On Sept. 26, the Students’ Association Senate approved a letter to President Seligman asking him to support Katrina relief efforts by matching any funds the school raised with university funds.

In a 15 to two vote, I was outvoted. Despite this, I remain confident in my position due to the many underlying factors not considered in this issue.

The Katrina Letter was originally a method of having the SA take a supportive position toward afflicted citizens. This intention was soon twisted and altered from its original purpose of showing student support, to asking our school to do more because it hadn’t done enough. Not only do I disagree with the notion that our school hasn’t done enough, but I also believe the senate made a mistake in supporting this statement. Accepting displaced students, proposed alternative spring breaks to afflicted areas and student supported fundraisers are only a bit of our school’s support.

One inherent issue behind the letter is discovering who is going to pay. Monetary support would have to come from somewhere, and I doubt it would be the president’s paycheck.

Instead, it would be sapping the resources of our endowment, money intended for our education. I believe it is not fair to take money from educational resources we paid for in order to give to those who are in need of financial support.

This issue segues into the problem of the university using our money to contribute to a private organization. When a student pays for tuition, they are paying for an education. When a student contributes to the American Red Cross, they are paying for relief. When a student pays for their education and the school takes their money and contributes it to an organization they may not want to support, the student is being deceived and cheated out of their money.

Some have argued that a university donation will increase the reputation of UR and make us look great in the eyes of the public. If we take this position, we are then contributing to relief efforts not because we want to support those in need, but instead, for personal gain.

As many senators and students would probably agree, that is the exact opposite of where our intentions lie.

The points I have raised influenced me to vote down the Katrina Letter. I cannot let these questions fall to the wayside because we are looking to take a stance on this issue. Even if President Seligman chooses to reject this letter, I know that through student support, we can make a difference.

Meditz can be reached at gmeditz@campustimes.org.



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