Editorials

The closely watched lawsuit against Harvard University (Mass.)’s “holistic” admissions practices could endanger decades of precedent of that allow the use of race in college admissions, especially with President Donald J. Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The complainants argue that Harvard’s use of an ordinal personality test allows the school to unfairly limit its admittance of Asian-American students to 20 percent. Emory filed an amicus brief in July in support of affirmative action, but administrators must continue lobbying on the practice’s behalf. The fact that our society has left the Supreme Court and post-secondary academic institutions in charge of resolving issues of educational inequality is problematic, as neither have the power to address the issue’s root causes: discrimination codified by funding bills that stratify access to education. While affirmative action is worth preserving, it’s an imperfect tool to achieve a positive end; federal and state legislatures must address educational achievement gaps earlier in students’ lives.

The original 2014 lawsuit was filed by Students for Fair Admissions, a group of Asian-American students rejected by Harvard. Documents released in the lawsuit show that Asian-Americans are consistently ranked lower on Harvard’s “personality test” compared to students of other races. The group argues that Harvard’s use of the test, which measures intangible leadership qualities, is tantamount to discrimination against Asian-Americans.

While Harvard’s use of personality rankings that disadvantage Asian-Americans is troubling, the lawsuit aims to take a cudgel to policies which instead require a more nuanced approach to fix. Edward Blum, a litigant for Students for Fair Admissions, is already responsible for litigation before the Supreme Court that has devastated civil rights: he litigated Shelby v. Holder, which overturned Section Four of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Without it, there has been no federal mechanism to prevent the discriminatorily written voting rights legislation, such as voter ID laws, enacted in some states. Additionally, this is not even his first try at dismantling affirmative action; Blum also litigated Fisher v. University of Texas, in which the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the consideration of race in college admissions. From his past actions, it’s clear that Blum’s goal in taking this case is not a narrowly tailored solution to Harvard’s admissions; rather, it’s the elimination of affirmative action entirely.

The abolishment of affirmative action would disproportionately impact African-American and Latino students, yet it also would devastate college’s academic environments. Studies have repeatedly shown the benefits of on-campus diversity, which include more positive racial attitudes overall, better “cognitive capacities” and increased civic participation after graduation. In addition, a majority of Americans support affirmative action, according to Pew Research Center.

The elimination of affirmative action will not fix a biased system already riddled with students who gain favor through legacy and need-aware admissions. While some may believe that affirmative action undercuts the value of “merit” and adversely affects Asian American and white applicants who typically yield higher test scores, it is important to acknowledge that “merit” is rooted in a system of economic inequality reinforced with access to tutoring services and the ability to attend better schools with more educational resources. Affirmative action is necessary to mitigate these economic disparities for African-American and Latino applicants — who are much more likely to attend high-poverty schools — and to promote the diversity of the student body.

To see the effects that the elimination of affirmative action would have nationwide, California, which banned the use of race in college admissions in 1998, serves as a prime example. The percentage of African-American and Latino students at the University of California, Berkeley, fell by almost half, even as the state’s racial diversity increased. Emory has a responsibility to protect affirmative action, one of our only chances at dismantling these systematic inequalities, to ensure that our campus resembles a diversifying country.

Policymakers should, in turn, address these systematic inequalities from the beginning of a student’s educational career. Pre-K schooling can act as an “equalizing” baseline standard of education, allowing students from poorer economic backgrounds to make substantial gains to their literary, logic and foundational learning skills. Support for better funding of early childhood education is a legitimate means to mitigate socio-economic inequities in the schooling system, and colleges should only be one of many steps in addressing these inequalities. Instead of relying on the Supreme Court and universities alone to be the architects of equality, state and federal legislatures should take up the challenge.

The editorial board is composed of Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju and Isaiah Sirois.

CORRECTION (9/20/18 at 11:52 p.m.): The editorial incorrectly referred to Edward Blum as an attorney. He is not an attorney, he is a litigant.

Last year’s spring election for College Council and the Student Government Association (SGA) saw chaos and incompetence on behalf of the Elections Board, which ultimately led to the resignations of Elections Board Chair Betty Zhang (20C) and Vice Chair Andy Xu (20C). SGA’s most recent attempt to paper over its deep-seated structural issues is Bill 52sl27, which would establish an unnecessary and redundant Elections Reform Commission “to review the Elections Code and procedures in order to recommend amendments and best practices to the SGA.”

Last year’s Elections Board was flawed and inexperienced. They mistakenly declared a re-vote for the SGA presidential race until then-Speaker of the Legislature and Senior Representative William Palmer (18C) corrected them. In addition, the voting system excluded hundreds of students from voting for their appropriate representative in student government while omitting some candidates’ names from ballots.

While Zhang’s and Xu’s resignations were an appropriate first step in restoring the Emory community’s trust in a board marred by accusations of favoritism and ineptitude, creating the Elections Reform Commission would not fully address these issues. SGA’s recently tabled proposal to establish an Elections Reform Commission would only add another bureaucratic layer that lacks real power to institute needed reforms. Instead, the Elections Board itself should take the initiative to understand the Elections Code and recommend reforms, especially since the Elections Board is the body that directly oversees the elections. Considering elections only occur for a few weeks twice per year, the Board should have ample time to study their own governing documents, negating the need for an additional committee. Reading and thoroughly understanding the Elections Code should be a basic expectation for members of the Board. This knowledge would serve as the foundation for revising the at-times ambiguous Elections Code.

At a Spring 2018 Elections Board hearing concerning a later-dismissed complaint against then-SGA presidential candidate Dwight Ma (17Ox, 19C), Elections Board members showed a clear lack of comprehension of the SGA constitution, with Zhang saying that a complaint to the Board could be withheld from the public, when all SGA documents are public record per the SGA Constitution. Her incorrect statement highlights the need for Elections Board members — who oversee the installation of new student officials — to take more initiative in studying and strictly adhering to documents that govern elections and student government, including but not limited to the Elections Code and the SGA Constitution.

The editorial board is composed of Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju and Isaiah Sirois.

The U.S. Department of Education’s proposed changes to Title IX, the federal civil rights law passed to ensure gender equity in education, would have deleterious effects on student safety here at Emory and universities nationwide. The New York Times reported that the rules would allow schools to require a stricter standard of evidence in handling sexual misconduct cases, narrow the definition of sexual harassment and reduce universities’ liability in sexual misconduct cases. These reported changes would hinder the investigative process of sexual assault at colleges, as well as bolster the rights of the accused at the expense of their accusers. These supposed “reforms,” proposed by an administration headed by a man who has been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct, would sabotage Title IX’s goal: to protect students. Emory should do everything in its power to lobby against these potential changes while preparing to preserve safety and inclusivity should the reforms go into effect.

Under the rules set by the Obama administration, universities were required to use the “preponderance of evidence” standard in judging sexual misconduct cases. Under U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s proposed rules, however, they will now be allowed to use the higher “clear and convincing” standard. This sets an unnecessarily high and intimidating threshold for finding someone responsible. At a time when nearly 70 percent of sexual assault victims already don’t report their case to law enforcement, weakening Title IX’s protection of victims could further deter them from taking action.

While the proposed rules would ostensibly allow universities to choose between the two standards, they would require them to apply the same standard to all civil rights investigations, ignoring the inherent sensitivity of sexual assault cases. Should these rules go into effect, Emory must continue to use the preponderance standard and to inform students of this decision as it did last Fall. Schools’ ability to choose which standard to use is also strange — a sexual misconduct case could return opposite outcomes if tried at different schools. Schools should universally prohibit sexual misconduct without variance, but the different standards could confound that.

The proposed rules would also significantly narrow the definition of sexual harassment, changing it from “unwelcome conduct of sexual nature” to sexual conduct “so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive” that it denies access to education. This is a major and concerning change, one which ignores the fact that sexual harassment comes in many forms and would preclude victims from obtaining justice if they are unable to meet this strict definition. Additionally, victims of sexual harassment may be further deterred from even attempting to report their harassers because of the heightened rigidity.

The actions of DeVos and other Department of Education employees also call into question the methodology and motive used in crafting these proposals. DeVos has sympathized and met with “men’s rights” groups who have pushed discredited theories about the majority of sexual assault cases being false accusations. The department’s Civil Rights Chief, Candice Jackson, apologized after telling the New York Times that 90 percent of such cases fall into the category of “we were both drunk, we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.” In reality, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center estimates that false accusations account for only between two and 10 percent of the total.

DeVos’s administration has also proposed procedural changes that would erase protections for victims. The new rules would encourage the use of mediation, a process previously prohibited by the Obama administration, due to fears that survivors would be pressured into choosing mediation over pursuing a formal investigation. Emory had already adopted the possibility of using mediation in Title IX cases when under the Department of Education’s interim guidelines, but the proposed changes would also allow cross-examination between the accused and the accuser during hearings, unreasonably forcing victims to relive their traumatic experiences while in the same room with their perpetrator.

Further, DeVos has reduced schools’ legal responsibilities to provide safe campuses: investigations would only be required if the alleged assault occurred on a school campus or at a school-sponsored event, instead of merely requiring that the assault involves enrolled students. DeVos’ proposals rework Title IX to shun victims of off-campus assaults even if they are a member of the university, depriving them of a resolution process that is less invasive than criminal proceedings. This is alarming as 35 percent of Emory undergraduates live off-campus according to the Common Data Set for 2017-18, as do almost all Emory graduate students.

While DeVos’s proposed reforms more closely align Title IX procedures with the criminal justice system, that system is not one to emulate. Current legal procedures dealing with sexual misconduct are inadequate, and there is insufficient justification for such an alignment. Because the criminal justice system requires proof beyond reasonable doubt for a conviction, accusers are forced into long trials where all aspects of their personal history can be examined, resulting in less than 6 percent of rapes even being prosecuted. Title IX presents a less invasive chance for victims to obtain justice — it should not be tinkered with at the expense of student safety.

The editorial board is composed of Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju and Isaiah Sirois. 

The Student Government Association (SGA) and Campus Life’s continued attempts to obfuscate public information regarding student funds are a disservice to the Emory undergraduate student body. If SGA President Dwight Ma (17Ox, 19C) genuinely wants to meet the high standards he touted in his platform and in his emails, he needs to immediately release what should already be public information concerning SGA’s investigation into College Council (CC) spending.

When Ma launched the probe in July 2018, Student Governance Services, CC and SGA leaders denied the Wheel’s requests for all financial documents and records related to the inquiry. Legislators’ insistence on keeping their administrative activities hush-hush is underhanded and self-interested, and ultimately undermines SGA’s political legitimacy.

Ma’s refusal not only violates Article VII of SGA’s constitution, which states that “the papers of the SGA shall be considered public records.” It also runs counter to his campaign platform, wherein he pledged to make SGA “accessible and accountable.” SGA’s refusal to comply with its constitution is a troubling shift from that campaign promise. Ma positioned himself as an outsider candidate who would clean up and revamp SGA, yet transparency seems all but absent from SGA’s current priorities.

The Wheel requested the records to independently verify Ma’s claims that CC is possibly overspending on food and travel. To justify his investigation, Ma cited “two whistleblowers” and “an additional report from within College Council” in a July 22 email to undergraduate students, but declined to make either the sources or governing documents public.

We believe in the power of transparency not only to expose and prevent mistakes but also to protect — not vilify — potentially inexperienced student legislators who are placed in positions of power. Legislators and paid staff members who choose to defend another SGA administration seeking to act without proper supervision and culpability are inviting scandal, embarrassment and ineptitude as a regular presence in student government.

Despite Ma’s statement that “[e]veryone at Emory who pays a student activity fee deserves to know what is happening with it, without bias, and without delay,” the investigation into CC finances has been quietly cancelled without notifying the student body. Even though SGA is no longer investigating CC, students should not be satisfied with an interpretation of events handed down from SGA, a necessarily biased account.

Ma is not the only guilty party. Associate Director of Student Governance Services (SGS) VonYetta Hunter’s rejection of the Wheel’s request for what SGA’s constitution defines as public information is also a problem. If a hired administrator can flout the SGA constitution without recourse, then SGA’s claims to political legitimacy are lost.

The editorial board is composed of Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju and Isaiah Sirois. 

On Nov. 8, 2018, Georgians will choose either to breathe new life into the hateful politics of the past or to embrace the more democratic politics of the future. Only Stacey Abrams, who would become the first black female governor in the U.S., can move Georgia forward.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is on the Republican ticket after running a primary campaign in the style of George Wallace, appealing to Georgians’ suspicions of undocumented immigrants much like Wallace appealed to Alabamians’ fears of blacks. His opponent, former Georgia General Assembly Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, won her primary through a campaign similar to former President Barack Obama’s; she courted oft-overlooked, even previously unregistered, minority voters.

Kemp’s primary victory has significantly increased the stakes of this election given his record of voter suppression. Kemp’s office purged 35,000 individuals from Georgia’s voter rolls using software that disproportionately targeted minority voters. He previously launched investigations into organizations designed to register minority voters, charging some volunteer activists with crimes they would only be acquitted of after losing their jobs. Kemp’s indiscretions are in addition to both his negligence regarding the security of Georgia’s voting machines in 2016 and the release of 6 million Georgians’ Social Security numbers to the public in 2015.

While Kemp continues erecting barriers to the ballot box for many Georgians, Abrams has worked to tear them down. She created the New Georgia Project in 2013 to register thousands of previously unregistered but eligible minority voters — and to counter the policies of Kemp, whom she has called a “remarkable architect of voter suppression.” A cynic could make the argument that Abrams is just acting in her political best interests, as the voters she is trying to recruit would likely vote for her party. The same person might argue that Kemp’s strategy is also purely a political gambit meant to secure the governor’s office. The difference is that Abrams, while she might be acting in self interest, is also acting in the best interest of American democracy; only she is trying to make Georgia’s government responsive to the state’s changing demographics. Meanwhile, Kemp is trying to earn a majority of votes from a minority of voters.

Abrams’ experience as minority leader who has had to reach across the aisle qualifies her for the governor’s office. She served in wake of the 2008 Great Recession, which forced the state to make tough spending decisions. Abrams compromised to preserve full-day pre-kindergarten while cutting HOPE Scholarship funds, a decision that earned her criticism from other Democrats but was better than the cuts Republicans had originally proposed.

On the issues, Abrams stands far above Kemp. The pair’s largest split is their concern for Georgia’s economy. Kemp has promised to sign a state Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA), modelled after the one that imperiled North Carolina’s economy until it was repealed. The bill cost North Carolina $600 million in lost business, after companies like PayPal, Deutsche Bank and Alphabet halted investments and the NBA pulled its All Star game out of the state. In Georgia, past considerations of RFRA pushed the film industry to threaten to pull out of the state. But Kemp’s misguided policies aren’t the only reason Abrams would be better for the state’s economy, as she has also released specific plans to foster growth: the Jobs for Georgia Plan, which encourages small business hiring and increases infrastructure investment, and the Georgia Economic Mobility Plan, which aims to ensure that every Georgian feels the benefits of that increased economic activity by establishing a Georgia Earned Income Tax Credit and by creating a Cradle to Career Savings Program for families.

Beyond business, Abrams aims to improve Georgians’ access to healthcare. Her platform runs counter to the conservatives’ wishlist, as she prioritized taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act’s federal Medicaid expansion that would ensure healthcare access to approximately 473,000 uninsured Georgians. Neither Gov. Nathan Deal nor Kemp have any intention of embracing the Obama-era legislation. Though Kemp has proposed alternative plans to help rural communities, without federal aid rural communities will continue to struggle unnecessarily. This is because Medicaid benefits the people who need it most: low-income families and children in rural communities. Georgia’s rate of uninsured children has been steadily rising since 2008, and it currently sits at 93 percent.

On election day, Georgians must turn out to support Stacey Abrams to protect the integrity of the state’s democracy and to ensure that its economy continues to grow; the mere prospect of a Kemp regime is frightening. Though the recent Republican vice-grip on the South seems discouraging, polling averages give Abrams a good chance. Republicans have given us no choice but to turn Georgia blue.

Editorial Board members Andrew Kliewer and Shreya Pabbaraju recused themselves from writing this editorial because they have worked on the Abrams campaign.

The editorial board is composed of Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju and Isaiah Sirois. 

Iran. Libya. North Korea. Somalia. Syria. Venezuela. Yemen.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling in Trump v. Hawaii, individuals from these seven countries will be restricted from entering the United States out of a concern for national security. Debates about constitutional law aside, Executive Order 13,780 is bad policy. The ban is discriminatory — there’s a reason only two of those nations are not Muslim-majority, and it’s because Trump’s first travel ban was ruled unconstitutional after it only targeted Muslim nations. North Koreans and Venezuelans are now being used as legal cannon fodder to mask the Islamophobic rhetoric behind the ban, which was heavily pronounced during President Donald Trump’s campaign. Government officials have historically invoked the language of national security to make discrimination and overreach legal. But this mechanism for legalizing exclusion must be met with continued resistance, especially by American educational institutions.

This ruling flies in the face of Emory University’s mission statement, which seeks to foster a “global perspective on the human condition” while critical community members are being targeted. There are a number of ways the University can minimize the impact of the travel ban. University President Claire E. Sterk released a June 27 statement expressing her disappointment with the Supreme Court decision, setting the tone for the work ahead. She said that the University will continue working to “ensure that Emory’s doors remain open to bright, dedicated thinkers from all nations, faiths, and backgrounds.”Though the University has taken action by submitting amicus briefs and lobbying, it’s important to continue this legal work and remember to take care of Emory community members who are affected by this in the name of preserving intellectual diversity.

Emory could, for example, ensure individuals from these nations are connected with Student Legal Services at the Emory University Law School, similar to how it has helped undocumented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students. The University should also continue to support students who don’t go home during school breaks for fear of being barred upon re-entry by providing housing and work options. Additionally, the University should promote on-campus mental health services to aid the students affected by the travel ban. Emory should make clear that it prioritizes the safety of its diverse community members by encouraging them to discuss the challenges they now face in a forum-style dialogue. The University should also work with the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life (OSRL) to develop structured programs that acknowledge the needs of affected students. Hopefully, OSRL can serve as a bridge between the administration and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) to ensure that proactive steps are taken to protect students affected by the travel ban.

About 5 percent of the University’s 2,000 full-time instructional staff members who are nonresident aliens. Thirty-three percent of Emory’s full-time research staff are also non-resident aliens, which demonstrates the sizeable impact immigrants have on Emory’s academic life.

The University should respond to this Supreme Court ruling by taking substantive action to protect students’ access to and quality of education. Just because our president’s lawyers have managed to finagle a discriminatory policy doesn’t mean that we have to sit by idly. It is in Emory’s best interests to continue to attract and host a variety of world views. As such, Emory should work to guarantee the security that the government has tried to provide for some, but has failed to provide for many others.

The editorial board is composed of Nora Elmubarak, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju and Isaiah Sirois. 

As a search committee looks for Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair’s replacement, the Editorial Board urges it to select candidates who can further Nair’s work as a liaison for underrepresented student groups, an advocate for open expression and a reformer of Greek Life. Though Nair achieved much in these areas, Emory’s new dean must build on his accomplishments and continue to address student concerns and needs.

Nair made himself available to students through open office hours and “Desserts with the Dean,” an annual event held in his home. He addressed student concerns by remaining informed and connected to students, especially through social media. When Emory’s women’s tennis team Head Coach Amy Bryant posted a photograph of an insensitive Halloween costume last October on her Facebook, Nair responded to students’ concerns in a timely and thoughtful manner, legitimizing students’ voices. He also helped student organizations such as Emory Entrepreneurship & Venture Management (EEVM) obtain their own space on campus this past year. Nair set a high standard in accessibility, and his successor should strive to match it.

During his tenure, Nair fostered an Emory community conscious of social justice, created the Commission on Racial and Social Justice and served as a liaison between underrepresented groups and the administration, often during periods of high tension on campus. Despite criticisms of the administration’s handling of the event, Nair directly worked to address the 13 demands made by student group Black Students at Emory in 2015, earning him media praise. University President Claire E. Sterk said that Emory’s division of Campus Life became “a national pacesetter on issues of social justice” under Nair’s leadership. To maintain this distinction, Emory must ensure that any candidate considered to lead Campus Life has extensive experience working with minority groups.

Nair has repeatedly emphasized the importance of free speech and open dialogue. Emory currently has a green light rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Emory is one of only 37 universities nationwide to achieve this rating for its free speech policies. The new dean of Campus Life must ensure that this respect for open expression continues, even in the face of unpopular speech. Such a commitment is essential to ensuring that Emory remains a place where ideas can be exchanged freely.

Further, to foster a culture more considerate of students’ well-being, the next dean should encourage greater allocation of resources toward mental health services. While the University makes an effort to advertise the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) program, students often complain about long waiting periods for CAPS appointments and a general lack of mental health resources on campus. Increasing the number of CAPS appointments and counselors available and continuing to explore other resources for students is key to cultivating a healthier and more resilient student body.

Finally, Nair regarded reforming Emory’s Greek life as one of the most significant issues facing Campus Life, but told the Wheel in January that his vision for a more inclusive Greek life system remains unfulfilled. Nair launched Emory’s Greek Life Task Force (GLTF) and worked with student leaders in Greek life and the Interfraternity Council (IFC) to address hazing, drug and alcohol abuse and sexual assault. While some of his actions were controversial, Nair was dedicated to improving student safety. We hope that the next dean can finish the job Nair set out to complete and work to build a healthier relationship between the University and its Greek community.

While Nair’s tenure was not without criticism, he has left a legacy of reform that we hope the next dean of Campus Life can successfully maintain while championing new policies of their own.

The editorial board is composed of Nora Elmubarak, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju and Isaiah Sirois. 

In its first attempt at a legislative session, the 52nd legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) rashly violated its Finance Code by considering changes to the distribution of the Student Activities Fee (SAF) without first notifying the student body.

Bill 52sl2 would not only change SAF distribution, but it would also “suspend” parts of the Finance Code “for the sole purposes of passing the legislation.” But the Finance Code exists for a reason: to protect students’ interests and check potential abuses of power by the student government. The Finance Code should not be suspended or changed without properly notifying, and gaining the approval of, the student body.

The bill was introduced in wake of SGA President Dwight Ma’s (17Ox, 19C) veto of the budget passed by the 51st legislature, an action that also violates the Finance Code. The Code states in Part II Section 6 that the previous legislature approves the budget for the next legislature. If Ma wanted to challenge the budget, he should have done so when the 51st legislature approved it on April 3.

SGA demonstrated astounding ignorance of procedural rules in allowing Bill 52sl2 to be placed on the agenda and to be read despite the objections of former SGA President Gurbani Singh (18B) and former Speaker of the Legislature and Senior Representative William Palmer (18C), who were both present at the meeting.

Despite failing to meet quorum for an official legislative session, newly elected student government leaders heard Bill 52sl2, which would redirect SAF money from Goizueta students that is currently allocated to College Council (CC) from 14 to 4 percent, instead allocating that 10 percent to BBA Council. Per Part II, Rule 6 of its bylaws, a quorum, “shall be maintained throughout the whole of all legislative meetings. In the absence of quorum, the Legislature has the power only to order a call of the House, to recess, or to adjourn.”

Further, the SGA Finance Code Part VII states that “All bills that amend the SGA Finance Code must be advertised to the university-wide student body before being heard by the Student Legislature on the daily calendar.” Thus far, SGA has made no effort to publicize the bill. We condemn this alarming first action taken by our new student government leaders, all of whom championed increased transparency of student government during their campaigns yet tried to set this bill in motion without first consulting the University student body.

Instead of holding a pseudo-meeting without quorum, SGA should have cancelled its session and publicized the bill.

Constitutional breaches aside, SGA should be wary of passing Bill 52sl2 prematurely. A large justification for BBA Council President Jay Krishnaswamy’s (16Ox, 19B) bill is an audit on Goizueta Business School clubs carried out last year by the previous BBA Council. According to that audit, some Business School clubs which host a large number of members who are students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences do not receive enough funding from CC to reflect their membership, and instead are funded primarily by BBA Council funds. SGA should consider conducting its own independent review of club participation and exercise caution before passing any changes to SAF distribution.

Singh and Palmer urged legislators at the meeting to follow the processes codified in both the SGA constitution and Finance Code, to no avail. The fact that previous student government representatives found violations of SGA’s constitution in the first meeting of their new legislature shows a wanton ignorance of SGA’s procedures by the new student leaders.

Just as distressing is the fact that SGA is currently operating without an attorney general. Moving forward, the legislature must appoint an attorney general who is knowledgeable of SGA’s governing documents and is willing and able to check the kinds of oversights and abuses of power that have become commonplace in SGA in recent years.

The above Editorial represents the consensus opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

The editorial board is composed of Nora Elmubarak, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju and Isaiah Sirois. 

Recently, University President Claire E. Sterk has increased her public appearances around campus. Though Sterk told the Wheel last year that she planned to be “60 to 70 percent externally focused,” she still has a responsibility to foster campus community and build relationships with Emory students and faculty. Sterk’s recent actions, including office hours with student organizations and the revival of “Conversations on the Quad,” which seeks increase dialogue about social issues on campus, show a commendable effort to that end. While we appreciate the president’s efforts to further engage with the community, we hope that they constitute a broader shift in her accessibility and that she continues to augment her visibility initiatives.

This semester, Sterk created the opportunity for student organizations to schedule 20-minute meetings with her. These meetings are great for clubs who want to submit formal concerns directly to Sterk. However, although 50 student organizations expressed interest in obtaining one of the meeting times, only four student organizations were granted a time slot. Emory hosts more than 375 chartered student organizations, according to its website; four 20-minute sessions are insufficient for Sterk to engage with a significant portion of student groups. The Office of the President told the Wheel that it plans to accommodate all of the groups who expressed interest in meeting with Sterk. We appreciate the president’s willingness to meet with everyone who wants to do so, as these meetings allow students to feel like they have a voice on campus and potentially create impactful change on behalf of their organizations.

The president also hosted and participated in the April 5 “Conversations on the Quad,” an event billed as a conversation among Emory community members to foster a “culture of innovation.” Although the event felt slightly superficial — more like a public relations stunt than an opportunity for meaningful conversation — Sterk’s attendance demonstrated an attempt to increase her public visibility, a goal she told the Wheel about in March in response to calls for more appearances. We hope Sterk continues this trend of attending large, public events where Emory students, faculty and staff openly share their thoughts and people can see their leader participating in our community.

The College of Arts and Sciences promotes itself as an institution replete with the advantages of a small liberal arts college, including a certain level of familiarity with faculty and administrators. While her Sterk’s main job is to raise money for the entire University, she must also be open to hearing student input and should appear as a present, active member of the Emory community. Alternatively, she could ensure that someone — perhaps a dean or Campus Life representative — fills that role.

Former University President James W. Wagner, who retired in August 2016, was often sighted walking around campus, talking to students. A sense of community is an integral part of any university, and Sterk has an important role to play in developing that at Emory.

The above Editorial represents the consensus opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

The editorial board is composed of Nora Elmubarak, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois.