Letters to the Editor

In response to the April 5 editorial Absence, apathy at budget meeting shows SGs failing:

If you happened to read last weeks Oracle, chances are you know that Student Government passed a $13.6 million budget. If you happened to read the paper on Tuesday, you were faced with a rather objective preview of what the Senate would be voting on at its weekly meeting that night.

If you happened to read the paper on Wednesday or Thursday, however, you werent presented with the papers attempt to accurately report on a rather complicated process, but rather you were left with an incomplete, distorted and, in some cases, outright wrong presentation of the so-called facts.

While The Oracles editorial staff would like you to think that the Senate deliberated for less than an hour on the most important thing it will do all year, the fact of the matter is that simply isnt true. The truth here is that the Senate has been working on the budget since last October.

Since then, a committee comprised of seven senators, the student body president and the Senate president has been meeting every Friday to review proposals, discuss options and make an efficient and effective allocation of students fees. In meetings alone, the committee has met in excess of 100 hours.

If we combine the work hours of the senators and full-time staff members involved in the process, well see thousands of man-hours that were dedicated to this process alone.

If youre left with the impression that the Senate is apathetic to the matter because there was little debate on the Senate floor, perhaps you should expand your focus, look at the entire picture and realize that Tuesday nights vote was the culmination of an eight-month-long process of debate, not the single snapshot that The Oracles editorial board would like you to believe.

As the Senate president, I can tell you that our senators remain committed to our students interests.

You can see that in the Senates decision to allocate more funds to Campus Rec so we can maintain longer hours of operation, to the Center for Student Involvement so we can bring in higher-rated lecturers and host superior-caliber events, to a USF Day at the Capitol so we can establish a more influential platform for our students in Tallahassee and to the student organizations that saw a $413 (30 percent) increase on average compared to last year.

These are but a very few examples of the byproduct of debate that has been going on all year by your elected representatives. After all the hard work, the students were left with a budget that every senator could stand behind and support. Thats a good thing in my opinion. The fact there was little debate at our last meeting should not concern you; rather, it should assure you that the issues had been vetted and all discussion had been exhausted.

Khalid Hassouneh is a senior majoring in medical technology and is the Student Government Senate president.