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Student Association Senators Wield Unfair Purchasing Power for T-Shirts

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The University at Albany’s website gives us a description for the student activity fee: It “funds the groups, programs, and activities of the Student Association. This fee is mandatory for undergraduate students taking six or more credits except for those students in our Overseas Academic Programs.”

This mandatory fee for undergraduate students is supposed to fund clubs, events, and activities for students, not purchasing T-shirts. The description does not mention that the SA senators have the power to be able to purchase personalized T-shirts for their organization using the fee.

The Senators may say there is a policy or legislation that grants them this power, but I believe that is an abuse of power because it is unfair to the other students who must pay this mandatory fee and are denied personalized shirts of their club or organization.

This is not the first time I have mentioned this. I wrote an article last semester about the student activity fee for full-time non-traditional students and discussed briefly senators purchasing T-shirts. Not only do I believe the student activity fee’s purpose does not pertain to Senator’s buying T-shirts, but I also think it’s a breach of equal and fair treatment among students.

Clubs and organizations cannot use student activity fees to purchase their T-shirts. To maintain fair and equal treatment, senators should not be allowed to buy T-shirts using the student activity fees. What message does that send to students, clubs, and organizations when senators spend money from a mandatory fee to purchase shirts that no other students can receive in their clubs or organizations?

I realize that the senators work hard on the budget and other duties and may want something to remember their time as a senator. I understand that the senators may wish to be recognized for their position and be able to show other students by wearing a T-shirt. However, what about E-board members among clubs and organizations? They also work hard and may want to be recognized or have a keepsake. I also understand that allowing all clubs and organizations to be able to receive T-shirts from the student activity fee would be detrimental to the SA budget.

The only real solution is for the senators to no longer be allowed to purchase T-shirts with student activity fees. These students decided to take on a leadership role. They are aware of the time commitment and hard work this position entails. I believe the Senators should be focusing on the best interest of the student body of UAlbany.

Now I do think most, if not all senators are doing what is best for the student body. I want to believe this. However, this one questionable conduct the Senators are doing is casting a small doubt in my mind.

I hope they take the time to reassess the situation and make a change to this policy. It is impossible to allow all clubs and organizations T-shirts by using the student activity fees; therefore, the Senators should also not be allowed to purchase T-shirts. This way the Senators are demonstrating to the student body that the entire funds gathered from the student activity fees are allocated fairly for all students to utilize and not just allocating a small portion only for the Senators.

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