Saturday, February 26, 2005

Happy Black History Month, everyone

The University of Alabama's Student Government Association, like many college SGAs, has little more than advisory power when it comes to getting things done. The disadvantage of that distinction is that it can't do much of anything on its own, but the advantage is that it can beg UA administrators to do pretty much anything without having to worry about scrounging up the money to do it.

And that, of course, is why SGA senators at the Capstone had no real reason Thursday to reject a measure calling on the university to hang banners to recognize cultural heritage months throughout the school year. The majority's excuse that the resolution had no funding provision looks good on the surface, but it collapses when you consider that, like other schools' SGAs, most of the group's "initiatives" consist of little more than making puppy-dog eyes at administrators and asking "Pleeeease?" really hard.

To recap, what we have before us is a group of SGA senators, most of whom are members of all-white fraternities and sororities, telling minorities to go fly a kite at Alabama's flagship institution of higher education, where a demagoguing governor created an international incident when two black students tried to enroll for classes a little more than 40 years ago.

And you wonder how stereotypes get started.


Blogger SJ said...

The SGA is where whitey gets his first taste of power, isn't it? Of course, banners are hung all over the place for (white) Greek events, football games and the like. Thanks for posting this.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Susan of LocalTint said...

That makes me wonder how active Troy King was in the Capstone SGA (I'm familiar with this shameful scribblings in the Crimson and White and his musings from law school). WWTD in this situation? I think we know.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous the Free Voice said...

A correction:
The phrase "at Alabama's flagship institute of higher education" should read "at one of Alabama's two flagship institutions of higher education."

Just ask Bush's recent nominee to be FDA Commissioner.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could take the easy way out and joke about how much of a cow college the other school is. But I'll take the high road and point out that our blogger's phrasing of "Alabama's flagship institute of higher education" is correct, because we certainly do not live in the state of Auburn.

I'm guessing that the banners in question would have been the white banners which also include a Pepsi or Coke logo, which many SGA candidates as well as other organizations seem to obtain with little trouble and fairly little cost (since it also doubles as an advertisement for the cola brand). I may be wrong, but I think those banners may run like $20-$30 apiece, maybe $50 at the most (though I doubt they cost that much). If that is the case, I don't see why the SGA would not approve that measure but would spend $1,500 to rent 10 PDAs to conduct a poll when a pen and paper would do the trick. Get someone with minimal Excel experience to make a spreadsheet and put the results in. An SGA senator could have made that spreadsheet for free, or they could have paid a student to do it for them.

"The survey asks students whether they would want a fall break and, if so, when." That's two questions; it's not hard to make a spreadsheet for that. I would have done it for $500.

It seems all to obvious to say that race relations at Alabama still have a ways to go.


3:39 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Susan, I don't think Troy King was very involved in the SGA at UA, since his undergraduate degree is from Troy University. I think he was one of the leaders of the Law Republicans, though. My favorite line from his lunatic Crimson White rants: "[M]any homosexuals would mislead society into believing that three men, an armadillo, and a houseplant create a functional family."And yes, J.B.G. is right that the University of Alabama is the state's flagship institution because it bears the state's name.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous the Free Voice said...

My apologies, I based my correction on reputation (both program and alumni), research. I made the mistake of thinking a name is only what you make of it.

One of my friend's made a very good point to me just now: By the same logic, Alabama State University is also a flagship institution. This logic eliminates ivey league schools like Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth from being flagship institutions of higher education, as well.

As for being a cow college, Auburn would proudly wear that label, but the College of Agriculture only makes up about 3-5% of the total enrollment, though it is one of the more outstanding agricultural ccolleges in many areas (someinternationally).

As another point: It's not a good idea to bite the hands that feed you.

Sorry to be touchy, but Auburn gets put down too much when it contributes so much more than most people realize.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Free Voice, don't take it personally. I've always accepted that "state's flagship institution" refers only to the public university whose name is synonymous with that of the state (e.g., University of Alabama, Indiana University). The Ivy League schools, with the exception of Penn, are all private and don't fit the "University of X" or "X University" mold, so while they're great schools, they aren't technically their states' flagship schools.

No one's denigrating Auburn here; just like UA, it does good things for the state. If you'll read back through the archives, you'll find that even though I'm an Alabama fan, I argued loud and long about why Auburn's football team deserved a piece of the national title this year. You can save the defense of Auburn for a time and place where it's needed.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous the Free Voice said...

I think it's just a clear case of differing points of view. I've grown up seeing Auburn being treated like it was flatly inferior to other large universities (not just UA). But the more time I have spent around AU, the more I see how flatly untrue it is.

I do thank you for your support of the Tigers. Believe it or not, there is a good amount of support for the Tide when they are playing against Auburn if for no other reason than to add more meaning to the bragging rights.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous the Free Voice said...

My apologies for missing a typo, that last was of course supposed to read "not playing against AU". Sorry for the comment clutter.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Nick Beadle said...

No offense or anything dude, but the post was about an action about the UA SGA, not a rant saying Auburn is inferior to the Capstone in every single possible way.

Yeah, there is the flagship university thing, but honestly, the Auburn insecurity about whether someone is putting the school down is a tad excessive.

10:48 PM  
Blogger John Hubbard said...

The resolution, authored by College of Engineering Sen. Guillermo Puente, advocated that banners be hung during National Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month (Sept.15-Oct. 15), National American Indian Heritage Month (November), National African-American Month (February), National Women's Month (March) and National Asian-Pacific Month (May).

What about Middle Eastern students? Do they not deserve a banner? I don't see anything about Indian culture either.

7:38 AM  

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