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ISSUE 118 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/12/2004

Editorial completely irresponsible

By Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 12, 2004

I was shocked and offended upon reading the editorial One-time decisions in last weeks edition of the Messenger. This editorial was a prime example of irresponsible journalism: It was full of faulty facts and designed to mislead students about the workings of SGA.

The Student Senate has, in fact, worked in a timely and responsible manner in allocating the surplus funds. Within the first few meetings of the year, a process for putting forth a proposal to acquire those funds had already been established.

In addition to the allocations made to each SGA branch, sizable allotments have been distributed to STOGROW and TAP. Other student proposals are currently being considered as well.

All students have had the opportunity to voice their opinions about how the surplus should be spent. Those who have followed through on their ideas are seeing them being debated and often passed by SGA.

With respect to amenities such as a one-card system or cable television: These are issues which should be funded by Residence Life or other administrative branches, not by money specifically earmarked for student activities and organizations.

If any of the three executive editors had attended a Senate meeting in the past month, they would have seen the process which has been put in place, or even had the opportunity to speak their minds about the surplus.

Rather, they decided to rely on second- and third-hand information and to continue the Mess tradition of making sensational, negative and outright false statements regarding Senate and its workings.

If this editorial was coming from the mouth of any other St. Olaf student, it could be regarded simply as their opinion and accepted as such, however unwarranted it might be.

But speaking from their positions as editors, the execs seem to be attempting to perpetuate the negative opinion about SGA which is held by a significant portion of the student body.

For many students, the Messenger is the only source of information regarding Senate and SGA. As such a provider of information, the Mess has a responsibility to provide at least a somewhat balanced portrayal of what actually happens in Senate.

The editors are certainly entitled to their own opinions, which will doubtless be slanted in some way.

But when their baseless and outrageous biases overshadow basic facts about an important issue, which Senate has been working hard to resolve, their right to express their own opinions is being severely abused.

In the submission policy of the Mess it is stated that, Letters or articles containing & libelous material or misleading information must be rewritten before publication. At the very least, one would hope that the editors of the Mess could ascribe to the very policies which they are supposed to enforce.

It is my sincere hope that the executive editors will work in the future toward being somewhat informed about such important issues as the Senate surplus, and try to provide students with something other than blatant lies and unjustified biases about SGA.

Until that time, my respect for the Manitou Messenger and its editors will fail to exceed the minimal amount of respect with which they continue to treat SGA.

Dan Grupe 05 Honor House Senator

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