University Sponsored Organization Issues Student Government Endorsements

The Trinity Diversity Connection (TDC), a University Sponsored Organization (USO), sent out an email on Saturday endorsing candidates for the Student Government Association. The email gave no criteria for the endorsements.

The endorsements are boosted by TDC’s close connection to the administration. USOs are different from Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) primarily in that USOs receive annual student activity fee based on yearly budget proposals rather than individual event funding requests, tax-exempt status and legal protection. The university assigns full-time staff members to direct USOs, whereas RSOs are entirely student-run, with varying degrees of faculty advisor involvement.

For TDC, that full-time director is Alli Roman, the director of Diversity and Inclusion. Roman did not respond to requests for comment about the endorsements.

While neither the SGA Constitution nor bylaws explicitly prohibit USO endorsements, the SGA is intended to advocate for student interests and remain as independent as possible from faculty interference. An endorsement from a USO carries disproportionate weight because USOs are backed by faculty. Furthermore, TDC is a political USO, making the endorsement especially inappropriate.

Editor’s Note: Criticism of TDC’s endorsement of candidates should not be construed as criticism of the candidates themselves. The Tower does not endorse candidates in any race, including Student Government. 

Keeping up with SGA

Trinity University’s Student Government Association (SGA) ended the year with a bang last year as we voted on the final budget proposals for all University Student Organizations (USOs). USOs are organizations whose budget and existence is guaranteed by administration–groups like SGA, Greek Council, and the Trinity Diversity Connection.

These groups requested an abundance of funds (a 14 percent increase from the five-year average), and although SGA was thankfully able to cut a lot of the fat, we’re still left with an astronomical USO budget for the year, which leaves Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) with slim pickings.

Although the exact number has not been released yet due to the change in the Student Activity Fund (SAF) every year, the amount that RSOs have to request from has historically been going down by $20,000-$15,000 each term for the past couple of years.

This is an issue, and one that not many are aware of. As a Class of 2021 SGA Senator, I have seen first-hand how many students at Trinity see the SAF as a bottomless pit of cash, and forget that these funds are finite and come from our own students’ pockets. $150 per student, per semester, are what make up the SAF.

What does this all mean for an incoming student at Trinity, and why should anyone outside of SGA care? Well, the amount of money that RSOs can request affects nearly everyone on campus, as virtually every student on campus is a part of some club or organization. This year, more RSOs will be denied funding for their events, and that means fewer opportunities for students on campus.

The solution to this problem is by no means simple, as many of the reasons why USOs are requesting so much money are out of the students’ hands (such as the fact that Bell Center student employees are being paid from the SAF, which is a controversial and hotly debated issue). I genuinely believe that last semester’s SGA worked very hard to pass a tight budget for USOs, but it could always be better.

This means looking with a more fiscally conservative lens at all requests, both USO and RSO. Cutting large-scale items (such as a spring concert that we cut entirely from Student Programming Board (SPB)) and smaller-scale items are equally important and necessary, especially as clubs request more and more funds. In addition, leaders of these student groups must also look more critically at why they are requesting funds, and how much, as well as trying to search for money elsewhere before coming to SGA. It would be nice to say yes to every request that comes through the door, but it isn’t feasible.

First-year students who are fiscally conservative: I urge to you to consider running for SGA this November, and to keep up with the goings-on in our meetings. They are free for anyone to attend (held Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in the Waxahachie room), and the Trinitonian publishes a weekly update about the meetings both in print and online. Student government is vastly important, and will affect many of your day-to-day activities here at Trinity—stay informed.

Trinity University Sociology Department Refused to Remove Statue of Jefferson Davis

By Jonah Wendt

In a shocking move, the Trinity University Sociology Department has refused to remove their prized 666-foot-tall statue of Jefferson Davis from the Sociology lounge. Despite the current social and political climate calling for the removal of Confederate statues in public spaces, the Sociology Department is clinging tightly and controversially to its 666-foot-tall statue of Confederate president and known racist, Jefferson Davis.

When reached for comment, Department Chair Dr. David Spener cited protection from the Wendt Twins and other members of the conservative group “Tigers For Liberty” as the primary reason for keeping the statue in the sociology lounge. “When the Wendt twins and other members of that freedom-loving organization see the statue of a man who advocated against the application of almost all basic human rights to non-whites, committed crimes against humanity, and fought true liberty every day of his life, they’ll go running in the opposite direction. It’s not so much that we stand with Jefferson Davis and his beliefs, but that we need his protection against the mongol hoards of TFL and those damn Wendt Twins.” When reached for comment, Manfred Wendt stated that while he is quite concerned about the message being sent by the Sociology Department, his attention is divided among the department’s other statues, including their 900-foot-tall statue of Adolf Hitler, 250-foot-tall statue of Benedict Arnold, life size statue of Mao Zedong and an oddly small, just 6-inch tall statue of Jim Crow. Manfred also noted with alarm that these statues were purchased and put in place soon after he and his twin brother came out as conservative.

As the story continues to develop, the next stage in the controversy may be the department’s recent application for SGA funding of another statue: a 350-foot-tall depiction of George Soros, to which Alexander Perkoswki reportedly replied, “We don’t fund food.”