Butler University’s Student Government Association is actively limiting the ability of political groups on campus to educate the student population.
The three main political groups—the Butler University College Democrats, the Butler University College Republicans and the Butler University Students for Liberty—should come together in an effort to change SGA’s policy so that SGA will fund political education events.
SGA’s policy toward student-run political groups is that “organizations allotted grant money through SGA may not use those funds to provide: financial support for political programs, parties, individual political candidates or direct lobbying efforts,” according to the SGA website.
On this basis, College Democrats were recently denied an SGA grant to help fund the showing of a documentary.
SGA money, which is money from every student, should not go toward political campaigns or lobbying efforts.
However, I fail to see the logic in preventing funding that would go toward educational events.
“The reason we were told [we were denied the grant] was because we would have used the money for political backing,” James Schubert, the College Democrats’ SGA representative, said. “I dispute that, mainly because when the budget proposal went in, [the event] was supposed to educate people on what it means to be democratic and to reshape the perception that a lot of students have here.”
According to Dan Schramm, the SGA vice president of finance, the College Democrats group was denied its grant because the movie event was a “political program.”
Chase Smith, president of the College Republicans, said that he could not remember the last time that the College Republicans applied for an SGA grant, since political organizations are not favored when grants are given out.
“It couldn’t just be that the College Democrats wanted to have a movie event,” Smith said. “There has to be something tied to it, otherwise that is a blatant disregard to the current policy that SGA has.”
After hearing testimonials of the two main political parties, it seems that perhaps the other political group on campus might have better luck getting grants.
However, Students for Liberty member Josh Ackermann said that the group does not apply for grants.
The members know all too well the troubles political groups have in getting SGA grants.
By maintaining its current policy toward political groups, SGA is keeping the student body from having a chance to learn about American politics.
This limitation on political education is especially detrimental since it is a presidential election year.
SGA is an entity that is supposed to serve the student body, not keep it in the dark.