EDITORIAL: Don’t ask students to fund scholarships


By Editorial Board

At issue: An SGA-funded scholarship for student leaders

Our take: Let’s focus on the scholarships our student body demanded

The college tells us our Student Services fee, an $800 annual charge, is for funding resources for all undergraduates to use. So why is the Student Government Association planning to put a portion of this money toward a scholarship for student leaders?

SGA wants to create a scholarship for a student leader from an SGA-recognized organization. The money for this scholarship would come from the $226 SGA receives from the student services fee. For the 2018-2019 school year, SGA estimated that the total funds available for allocation—at $226 per undergraduate student—would be $796,650. Orgs have already requested more than is available from this fund, so why should even more of that money come out to benefit just one or two students? The responsibility to provide funding for a student’s education should fall on the college—not our wallets.

We’ve yet to hear details from SGA on the creation of the scholarship, or who it will be awarded to. They haven’t released any apparent criteria for what qualifies a student leader and have not announced who will choose the recipient. Considering the scholarship will be funded by student money, it’s concerning to see SGA budgeting our money for this without having the details fully fleshed out. Student organizations deserve the opportunity to grow and use our funds to improve every year—our collective budget shouldn’t be going to an individual’s scholarship.

Discussing any new scholarships seems inappropriate when progress on scholarships for students of color—demanded by Protesting Oppression With Education Reform during the #ThisIsEmerson protest last fall—has been glacial.  If the college pledges such a commitment to diversity, that’s where our priority needs to be, not with new and unnecessary awards. Rather than offering another merit-based award, there should be more urgency in implementing progressive measures that the college claims to support.

We aren’t afraid to beat a dead horse here at the Berkeley Beacon, so here’s another reminder that this is your opportunity to have a say in how the college spends your tuition money. If this piece sparked any thoughts or feelings on annual budget request or the student scholarships, email them to SGA Executive Treasurer Ian Mandt at [email protected]