Student Government is supposed to “serve the students and needs of the Mason community” but that is not the case with Bill 4. Bill 4 is a disgusting waste of student’s money and completely unnecessary.
Let’s start out with some background on Bill 4. It was brought forward to the Student Senate to provide funding for a speaker at Take Back the Night, an event during Sexual Assault Services’ Turn Off the Violence Week. This bill allocates money for a specific speaker, Ben Privot from “The Consensual Project.” His website for The Consensual Project goes as far to say “I want to ____ you with my hard ___ until you ____ all over me” in one of the blog posts on “How to Talk Dirty.” I’m sorry, but it is absolutely ridiculous for Student Government to waste $250 on TEN MINUTES for this guy to speak. Let’s be real here: this is not an event that all Mason students will attend and is not even geared toward a majority of students.
I commend Sexual Assault Services’ Turn Off the Violence Week and the goal to end violence, but to waste our money on an event disseminating messages that not all of us may agree with is an injustice to students and should not occur. Student Government is not the Student Funding Board. Funding for an event or speaker like this is something that without a doubt should be going through SFB. This bill’s debate was pretty intense during the Senate meeting, and this very valid point, which I agree with, was raised.
According to the official minutes, Senator Cameron Burnette said, “I have nothing against the Feminist Student Organization, but this guy is a little out there. This event is not for us to pay the money for; there are other organizations on the accompanying resolution that can pay.” He’s 100% right: why can’t the Feminist Organization or someone else pay for this themselves?
I think the most ridiculous aspect of this is that he is being paid $250 to literally stop by for ten minutes and then run off on his “busy schedule.” That’s $25 a minute. Student Government has a starting budget of $20,500 per academic year. It’s absurd enough that $10,000 of that is spent on Gold Rush t-shirts, but at least that’s something tangible that students can actually get use out of.
The speaker is not going to have some magnificent words of wisdom that would change anyone’s life, so why not spend that money on something the students can enjoy?
What I’m trying to say here is that Student Government should focus on the issues that students actually encounter, and use their budget to fund initiatives for all students, not just a small faction of our huge student body population, especially on crude and inappropriate events such as this one.
Shame on the Senators who brought this bill forward: they need to realize they can not recklessly spend our money with the initiative of not having any left at the end of the year because it does not roll over.