Student senate needs to focus on UI's students, not itself

At last week’s Illinois Student Senate meeting, senator Mark Rosenstein voiced his concern over the senate’s spending. He pointed out the senate’s public service announcements, which cost $9,000 and contained a typo referring to ISS as the “official voice of the student senate.” It was meant to say ISS is the “official voice of the student body.”

Rosenstein also pointed out other flaws in ISS’ budget, including using money to rent out a facility for senate meetings that only benefits ISS members and spending about $500 dollars on pizza. He put it best when telling the senate, “We couldn’t even do our due diligence on this $9,000 fund allocation, and quite frankly it’s starting to look like this is pretty accurate because we’re promoting ourselves, we’re not standing up for our student body right now and I think that needs to change,” as reported in a Thursday Daily Illini article. 

With what we’ve seen from this senate’s term, we can’t help but agree with Rosenstein and continue to ask, what are you doing for the student body, ISS? It’s pretty bad when one of ISS’ own senators thinks the spending is absolutely ridiculous. 

The point of the PSAs, which are played at the men’s and women’s basketball games, is to increase the senate’s presence among the student body. To the senate’s dismay, they are a fairly insubstantial consideration in the average Illini’s day. ISS has claimed that general attendance at senate meetings has increased. But even if this is a victory for the senate, it doesn’t truly benefit the students at all, including the ones who now attend the meetings. Aside from the little ISS did for the smoking ban last semester, the senate has barely contributed anything beneficial to the student body.

So, here we are again — another failure and waste of money from the student government that essentially hasn’t represented anyone. Time after time, ISS makes poor decisions, wasting the money allocated to them.  

We are ecstatic that more and more senators are speaking up about the poor financial management of the senate, but so far it’s still only talk. This group of students is playing politics, carrying out resolutions that have such a small impact on this campus and within students’ lives.

But if ISS is the “official voice of the student body,” disregarding the typo in the PSA, then we need to see more programs funded that benefit students. If the University has several contractual limitations on the senate, then the exact job of the senate is to figure out how to benefit students despite the University. 

Here’s to finishing out another school year where a do-nothing senate continues to do what it does best. Unless, of course, the senate starts representing more than itself, regardless of the PSA’s typo.