Letters to the Editor

[Editor’s note: The following letters were received this week, either in person or by e-mail and have not been edited for content, style or brevity. Although The Chart has published the full text of these letters, we ask that future submissions fit within the 300-word limit.]

Student Senator explains processRecently, much ado has been made about student senate’s procedural shortcomings. The two primary problems are lack of Constitutional understanding and misunderstanding of parliamentary procedure. These are two serious issues that can easily combine, as we’ve seen, to grind meetings to a complete halt. These problems are not, however, insoluble, nor even still unsolved. All senators are provided with copies of the student Constitution, and senate has a Constitution Committee charged specifically with analyzing meetings for Constitutional compliance issues and reporting back to the student body President and Dean’s advisors on any violations. We have a Parliamentarian to settle disputes arising regarding parliamentary procedure, and as the Chart itself reported, a senate project is already underway to purchase much-needed copies of Robert’s Rules of Order for senators to borrow, learn from, and consult when necessary.There has also been an issue with several resolutions senate has considered. I won’t defend any individual resolutions, as there are some that I don’t support any more than anyone on the Chart does, but instead I will defend the process that brought them under consideration. To attack the mere consideration of a resolution is to assault the very foundation of democracy. Student Senate isn’t just a club doing ridiculous things on its own without a mandate. It’s a governmental organization made up of students chosen to represent by the student body, and as such it operates under a stricter set of rules.To be considered by senate, a resolution needs only a sponsor and co-sponsor. In other words, anything deemed worthy of consideration by any number of senators greater than one will be considered by the body. While this may lead to the consideration of what some may feel are frivolous resolutions, the practice is necessary to insure that those who hold minority positions on a given issue have a voice and are able to make their case to the general assembly. Representative governments across the planet almost universally operate in similar fashion as a necessary safeguard against tyranny. It is, of course, a fundamental attribute of ridiculous causes that they attract only a minority in support, however, we can’t afford to make the mistake of assuming that all causes that start with little support are ridiculous. We can’t let legitimate problems go unaddressed for fear of spending five minutes reading something we think to be pointless. In short, it would be hopelessly irresponsible to alter this procedure over a couple minor dysfunctions, as the resulting dysfunctions would be far worse, not just for senate but for the student body.The Chart mentioned its open invitation to senate to discuss these issues, and I hope this clears up a few questions. Likewise, the senate extends its own open invitation to the entire campus. Our meetings are open to the community, and we have no fewer than five vacancies begging to be filled. Anyone who has a solution for a problem is welcome to pitch in however they can.

-Senator Ben HinkleConstitution Commitee Chariman

Student Senator expresses thoughts for change My Thoughts For ChangeI want to first state that the below is my opinion. I am a member of Student Senate, but I do not speak for them, only myself. I am responding to the two articles that the Chart has wrote about Student Senate. Let me first address the statement, “Student Senate is will on its way to being just as ineffective and mired in bureaucracy as any other form of government.” The Senate has little power granted by the University. What do you expect when the majority of the powers you have are; giving money to student organizations and that the President may read our resolutions, and if moved may act on them? So, how is student body to change things when they are given relatively little power? I offer three suggestions; 1. Join Student Senate. 2. Work for the Chart, or 3. Become the new President of the University. I believe that all three are searching for good people, and I only qualified for one of the above.I think things at MSSU need to change, and I think that many students and facility would agree with this statement. I think that that if the Chart and Student Senate were to work together, we could get some things changed that would make the campus better for students. The most pressing change I see would be the search for the new president of MSSU. This is the only person who could bring about major changes on campus. This is what all students and facility that want change campus wide should be concerned about. As for the resolutions I will respond as pithy as possible. Hybrid parking I thought would be a very forward thinking idea welcomed by the Senate, I was wrong. To encourage students and faculty to “go green” via better parking could be seen as elitist, but you can buy used hybrids, the technology is not that new, or costly. What is so wrong with encouraging hybrid usage? I see many vehicles on campus that cost more than a new low-end hybrid like the Prius, why is it wrong to encourage going green.I also felt that since the students are paying for a classical music station and television station that few listen or watch, it would only be fair to let them use it, we pay for it. The only person who could muscle the change to the bylaws of KXMS and allow student programming would be the president. I with the money saved from going back to newsprint catalog, and having students produce programming this could happen. How great would non-corporate student produced radio and television be!I also felt that having MLK day off would be a good idea. I notice that on the front page of the Chart “Every public university in the MIAA Conference has Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off”. Well don’t tell the MIAA but we have school on that day, unless I missed something. I can’t believe I am not getting support for this, am I on crazy pills? Is this too out there? Do students not want the day off? I also felt that with the University giving Sodexho a monopoly on campus and a prime spot to sell coffee in the library that they could give a little discount, or go back to the old prices. Only the new President could change this as well. I don’t think that they are scared of the Senate, and there is no way that students would boycott Starbucks. I know I could not, they had me at Verona. I could not help to notice on the front page of the Chart that “Sodexho General Manager Mike Wonderly had not raised coffee prices since coming to Southern.” But that on page four ” The price of coffee did take a walloping jump recently.” I thought that having a link on the homepage to student activities would be a great idea. My idea was that each campus organization be given a code so that they could post time and information of the activity so that a student would only hit a link on the homepage and see what there is to do. I thought this would help bring more people out for events. So where do you stand? Do you want change, or do you want more of the same. I want change; I need your help to make this a better campus, not the status quo. Join Student Senate, the Chart, or a campus organization and be heard. You want something brought to the Senate E-mail your senator. E-mails can be found at the Student Services Office. This is the time to really make a change on campus. Will the student’s pull together to make our voices heard about the new president, I sure hope we can, much is to be gained for the University if we do.

-Robert Huffmansenior student senator

Bernie Johnson coverageDISAPPOINTED IN THE CHART? I AM!!!What’s happened to The Chart that used to WIN AWARDS? The one time time actually WAITING for The chart to come out, I’m DISAPPOINTED. I’m waiting to see the article on the passing of Professor Bernie Johnson to put into my office scrapbook. I already collected The Globe and Accents. I expected The Chart to have the BEST ONE. What did I find? A very short and impersonal REPORT. It looked like something they threw together at the last minute. No pictures of the man who served 33 years. The picture on the front page was a pizza pub. This is the man who spoke at President Leon’s retirement. He shared a personal story about Dr. Leon crawling out of the Mansion window when he got locked in so as to not damage the door. People want to read stories that reflect the person’s personality. To top it off his farewell is shared with someone else. I’m not trying to disrespect Kathleen Cunningham. It’s a tragedy that she passed and she deserves to be recognized also. I send my condolences to her family and friends. I’m actually embarrassed to show The Chart to Bernie’s family. I don’t want them to see the terrible recognition that he received for his life’s work. I’m hoping Bernie is not wondering why he devoted all his time and life here. “I” have to remember that he touched the lives of many people, that he affected the lives of hundreds of students, and burned many memories into our hearts. We miss you Bernie and “have a good evening.” (Bernie said this every afternoon when he left for the day.)

-Becky Wileysecretary, Robert W. Plaster School of Business Administration