This is a (new) regular feature to examine the information in the weekly Trinitonian editorial. I love the Trinitonian and the students who run it. Sometimes, however there are more nuances to the issue than they have space for. Besides, electronic media allows for there to be "watchdog" watchdogs. Editorials are rated by "hits," as in blog hits, with one being worst and 5 being best. If they are published on-line I will provide links.
Last week I was disappointed when the Trinitonian called out the University for not reducing carbon emissions. We do have a ways to go there. More troubling, though, was they called out Physical Plant Director John Greene while patting the students on the back for making great strides in recycling and other efforts. While the students have done well, they would be nowhere without Physical Plant and ARAMARK. In particular, John Greene took a poor student-run recycling program into his department and dedicated two full-time staffers, a truck, and recycling bins to this important issue. ARAMARK eliminated Styrofoam, as a response to important input on the topic. My point is, the last person who should be identified as slacking in sustainability initiatives is John Greene. Other cost and institutional issues are at play in measuring and then reducing the University's carbon footprint.
This week, the Trinitonian calls on students to be vigilant about the new ASR constitution, which has that student government body directly funding student groups instead of appointing a board to do this for them, or having THAT board delegate to other groups (TIGER/TDC) to distribute. The editiorial calls on students to be vigilant about what ASR may sneak into its bylaws and also to be careful about the power ASR has. Finally, students are called on to regularly challenge ASR's authority. I generally like all of these points. ASR should be accountable and transparent. Hopefully as proposals for funding are submitted they will be put on-line for students to comment on. In addition, the ASR budget should be put on-line so any student can determine at any time that the activity money they pay is being well-spent.
What I would have liked to have seen emphasised more is that students can directly "vote the bums out" if they feel they are not good stewards of student activity fee money. In addition, this new constitution may create more interest in students running for senate positions. (In recent years the first wave of applications for candidacy didn't produce the minimum number of candidates required.) Also, the truth is that ASR has held this power all along, but delegated it to an appointed group to give out the money to the other groups to give out the money. Finally, on the issue of the by-laws, these are simply the procedures used, among other things, to accept proposals and allocate money. They should not be controversial (and never have been) and also will be published on-line.