Scholarships support actual student affairs

If you’re actively against the Student Government Association (SGA), take a deep breath before reading.

The SGA executive board receives full tuition for their commitment. Now, Northeastern is looking to take that away.

In the interest of full disclosure, the decision also affects the editor in chief of The News. So is an editorial attack on the new mandate self-serving? Probably. But it’s warranted. With this move, the administration is knowingly alienating the SGA, and student leaders in general.

With apologies to the Times New Roman, the SGA is arguably the most influential group on campus. They have the capacity to rally the student voice against the administration, particularly if the oft-promised direct elections come to fruition. Now, if you were traditionally granted free tuition and suddenly the powers-that-be took it away, it’s human nature to take them to the mat.

That’s not to assert SGA members are only in it for the money. In a recent interview with The News, SGA Vice President for Student Affairs John Guilfoil said Vice President for Student Affairs Ed Klotzbier’s reason behind the discussion is “insulting.” He’s right, and it’s unfair to presume any kind of motivation by the Student Government.

In the business world (the world Northeastern allegedly prepares us for), this is akin to downsizing. Student Affairs isn’t concerned with SGA’s free tuition affecting its view of students. How many students are even aware of the free tuition? Does it honestly affect how they view their student leaders? And isn’t pumping money to the students who actually make a concerted attempt to get involved more important than installing another plasma TV in the Curry Student Center?

Because let’s face it, this is a budget move. The administration could care less about the conflict of interest caused by free tuition to executive board members; if it was such a concern, the matter would have resolved itself at some point over the last decade.

Eyebrows should be raised at the coincidence that just a week after announcing four promotions to Student Affairs higher-ups, student leaders are already being given the brush.

If Student Affairs is really restructuring with the students in mind, here’s a suggestion: Allow the student leaders to continue to fight for the students by not forcing them to decide between financing an already expensive education or working to improve the Northeastern community. If Student Affairs is in touch with the student body, then it would be clear that the primary avenue to reach students is by utilizing the ones who are their voice.

One department’s stance on the relevance of student leaders could lead to another problem Klotzbier wants to avoid: a lack of student involvement.

If students must choose between finances and participation, the university must keep in mind that money does matter. If tuition rises – and it will – then the burden to pay may influence the decision of students on whether to become involved.

The last thing this campus needs is another divide between its students and its leaders.

Leave a Reply