Caveat Emptor

The Student is Not the Client:
Caveat Emptor
Anthony Harris
Opinions Section Editor

A little while ago, I was speaking with a good friend of mine, Junior Class Senator Chad Courtney.  He was telling me about why he was running for Senior Class Vice President (he’s running unopposed, so no one questions this article as an endorsement or a conflict of interests) and he asked me what I expected from the SGA.  I told him I didn’t expect anything.

I explained to him that anything I really wanted to do at Morehouse, I could do on my own.  The entire grass situation that has been on everyone’s lips weren’t done because I made some requisition form or because I had to see the corresponding secretary or the president.  Even in the situations in which I had some assistance with SGA officials, I found my efforts to be most effective when I acted on my own.

I got the answers I was looking for (our evergreen grass is not strong enough for constant student activity) by asking the questions to the right people.  I don’t even believe that I got these answers through throwing my Maroon Tiger weight around.  I asked questions as a concerned student and I got the answers I needed.

As I ponder all this out now, it occurred to me that this is exactly the intention of the SGA.  The student constitution and Dewey Fowler’s words are constantly resounding in my head as I type.  “Every student is a member of the SGA.”  I have a role in my own governance.  I can execute my own plans and start my own initiatives.  The roots of involvement in the campus do not begin with the SGA, but they are most certainly linked.

Questioning the effectiveness is essentially questioning the effectiveness of the student body.  As much as I hate hearing every politician state that there isn’t enough student involvement in the SGA, they’re to an extent correct.  There aren’t enough students effective in Morehouse, not necessarily the government on which we vote every April.

We don’t have enough students protesting bad service in Gloster with sit-ins.  We don’t have enough students asking the tough questions to Kevin Rome.  We don’t have enough discussions with Andre Burgess.  We haven’t trapped Walter Massey in a corner and asked him where he’s been for the students instead of for the paychecks.  Let us not look to the founded institutions and question their effectiveness; let’s analyze what we can do for our own benefit.

No, we should not have to work this much for something we pay for hand over foot, but we should question those receiving the checks.  This is how you work in the SGA.  You don’t wait for Edwards or Pigatt or Girardeau or Ezeigbo or Burney; you do it yourself.  

In the effort for the student to be the client, we have to be responsible spenders.  We, the buyer, should beware of swindlers and demand proper services.  We, the buyer, need to question the price of Morehouse.  We signed up for an experience in building manhood (and a Bachelor’s Degree).  Men get things done.  We don’t wait and complain about those we voted in charge.

We are responsible for the school we attend.  If there is corruption or inefficiency in it, we root it out and extract it.  If we can’t do that, we avoid it altogether.  We get things done on our own.  We can throw our own typical forums on the same topics.  We can requisition our own rooms and throw our own functions.  Homecoming isn’t that big of a deal anyway.  Don’t believe me?  Go to a few more.

We are responsible for that which we pay.  We must do what we can to fix it, by any means necessary.  We should not be complacent about it.  When brilliant professors don’t get tenure, we need to talk to trustees.  When tuition rises again without tangible results, we need to talk to trustees.  When a majority of administration is unreceptive to students, we need to talk to trustees.

Besides, I’ve been a Negro for over twenty years now.  I’ve come to learn that politics don’t get stuff done for us anyway.


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