The CCSU Student Government elections begin on Wednesday, April 22. All of the candidates who are running for election are proposing changes that they would like to see made in the upcoming year.
Unfortunately, none of the candidates are addressing the evident conflicts of interest that are occurring within the SGA.
In recent interviews with Presidential candidates Kelley Fournier and Andrew Froning, they both acknowledged that change was necessary. Fournier’s main goals are to restructure the committee system and to make some changes to the constitution. Froning’s focus is on unifying the campus and to increase communication within the SGA and between other organizations.
These changes would all be beneficial, but the candidates need to place a much larger focus on attempting to eliminate or minimize the conflicts of interest between members of the SGA. Many members of the SGA are also members of other clubs on campus.
The SGA is responsible for apportioning the student activity fees to almost all of the clubs on campus, excluding clubs that are apart of the media board. The problem arises when students on the SGA are also members of the clubs that are receiving money from them. Clearly this is a conflict of interest because students who are affiliated with certain clubs would have more of an interest in giving money to that club.
In the real world government officials are obliged to eliminate conflicts of interest. There was a national outrage over Dick Cheney’s affiliation with Halliburton even though he had left the company before taking the office of the Vice President.
We understand that there is clearly a difference between real government officials and members of the SGA, and that students are not necessarily held to the same standards as politicians in the real world. We also recognize that the SGA tries their best to be professional in their procedures.
But members of the SGA are handling other people’s money and they should absolutely try to minimize potential biases of where they believe that money should go.
The SGA has a large responsibility in handling the student activity fees that all students are required to pay.
To be fair to the students who give their money to the SGA, members of the SGA should renounce their interest in other clubs so that they can make objective decisions on how to allot money to the university clubs.