Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Putzes Playing Politics
Having come of age in the era of George W. Bush and Mike D. Huckabee, and having watched the failures of leadership on their own campus, perhaps they can be forgiven for having no role models for political wisdom or intellectual independence. Still, it must be somewhat of an embarrassment for the professors who have had them in classes during the last year or so to watch their recent antics. I'm talking about the Student Council up at the University of Arkansas, a collective disaster of resume padders that give clusterforks a bad name.
The Student Council unanimously passed a resolution that called for improving sustainability on the campus and for improving the funding and operation of recycling overall. It also suggested that students write letters to Congressman Boozman and Senators Pryor and Lincoln asking for increased federal funding for such programs. Really radical stuff for a group of student leader types. Not quite burning down the ROTC building or protesting the appalling lack of diversity on campus that will get you headlines or anonymous charges before the Judicial Discipline Commission.
Student Council President Nate Looney, a frat boy from Jonesboro, vetoed the resolution after meeting with Mike Johnson, associate vice chancellor for facilities, and Nick Brown, the newly created executive assistant for sustainability. He said the tone of the resolution might make some grownups think they were trying to mandate the administration to do something about sustainability or recycling. Looney said that any money to pay for environmental programs would come from a tuition increase or a student fee, and he told the students that it was not a good idea to be writing legislators to ask for funding things like recycling.
Mattie Bookhout, the student council secretary who supported the veto, also told the students, ""Our university is $40 million under-funded already." How could that be when UA administrators are planning to raise tuition and spend $60 million to buy Fayetteville High School, something that is not even included in the long range master plan?