Students should demand more from Treasury

| Op-ed Submission

Let me preface this by saying, I’m old. I’m really old. In Wash. U. years, I’m practically a dinosaur.

I was one of the kids who wore an orange jumpsuit and turned her back on Alberto Gonzales after he spoke. I sat in stunned silence as Karl Rove neatly eviscerated those who questioned him with a charisma, wit and intelligence that were highly impressive if not at the same time unmistakably evil. And I too crossed my fingers and prayed that Zach Braff really would reschedule next time.

In short, I’ve been through the emotional spin cycle of on-campus speakers before. I’ve stood in line outside of Graham Chapel for the usually well chosen CS40 speaker and sat through hours-long Treasury meetings, snapping until my fingers bled, trying to convince SU to support similarly exciting choices. I was a student group president for two years, I wrote more than my share of speaker appeals and here’s the truly sad part:

This Bristol Palin thing? I’m not outraged. I’m not furious. I’m not even surprised.

For a body that pontificates endlessly on its selflessness and on its desire to make our dreams come true, Treasury certainly is out of touch with that which we call reality (that seems obvious from the storm of furious Facebook statuses and comments on the recent StudLife article). Will people go to hear Bristol Palin preach somewhat ironically on abstinence? Probably. Do most of us think that this is $20,000 poorly spent? Definitely.

If this one highly publicized decision makes you hot under the collar, just remember this: History repeats itself. Take it from me, from any of us old dinosaurs hobbling around and muttering old war cries (“A-L-B-E-R-T-O, shut down Guantanamo!”). Yelling and screaming hasn’t worked in the past and it won’t work now. Don’t lose sight of the fact that, in this case, it’s not the less-than-credentialed Ms. Palin herself or even the student group that brought the appeal in question with whom we should be incensed: It’s the Treasury who wrote the check. Demand more from your SU representatives. Force them to truly campaign to you and then, hold them to their campaign promises.

Think of this note as the metaphorical old veteran and young soldier meeting on the way to the front lines: Do what I couldn’t do, what my classmates and the classes before us couldn’t do and make positive change happen. Otherwise you too will be shaking your head in sad resignation when Treasury makes its next announcement: The Real Housewives of New Jersey are coming to campus to speak about positive peer relationships.

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