparency towards the 20 percent cut in funding for student organizations across the board. Since then, several students and organizations have reached out to us in agreement and SGA has still failed to provide an open explanatory statement to the student body over the cuts. The following article expresses the thoughts of Furman students who are annoyed over the cuts.
Without warning and without a logical explanation, the Student Government Association cut the funding of student organizations by 20 percent. Over 50 SGA-sponsored groups are watching their budgets slashed. As many know all too well, this is detrimental for clubs on campus. This means cancelling trips. It means fewer CLPs. It means an overall drop in the quality of the Furman Experience – a consequence we all must endure.
SGA claims that they are in debt. Some sources say $76,000, while others say $100,000. We simply do not know. An SGA official explained that they have run into this debt “unknowingly.” How does a group this prominent incur such severe debt without realizing it? To this point, there has been no transparency and no explanation to the clubs that rely on SGA for funding. Is this what we deserve?
Why is SGA in debt? Why have they been accumulating this debt for the past few years and they are just noticing it now? Why are the students of 2017 forced to suffer the consequences of past SGA members? Why can’t the debt be paid off in a fairer, more gradual way? We have more questions than answers.
But, this is not over. We all pay an annual fee through our tuition that helps fund this decision-making process. We elected these students to represent us. As a result, they are obligated to answer our questions, each and every one. And we will hold them accountable until they do so.
We are not satisfied with SGA members telling us they have been in debt “unknowingly.” If false, then they are being dishonest. If true, then SGA is grossly incompetent.
When families encounter economic hardships, they work together. They speak honestly. Together the family brainstorms ways to fix the problem. The Furman community is a family. As members of this family, we beg the Student Government Association for the same honest and transparent communication that this family deserves.