The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 56.0°F | Overcast

Discretion Necessary in Use of Bush Fund

After reading "The Undergraduate Association Presidency: A $4,000+ per year salaried position?" [The Thistle, Nov. 3], I was deeply disturbed. Hans C. Godfrey '93 and Stacy E. McGeever '93 and J. Paul Kirby '92 before him, are, technically, perfectly justified in using the "discretionary fund" as they wish, even for taxi rides and house bills. Indeed, as they point out, at other schools, heads of student government receive even greater benefits, including tuition waivers and the like. However, it hardly befits Godfrey, as the head of our student government, to arrogantly "test the administration" by spending this money on his house bill. Even more appalling is that McGeever and Kirby, after research, brought about an increase in this discretionary fund, only to use the money for a credit card bill and other frivolous expenses.

True, the money could be used to defray expenses, enabling the UA president to spend more time carrying out the duties of his office, rather than working for needed income. However, this has nothing to do with testing the administration. Our leaders should be honorable and noble. Thus, although spending the discretionary fund on a house bill is technically a legitimate action, it is not what we should expect from someone who holds such a high office. Instead, we must demand higher standards from our leaders, from student body presidents right up to heads of state. This would entail that the UA president uses the fund in a more philanthropic way, as it was used in the (distant) past, before it was researched and exploited. At the very least, we, the students, should have been informed that our President had $4,000 at his discretion.

Perhaps the UA should have, if they don't already, a set of written or unwritten standards for the president. One of these standards should be the way that the discretionary fund is used. Obviously, the way that the fund is set up, there is no way these standards could be enforced with respect to the fund, but at least we would know that there are certain expectations to which our president, and other leaders, must live up. It is imperative that our leaders follow a higher code of conduct.

Douglas S. J. De Couto '97