Editorials

Emory’s Ph.D. student stipends finally caught up to those of its peer institutions when the University announced that the base stipend for students pursuing doctoral degrees will increase to $31,000 from $24,000 beginning in Fall 2019. This is a necessary reform to address concerns voiced by Emory graduate students about inadequate stipends and to ensure Emory is competitive at the graduate level. However, the University should take further steps to address other graduate student needs.

The stipend increase addresses the increasing disparity between stipends and Atlanta’s rising cost of living. By bumping up base stipends by 29 percent, Emory is preserving its culture of innovation and research and providing graduate students more financial security. And since the National Labor Relations Board considers graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants as employees, they should be treated more similarly to other Emory employees; graduate students should be focused on producing high-quality research and on providing high-level undergraduate instruction, not on taking second jobs to cover skyrocketing rents.

However, this stipend increase is only the first in a series of steps necessary to keep Emory a top destination for doctoral candidates. Concerns expressed by the voluntary graduate student union EmoryUnite as well as the Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) include calls for better transportation and housing options, career advising and cheaper childcare.

Fortunately, Emory has already demonstrated a willingness to address graduate student conditions. The University created a half-month stipend for first-year graduate students in August, addressing concerns about the dead-period period they previously faced. This half-month pay is better than no pay, but it does not cover all the expenses incurred by graduate students moving to Atlanta. Moving, rent and student fees represent financial constraints that could prevent the best graduate students from coming to LGS. As EmoryUnite has requested, full stipends should be dispensed earlier to ease graduate students’ transition into the academic year. The University has argued that obtaining I-9 documentation makes this difficult, but Emory should still take the lead among its peer institutions and do away entirely with the dead-pay period.

Emory should take a similar approach to increase campus accessibility to graduate students. Emory only guarantees two years of housing for undergraduates, and graduate students do not receive on-campus housing assignments. Because of this, graduate students are forced to seek off-campus options. “Most [graduate students] cannot afford to live anywhere near Emory on our stipends,” EmoryUnite Organizing Committee member Jonathan Basile (24G) wrote in an email to the Wheel.

While the University may not be able to provide more accessible housing, it can provide graduate students with better transportation options. GSGA, for example, called for a more convenient shuttle schedule. Even though MARTA has announced plans to build the Clifton Corridor that better connects Emory with Atlanta, the University should still accommodate GSGA’s request since that project is years away from completion. In addition, graduate students do not have access to the same parking benefits extended to Emory faculty, leaving them no choice but to pay $672 annually for a parking pass. Providing graduate students with this pass is a concrete way to reduce their expenses.

LGS should also help graduate students with dependents pay for child care. Currently, the cost of sending a child to the on-campus Clifton School is up to $326 a week, or nearly $16,000 annually — more than half of a graduate student’s base stipend. And though the Emory-affiliated Clifton School offers tuition assistance to Emory employees earning less than $58,000 per year, this offer is not extended to students. For those with dependents, covering this expense even with the improved stipend is often impossible. Should it be an option financially, Emory should take similar steps to make child care more affordable.

While the Editorial Board commends Emory for increasing graduate students’ base stipends, the University should ensure that their increased pay isn’t bogged down by high transportation and other costs.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.

One-and-a-half months is not enough time for Emory’s Student Government Association (SGA) to conduct an audit that could cause long-lasting consequences with due diligence.

While the audit’s intention is to equitably distribute the Student Activity Fee (SAF) between clubs, its limited scope will ensure that it does just the opposite — the audit will lead to the division of money in a way that may not represent the needs of Emory’s clubs. Since the audit is limited to the period of Sept. 31 to Nov. 19, midterms, fall break and Homecoming will skew findings about student participation rates. Furthermore, clubs that held activities earlier in the Fall or have larger activities planned for the Spring are unfairly punished by the audit’s time constraints. Instead of a rushed audit, SGA should have approved the proposal by College Council Vice President Hemal Prasad (19C) to extend the audit for a full year.

Because the audit is so short, there is no guarantee that its outcome will lead to fairer allocation of the SAF.

Worse, the credibility of the audit is undermined by the lack of buy-in from most divisional councils. According to SGA Executive Vice President John Priddy (19C), only the BBA Council expressed interest in the audit.

Instead of immediately implementing changes based on the audit’s results, SGA should send any proposed changes to the SAF split to an undergraduate referendum. This would add a democratic check and provide needed legitimacy to any changes. Although a shorter audit may be the most politically expedient move, its inherent limits indicate that SGA does not prioritize long-term success over short-term accomplishments. Extend the audit to a full year to ensure fairness.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei. Kimia Tabatabaei is a freshman legislator on College Council and recused herself from this piece.

UPDATE (10/4/18 at 5:17 p.m.): Emory’s Student Government Association has disabled access to their website

The webpage that greets a user once they click ‘I want to find my representative,’ on the current Emory SGA website./Courtesy of Emory SGA

Emory’s Student Government Association website is, in its own words, an embarrassment.

There is no way to view active representatives. Those seeking to get involved on campus are greeted with a page that has not been updated since 2014. Concerned constituents can report their problems to John Darby — who has not been the SGA president for four years. For a body tasked with addressing the issues of Emory students, SGA’s website is an abject failure; it’s not unreasonable to expect that SGA either update its website or improve its OrgSync.

The former SGA administration under Gurbani Singh (18B) failed to update the website, despite the November 2017 creation of the Communications Committee, which promised to better facilitate the transmission of information to the public. Last semester, several SGA candidates mentioned updating the website during their campaigns. In interviews with the Wheel, both SGA President Dwight Ma (17Ox, 19C) and SGA Executive Vice President John Priddy (19C) promised prompt updates to the government’s digital presence and transparency. More than half a year into their tenure, the pair has failed to produce results thus far. While SGA has uploaded an updated version of the Constitution to its OrgSync page, this improvement is the bare minimum — especially considering that OrgSync is rarely used. SGA can go a step further by sending out periodic announcements like College Council did last year or live streaming their weekly sessions.

SGA’s lackluster efforts to properly update its website limits interaction with a student body that is already uninterested in participating in student government. At a time when people are increasingly receiving their information online, SGA should be expected to maintain a website that is both engaging and consistently updated. Without an accessible website, students have one less avenue to voice concerns or contact their representatives. SGA leaders cannot expect to receive consistent input if there is no central platform for students to give it.

And while SGA occasionally uses its Facebook page to update students, the page has a mere 1,400 followers — a fraction of Emory’s more than 7,000 undergraduate students. Because Facebook reaches such a small percentage of the student body, the organization should emphasize relaying important information on other platforms like OrgSync, the undergraduate listserv or their website, which should be accessible to more people.

The modifications could also include the regular uploading of meeting minutes. Should SGA elect to switch to OrgSync completely, they must delete their outdated website to clarify online communication with the student body.

Fortunately, SGA’s transparency problem has quick and easy solutions. SGA can either update its website or include more information, such as how to contact representatives, on their OrgSync profile. And they should have the capacity to do so, especially since the vice president of communications has proposed creating a new communications officer position. Until significant changes are made, students cannot easily find who their representatives are and cannot hold SGA accountable.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei. Kimia Tabatabaei is a freshman legislator on College Council and recused herself from this piece.

For years, Emory has stood as the largest center of employment in metro Atlanta without any easy access to public transportation or an interstate highway. Anyone who has sat in Clifton Road’s glacial-pace traffic can attest to the frustration and lost productivity this causes while over 50,000 cars pass through the area daily. The Clifton Corridor, a proposed light rail line currently sitting on MARTA’s docket, is a potential solution to this issue, but it’s currently at risk.

An Oct. 4 vote by MARTA’s Board of Directors could delay this project because of advocates who claim that the Clifton Corridor proposal is unfairly taking money away from other Atlanta transit projects. While this is a valid concern, the amount of congestion and economic importance of the Clifton Corridor should make it a top priority for public transit. A decision by MARTA’s board to cut funding would have negative consequences not only for Emory, but also for all of metro Atlanta by preserving gridlock, pollution and barriers for low-income people in accessing key Atlanta educational and health care institutions.

Atlanta would also benefit from the project in more direct ways. The impact of Emory’s community service programs would surely expand alongside this increased access to Atlanta; it’s easy to imagine the Corridor allowing more Volunteer Emory trips and boosting participation in educational outreach programs like the Atlanta Urban Debate League and Graduation Generation.

“As we seek to have deeper engagement in Atlanta, we need more ways to do so and the Clifton Corridor would be a huge step in that direction,” Senior Director of Civic and Community Engagement James Roland wrote in a Sept. 24 email to the Wheel.

When Atlanta annexed Emory in January, it was no secret that a key reason was access to $2.5 billion in transit funding, raised by a half-cent increase in sales tax that Atlanta voters approved in 2016. However, activists have raised concerns about MARTA’s plan to give the Clifton Corridor $503 million of this funding, the largest allocation to any single project. The group Beltline Rail Now has called for MARTA to instead fully fund a 22-mile streetcar loop of the Beltline, citing that this project would serve areas that have been in Atlanta far longer than Emory.  

The concerns of this group are fair; the Beltline also deserves transit funding, especially for historically underserved areas in Atlanta’s west side. However, completing the entire project at the expense of Clifton Corridor would be a mistake. As the project with a higher projected ridership, the Corridor has the greatest likelihood of securing federal funds necessary for construction. The proposal before MARTA’s board to complete the segment connecting Emory to Lindbergh station is a sensible middle ground, which would still leave funding for a third of the Beltline streetcar.

Ultimately, those on both sides of this debate must face a stark reality: there simply is not enough funding to go around. Cannibalizing funding for the Clifton Corridor to fully fund the Beltline streetcar would be a disservice to all residents of metro Atlanta, including the majority of respondents who indicated in a survey conducted by MARTA that the Clifton Corridor was one of their top three priorities. While Emory’s annexation into Atlanta is recent, MARTA has been actively planning the Clifton Corridor since 2000. The current proposal before MARTA’s board is the best chance to bring this decade-long effort to fruition, finally connecting Atlantans to one of the largest employment centers in the metro area.

We urge MARTA’s board of directors to ensure the Clifton Corridor project receives adequate funds; it’s in the best interest of both Emory and Atlanta writ large.

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

Emory’s student government has yet again found itself amid an ethical quandary: Jane Wang (22C), a Constitutional Council associate justice, was also elected to serve as a College Council freshman representative. Though nothing in SGA’s constitution explicitly prohibits students from serving on both College Council and Constitutional Council, such a conflict of interest is detrimental to an SGA administration that has consistently demonstrated a need for scrutiny.

SGA Attorney General Kaia Ordal (17Ox, 19C) showed a lack of judgment in her decision to green-light Wang’s dual roles in College Council and Constitutional Council. When reached out for comment, Ordal said she “saw no conflict of interest in [Wang being] involved in both organizations.” Had Ordal referenced past Constitutional Council cases, the conflict of interest would have rendered itself apparent.

While the Constitutional Council isn’t frequently used its single case since 2014 directly concerned last Spring’s College Council elections. After former Elections Board Chair Betty Zhang (20C) allowed only select candidates who declared their candidacy late to run for student government positions, the Constitutional Council recommended her resignation and upheld the electoral victory of one of the late declarers, now College Council President Radhika Kadakia (20C).

Given that Wang is a member of the highest judicial body, which holds both appellate and original jurisdiction over SGA and its subsidiary bodies (including College Council), it is a clear conflict of interest for Wang to also serve on College Council. Justices are supposed to be impartial, and although Wang could potentially recuse herself from a case involving College Council, there is a reason why U.S. Supreme Court Justices are not congress members on the side. Separation of powers is necessary to prevent unchecked administrative abuse, and SGA would not have had to exercise an unreasonable amount of effort to find another qualified candidate outside College Council.

We recommend that either Wang voluntarily step down from one of her positions to safeguard the integrity of our student government or that Ordal realize the ethical concerns of permitting Wang to serve in both roles. When reached for comment, Wang said she hopes “to make a positive impact on this campus.” We appreciate that sentiment and her participation in student government, but we urge her to realize the ethical concerns at hand. Finally, SGA should enumerate a more comprehensive constitution with guidelines to prevent such future dilemmas.

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

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.