Editorials

When Emory’s Student Government Association (SGA) voted down Bill 53sl38 on Monday, it shielded our semesterly $92 Student Activities Fee (SAF) from being redistributed according to an inaccurate audit that was conducted through unethical and procedurally questionable means. It was the first time in six years that SGA considered adjusting how the SAF is distributed among divisional councils, and Bill 53sl38 would have been a step in the wrong direction.

Accuracy Problems

First and foremost, the bill relied largely on unreliable and insufficient results from a one-month club audit carried out this semester. The rushed and confusing process in which this audit was conducted means the final results may not be reflective of each divisional council’s true funding needs. As College Council noted in a Dec. 3 email to students, time constraints forced the audit committee to base its recommendations solely on club membership data, which disregards the funding necessary to host club events — like Diwali and CultureShock — that are open to non-members.

Accurately auditing club participation is a complex task. Though non-voting audit committee member Hugh O’Neil (21C) said divisional councils contacted all their clubs to participate in the audit, some club leaders said they felt confused by the process. For example, at Nov. 30’s town hall to inform the public about the audit, Obstacle Course Racing Club Treasurer Gustavo Borjas (21C) said his club did not receive adequate notice of the audit and was unsure about what data to submit. Multiple clubs, such as Emory Helpline, were also unable to submit membership data due to confidentiality reasons.

The audit’s methodology also may not accurately reflect the level of member involvement in each club — CC Legislator Jasmine Cui (20C) argued the audit would inflate membership rates of clubs with fewer general body meetings, since attendance at over 50 percent of these meetings was considered “membership” for the audit’s purposes. Additionally, the membership data sample size was taken from Fall 2018 for each club, a method which largely fails to take into account possible membership changes occuring in the Spring semester; in a Dec. 3 announcement to students, CC wrote that “more clubs are active in the Spring, and hosts [sic] more events, but this disparity is not reflected by this current audit.” While some attendance data for last Spring was extrapolated from clubs that had records of that information, not all clubs kept this data. It seems unfair to count this information given that a considerable amount of clubs could not provide this data.

Instead of enshrining a formula based on faulty methodology, SGA appropriately disregarded the results of this audit. They should now conduct a year-long audit that gives every club ample opportunity to submit accurate data.

Ethical Problems

The SAF audit was initiated by BBA Council President Jay Krishnaswamy (19B), who alleged that College students were participating in BBA clubs at a rate higher than is reflected in the current SAF distribution. To help fill BBA Council’s supposed funding gap, Krishnaswamy has repeatedly tried to rush the SAF reallocation despite a temporary transfer from CC to BBA Council that took place earlier this month. A more convenient and less drastic solution for next year would have been to ask CC or other sources to give more money to BBA Council — like they did this year — instead of conducting a massive and problematic overhaul of the SAF. A temporary transfer would alleviate funding shortages for 2019 while simultaneously allowing time for a fully transparent year-long audit.

Also concerning was that the Friday SGA town hall was effectively run by Krishnaswamy, who opened the meeting and responded to student questions along with O’Neil. Because SGA is the student organization overseeing the SAF audit, it would only make sense that Ma — or another SGA member familiar with the audit and Finance Code — would moderate the meeting and answer questions, instead of a divisional council president with a vested interest in the audit results. Other important voices, including those of CC President Radhika Kadakia (20C) and SGA President Dwight Ma (17Ox, 19C), were conspicuously absent.

In a statement before the vote, College Council Vice President Hemal Prasad (19C) criticized the process for having so often “flirted with unconstitutionality.” Last week, Krishnaswamy tried to bring the bill to a vote without first notifying the student body, a constitutional requirement for issues of significance. Krishnaswamy acknowledged the concern, and argued that his actions were justified because SGA failed to comply with this measure earlier in the year. “There are a lot of things that are unconstitutional happening,” Krishnaswamy said.

If SGA had passed this bill after such a demonstrably rushed and questionable process, it would have compromised any subsequent SAF redistribution’s legitimacy.

Procedural Problems

Though SGA Speaker of the Legislature and Sophomore Representative Lori Steffel (21C) ruled that the bill had failed after Tuesday’s vote, Constitutional Council Chief Justice Owen Mattocks (20C) told Krishnaswamy that the bill only required a simple majority to pass (though it’s questionable for a justice to comment on a potential case). Steffel told the legislators that the bill required a two-thirds vote to pass, and with 15 voting members present, the seven “yes” votes it received were insufficient. SGA was quick to acknowledge on Monday night that its constitution did not specify how the voting process should work, and Steffel conceded that SGA should make sure their documents provide clearer procedures. SGA must act to resolve their constitutional ambiguity. Oxford SGA President Liam Dewey (20Ox) noted that Oxford SGA had recently reworked its constitution to resolve similar issues, and he recommended SGA do the same. If SGA wants to retain a legitimate image, it must ensure that voting procedures are clear, especially for issues of significance.

Conclusion

If you want to do an audit, you need to get it right. This audit was a failure, but it will hopefully lead to more equitable fund distribution in the coming years. We applaud the SAF audit committee for their vision and effort, but we implore SGA — independent from divisional councils and their representatives — to develop a reliable and accurate system for auditing club membership and participation before they attempt to redistribute the SAF.

Emory students and faculty registered to vote in Georgia will have another chance to make their voices heard at the ballot box on Dec. 4: this time, in the runoff election for secretary of state. Brian Kemp’s rocky tenure in this position demonstrated the statewide office’s significance. To avoid more flagrant acts of voter suppression, it’s imperative that Emory community members show up to oppose Republican Brad Raffensperger and vote for Democrat John Barrow.

Raffensperger has already pledged to continue Kemp’s most controversial elections policies — both strengthening voter ID laws and “keep[ing] our voter lists clean and updated.” While these sound nice to the ear, both are blatant voter suppression tactics.

If elected, Raffensperger would only perpetuate Kemp’s legacy of rejecting absentee ballots, purging voters and disproportionately denying minorities the ability to vote. Raffensperger’s proposed strengthening of voter ID laws would suppress turnout and disproportionately impact low-income and minority voters. After Shelby County v. Holder ended the Voting Rights Act’s doctrine of federal preclearance that prevented certain states from changing their voting laws without federal approval, there has been a surge in strict voter ID laws in those places, including Georgia. Conservative lawmakers’ own words on voter ID laws suggest the racist intentions behind their tactics. These laws are often justified by complaints about illegal voting by undocumented immigrants, but federal investigations found no evidence to support these claims; Trump’s complaints about widespread illegal voting were met with charges filed against only 19 foreign nationals. Worse, Raffensperger’s own website says he supports voter ID laws because he “strongly believes that only legal American citizens should vote.” While a concern about “illegal citizens” seems oxymoronic, Raffensperger is presumably referring to voting done by the same undocumented non-citizens that Trump’s voter fraud commission could not find evidence to support.

Raffensperger’s last point is the most harrowing. What could he mean by cleaning and updating Georgia’s voter lists beyond purging them again? Kemp infamously purged over half a million voters in July 2017, part of a broader spike in voter roll cleansing during his tenure as secretary of state.

In contrast, Barrow opposes legislation to remove previously inactive voter from registration rolls, a practice that he identifies as discriminatory and as going against citizens’ constitutionally protected right to vote. He also supports leniency in voter ID laws, and notes that difficulty presenting certain forms of ID or lapses in an individual’s voting history should not prevent them from voting in an election.

As residents of Georgia, members of the Emory community must express their concern for free and fair elections at next Tuesday’s run-off. Instead of wallowing in frustration over Abrams’ loss, the Emory community must show up at the ballot box.

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.

Emory’s proposal to donate 10 acres of land and $33.9 million for the Clifton Corridor project is a smart step toward neutralizing the criticism the University faced after cutting in line for MARTA funding, which is supported by an increase in Atlanta sales tax that was passed before Emory was annexed into Atlanta. The light rail line would link Atlanta’s Lindbergh station to Decatur’s Avondale station, and Emory’s financial support is more than justified given the project’s potential benefits.

The total contribution, worth about $60 million, would fill a large portion of the project’s existing $100 million funding gap that MARTA has been looking for private partners to address. Emory has a vested interest in ensuring the timely completion of the Clifton Corridor as it would reduce traffic congestion in the area and make the campus more accessible and environmentally friendly.

Congestion is an especially pronounced issue for the University. Emory is one of the most congested areas in Atlanta without access to an interstate or MARTA rail, a problem which will continue to mount without the construction of the Clifton Corridor. The light rail would help remedy this by servicing a projected 23,000 members of the Atlanta community daily, including the University’s faculty, students and staff. The light rail would also provide access to the almost 197,000 jobs in institutions serviced by the corridor, many of which surround Emory, including the DeKalb Medical Center and the Atlanta VA Medical Center. In addition to fortifying the University’s mission of sustainability by avoiding a projected 20 million kg per year of greenhouse gas emissions, the light rail would be a vital way of connecting the Emory community to employment and housing in the city of Atlanta as it passes directly through the University’s campus. Additionally, the corridor would also make it much easier for students to venture off campus to engage with Atlanta, such as through Center for Civic and Community Engagement programs like Volunteer Emory.

One of Emory’s primary reasons for supporting annexation into Atlanta last January was to enable access to the light rail system, which would in turn be funded by the city’s sales tax. Because Emory sought annexation into Atlanta primarily for transit funding, it is only fair that Emory help fund the Clifton Corridor construction where possible.

While Emory may technically be a part of Atlanta as of January this year, it lacks an easy connection to the majority of the city’s population and cultural amenities. By helping subsidize the Clifton Corridor, Emory will finally bridge the gap between the “Emory bubble” and the Atlanta community, while also spurring employment and diminishing traffic.

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.

When President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated, he swore to defend the Constitution. That includes the First Amendment’s freedom of the press. However, in his attacks on CNN Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, Trump disregarded that oath. Trump’s actions are part of a broader anti-media narrative that threatens the press’s ability to accurately cover the Trump administration. As a student newspaper, the Wheel condemns the president’s actions.

The White House suspended Acosta’s press pass on Nov. 7 after a heated press conference during which Acosta refused to surrender the microphone while questioning Trump’s construction of immigrant caravans as a threat to America’s elections. To justify removing Acosta’s press pass, the White House accused Acosta of laying hands on a White House aide and used a doctored video from Infowars as evidence. Alex Jones’s Infowars has spread conspiracy theories and been banned by social media outlets for hate speech, further illustrating the administration’s tendency to support unreliable news sources.

Acosta was doing his job: asking tough questions to keep the president accountable. Trump’s removal of Acosta was both unwarranted and inappropriate, part of his continuous undermining of the free press. The president has repeatedly criticized CNN and The New York Times for reporting “fake news” and attacked multiple media outlets as “enemies of the American people.”

Trump’s preference for certain news outlets — especially those that propagate his own agenda — is unnecessarily divisive. By revoking Acosta’s press pass, Trump demonstrated his ability to suppress the journalism he disagrees with and to intimidate individual reporters He has even threatened to revoke more reporters’ press credentials. The message from the White House is clear: agree with Trump or get out.

The suspension of Acosta’s press pass, in addition to Trump’s attacks on Acosta’s character, mark a shift from exaggerated rhetoric to authoritarian action. While the president’s derogatory rhetoric alone should be condemned, his action directly threatens the freedom of the press that is integral to functioning of any democracy.

Trump’s latest move is part of a larger pattern of disparaging the press. Trump has repeatedly tweeted attacks on news organizations that run articles criticizing him, one tweet featured a photoshopped WWE video of Trump tackling and punching a person labeled “CNN.” During a rally last month, Trump praised Greg Gianforte, the Montana congressman who body-slammed a Guardian reporter. Trump has threatened those who own critical news organizations with financial harm, calling for anti-trust action against Amazon (whose CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post) and attempting to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner, the owner of CNN.

Delegitimizing the press erodes the trust that students have in reputable news sources, whether it’s school publications or national news networks. Students and faculty should make the conscious decision to support credible news sources and scrutinize Trump’s actions that undermine the freedom of the press.

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.

Last week, College Council (CC) transferred about $4,000 of its executive funds to BBA Council chartered clubs and organizations frequented by students in the College, including events hosted by the Goizueta Finance Club and the Goizueta Consulting Club. When BBA Council finalized its budget for the Fall 2018 semester, they left a funding gap to be filled by CC. In order to ensure that BBA Council will not lack money required to charter these events in the future, student government leaders should either redistribute the student activities fee (SAF) or encourage funding-starved clubs to use administrative mechanisms in place to fund eligible organizations that serve students across school-wide divisions. CC and BBA Council should also improve communication to the student body concerning otherwise-ambiguous funding transfers.

A misleading Nov. 7 news article published by the Wheel, in which the source and recipients of the $4,000 were unclear, made the transfer appear underhanded and imprudent. In fact, the transfer came from CC’s executive budget, and it was a fulfillment of a previous agreement by CC to co-fund certain events hosted by BBA Council-chartered clubs with College student membership. Problems arose when CC realized they were constitutionally prohibited from directly altering the distribution of the SAF between CC and BBA Council; as such, CC Executive Board’s decision to use executive funds to ensure the success of those events was necessary and will hopefully be more than just a temporary band-aid to a larger funding issue. The transfer should be a reality check for CC and BBA Council both to produce a more effective funding system for similar events in the future and to improve communication with the Wheel to ensure students best understand the goings-on of student government.

While it’s fortunate that the transfer will allow some BBA Council-chartered organizations to fund their events, CC’s transfer should have been better publicized. Both divisional councils neglected to announce the transfer to students, and better communication would have helped students and the Wheel understand what had actually taken place. In short, financial decisions made by divisional councils ought to be broadcasted to the student population.

While CC’s actions were justified given the circumstances, BBA Council clubs should not be reliant on emergency transfers from CC to fill their annual budgets. Instead of relying on ad hoc transfers, BBA Council-chartered clubs that need additional funding due to the number of its College members should consider applying to be executive agencies, a process established after the 2017 student government split. An executive agency can receive funding from SGA, allowing them to serve students from multiple schools.

In the future, CC and BBA council should avoid such circumstances and only use the executive fund transfer as a last resort. The councils should respect the predetermined SAF split and resolve funding issues in the open.

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.

The Student Government Association (SGA)’s club participation audit is failing because of more than just its excessively short time-frame.

The Editorial Board shares College Council’s (CC) sentiment that one month simply is not enough time to form an accurate picture of undergraduate clubs’ financial needs, especially given the concerns raised by clubs and divisional councils last week.

In their attempt to conduct a hasty audit of club participation, SGA has failed to issue clear guidelines and anticipate challenges in collecting data. Clubs have contacted CC to express confusion about the audit and request extensions, according to CC Freshman Representative and audit chair Chandler Smith (22C). For clubs who fail to submit information, the audit committee plans to extrapolate from available member data from clubs and organizations not gathered during the audit. But altering how the student activities fee (SAF) is distributed among divisional councils should be based on more than mere guesstimates, and it’s unclear what data, if any, is available. Imprecise and incomplete data will fail to provide an accurate picture of current club participation. No legitimate new fee split can hinge upon information inconsistent with current club participation.

Additionally, student groups, especially those with sensitive membership information, have not received adequate accommodations. Some mental health or religious groups cannot or have chosen not to participate in providing membership data, which further undermines the integrity of the SAF audit. According to College Council (CC) VP of Finance, Teresa Wang (20B), the Emory HelpLine, for example, is not willing to disclose its membership, and for some religious groups, using technology on certain days violates rules of their religion. These clubs are an essential component of the student population that the audit will not adequately represent.

Although the club audit committee has promised adjust to meet these clubs’ needs, the audit deadline is less than one week away. SGA’s disorganization and incoordination in conducting the audit — one CC representative sent to an event to count participation only reported “many people are going” — must be seriously examined and questioned before adjusting the SAF split.

The audit that is supposed to serve student groups and organizations is doing the exact opposite. If this audit is to be the foundation for a fair re-allocation of club funding, SGA needs to extensively revise its data collection methodology and extend the audit’s timeline.

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.

The United States already has one of the lowest voter turnout rates among developed countries. Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp is exacerbating the problem by curtailing access to the state’s ballot boxes.

Kemp’s state department purged 1.5 million Georgians from the voter rolls ahead of the 2016 election, according to the Brennan Center, twice as many as the state purged between 2008 and 2012. The state also shuttered 214 voting precincts, or 8 percent, since the 2012 election. And earlier this month, Kemp’s “exact match” voter registration law placed 53,000 voters on hold, a majority of them African-American. 47,000 voters are still pending, and although these individuals can still vote with proper identification, it’s yet another unnecessary burden placed disproportionately upon minority voters.

Fortunately, Kemp’s “exact match” law was effectively overruled for the midterms on Oct. 24, when a federal judge ordered Georgia officials to stop rejecting absentee ballots without letting voters fix them first. Similar “exact match” laws have already been struck down in New Hampshire; there is little reason for their imposition in the first place. Voter fraud, the justification floated by the Kemp campaign, has been repeatedly proven to be a myth.

Even if voter fraud were a legitimate problem, Kemp should not be in charge of election oversight. Both former secretaries of state and gubernatorial candidates Karen Handel and Max Cleland resigned during their bids for office. Even though Democrats Cathy Cox and Lewis Massey did not resign, they also lost their party’s primary and did not end up running. Kemp’s candidacy demands that he at least temporarily vacate his secretary of state position, and his failure to do so is a stain on his candidacy. This is a simple case of a conflict of interest. Even former President and Emory University Distinguished Professor Jimmy Carter has called on Kemp to relinquish his position out of concern for “voter confidence in the upcoming election.”

Carter also calls into question Georgia’s troubled history of voting, noting the “undeniable racial discrimination of the past.” The resurgence in voter suppression since Shelby County v. Holder is not historical happenstance. When the Supreme Court overturned section five of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that forced certain states to have proposed voting restrictions pre-cleared by the federal government, it opened the floodgates for a revival of the discrimination America supposedly left behind. Without this check on state governments, the United States has entered “Jim Crow 2.0,” as Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies Carol Anderson wrote in an Oct. 19 op-ed for HuffPost.

In this neck-and-neck election, people should be more concerned with who they vote for, not if they can vote.

Editor’s Note: The Wheel’s Editorial Board endorsed Stacey Abrams in September.

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

President Donald J. Trump promised to support the LGBT community during his 2016 presidential campaign. Since his election, however, his administration has worked to consistently undermine transgender rights. A memo obtained by The New York Times details the latest move: Trump’s administration is considering redefining gender as a “biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth” that is either male or female. This constitutes an imminent threat to the security of transgender people and would violate the civil rights of at least 1.4 million transgender Americans. The U.S.’s withdrawal from the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in January was not symbolic; Trump’s proposed legal redefinition of gender is just one of many actions in the administration’s dismissal of human rights and minority groups.

This year alone, the Trump administration banned transgender people from participating in military service, decided that transgender people must be placed with people of their assigned sex at birth in federal prisons and allowed businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community based on religious exemption, allowing for further discrimination against transgender individuals. U.S. officials are even attempting to rewrite gendered language in UN human rights documents — mainly by exchanging phrases like “gender-based violence” with “violence against women” — in ways that would allow for legal discrimination against transgender individuals.

Trump’s reversal on his promise to support the LGBT community is unsurprising given that his second-in-command, Mike Pence, has a significant anti-LGBT track record; Pence signed religious liberty legislation as Indiana governor that permits discrimination against LGBT individuals and helped draft the administration’s ban on transgender individuals from open military service.

Trump’s anti-transgender agenda is not a vague possibility blown out of proportion by liberal fearmongers. It is a real and tangible shift toward the dehumanization of transgender individuals in the U.S. and across the world.

The U.S. Departments of Education; Labor; and Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama offered protections to transgender people in education and employment practices and ensured access to health care for transgender individuals — signs that the administration recognized that individuals who don’t conform to the gender-binary were vulnerable to discrimination. The proposed narrower definition of gender described in the memo would mean health insurers that currently cover procedures related to gender-affirmation would be less likely to cover the cost of transition services; hiring discrimination against transgender individuals could become legal and the decision would likely be deeply felt in school and college locker rooms and bathrooms. If the Trump administration successfully redefines gender to exclude transgender individuals from Title IX protections, the ramifications for college students could be even more extensive.

The Trump administration’s failure to recognize the legitimacy of transgender existence is ignorant and its pursuit of an exclusionary redefinition of gender is a legal codification of discrimination.

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.

Do you know where your $92 Student Activities Fee (SAF) is going? A Wheel reporter tried to find out by attending a recent College Council (CC) session, but he was removed because CC went into an “executive session.” When the reporter asked to read copies of the bills passed during the session, he received versions with financial information redacted.

Student government institutions like CC are meant to give students a voice in how their SAF is spent. The procedure described above completely negates that purpose by closing off meetings that determine funding. Though CC claims to be protecting clubs’ financial privacy, they are destroying the necessary mechanisms of transparency and accountability. These claims are unfounded: Student Government Association (SGA) publicizes funding requests they receive, and the Wheel has published student government budgets in the past. CC should follow the lead of SGA, their parent organization, by holding legislative meetings open to the student body and releasing financial documentation.

To justify the procedural changes, CC Vice President Hemal Prasad (19C) and Chief of Staff Jacob Hicks (18Ox, 20C) both cited Robert’s Rules of Order, a rulebook for legislative bodies adopted by CC in Spring 1971. While neither the latest revision of CC’s constitution nor standing rules reference Robert’s Rules, the rules would allow those bodies to call for private, executive sessions. However, the rules of procedure of CC that Hicks sent to the Wheel should supersede Robert’s Rules, and they fail to mention any such executive session. What’s worse is that CC is currently using executive sessions for legislative activity, which, though permitted under Robert’s Rules, violates their spirit and undermines transparency.

CC has also said Student Government Services (SGS), an office of University employees hired to assist student government process finances, has urged them not to make financial documents public. SGS’ claim is based on a poor interpretation of the SGA constitution, which reads,  “All meetings of the Student Legislature shall be open … [and] the papers of SGA shall be considered public records.” SGS has repeatedly interpreted that clause to exclude financial documents when Wheel reporters requested financial documents. Such an interpretation is completely unjustified by the Constitution’s text, and interpreting the student Constitution is outside SGS’s purview.

SGS officials are unelected. These administrators do not pay into the SAF, and there is no constitutional mechanism through which their interpretation should hold any weight. If CC concedes that SGS can interpret the student constitution, they are handing sovereignty over to a wholly undemocratic body. Further, using SGS’s interpretation to close legislative meetings also breaks from the norms of other student government bodies; none of them actively remove observers while passing bills.

This would be less of an issue had student government bodies not repeatedly demonstrated a need for oversight and electoral accountability. While CC has largely avoided scandals, its members should continue to act openly and responsibly instead of hindering public access to information.

It’s worth noting that CC’s use of executive session followed the Wheel’s decision to regularly send reporters to its meetings this semester. Preventing media access to CC meetings severs a vital link in communication between the student government and students, many of whom do not have the time to regularly attend meetings. CC’s decision is an unnecessarily adversarial stance toward the press that ensures students will vote in the spring with incomplete knowledge of their elected representatives’ performance.

We understand that funding diverse student organizations and organizing CultureShock are difficult tasks that may require heated debate, but that does not justify anti-democratic action.

As long as Emory students are required to pay the $92 Student Activities Fee, the financial process of student government organizations should be open to scrutiny.

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.