Town Hall meeting flops

It felt like Aunt Betty’s attempt at chicken parmesan: Dry. Only two students dotted the Busch Student Center ballrooms for the Student Government Association’s biannual town hall meeting Oct. 1, outside of the 20 or so SGA senators.

What should have been a big issue-the possibility of raising the activity fee, which affects all students-ended up a routine discussion among insiders who already knew the ins and outs of the issue. The real purpose for the meeting was to educate lay students about the proposed measure, both so that they could have a complete understanding of why the fee might be increased, so students wouldn’t reflexively nix an additional financial burden when it appeared on a ballot and, above all, so they could voice their concerns and ask questions of the SGA administrators.

So the town hall was, perhaps, a flop. However, it is important that we learn from this poor display of a participatory government. In the future, students need to pay more attention to important issues that arise concerning their education; it is all too easy to let fees pile up and only attack the high tuition later when we suddenly realize we’re being charged additional appendages besides the traditional arm and a leg. Meaty decisions about finances often get executed above and beyond the influence of the typical student, so when there is an opportunity to get involved, we should leap on it.

Also, though, SGA needs to advertise its town halls farther in advance. It was only a few days prior to the event that SGA announced it in their mailer and sent out Facebook event invites. This provided little time for students to make room in their schedules.

SGA may recommend the raising of the activity fee this year-now it’s up to the students to educate themselves about it on their own time.