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Why hide?

Oct. 25, 2000

Student Congress should openly discuss allocations

When Student Congress voted on whether or not to allocate money from the student life fund for Oliver North's Nov. 16 visit, it went into executive session, excluding all non-Congress members from hearing discussion on the topic. Student Congress has the right to hold discussions concerning confidential or internal matters, but the discussions concerning allocation of student life funding should be held in the open, so everyone may hear the arguments being made by Student Congress members.

The $25,000 student life fund is, after all, the students' money. Full-time students on campus are charged $1, included in their registration fees, to go toward the student life fund. It is not the students' choice whether or not they contribute money to the student life fund. And when considering how to spend the students' money, it is irresponsible for Student Congress to discuss such an important matter in a private session.

Holding these debates and votes in private makes it seem as though Student Congress has something to hide, or that its members do not want their opinions made public. But students have a right to know the arguments for and against allocating student life funds for certain speakers and events.

When students decide to serve on Student Congress, they are becoming public figures on Baylor's campus. In addition, their opinions or stances may not always be popular. Hiding behind an executive curtain on important issues such as the North allocation is not fair to the students who elected Student Congress members.

The Baylor Constitution currently states that Student Congress may enter into executive session at any time by a two-thirds vote by members present. The constitution should be amended, banning discussion or voting on any issues concerning the allocation of student life funds in a non-public, executive session.

The student life fund is the students' money, and students have a right to hear an open discussion on how their money is spent.