The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Scholarship discrepencies in heat of debate Tuesday

Student Senate found itself in a heated debate on Tuesday when addressing controversies of the spring 2010 scholarship nominations.

The debate began at the podium with the concerns of Meadows Senator Jessica Huseman. She raised the question of whether it is legitimate to have students in Senate decide the monetary fate of other students.

The reason for this is that what qualifies students for the scholarship is more than just extracurricular activities and GPA, according to Huseman.

“I don’t think students have the financial scope to say ‘[They’re] more needy than you…I am solely in charge of my own financial planning in college and I barely understand it,” Huseman said.

She also mentioned a few other reasons why she believes students should not be held responsible for delegating scholarship money. One of these other reasons is that information presented by candidates in their scholarship applications is sensitive and personal, such as one’s GPA and financial standing. She also mentioned that, since SMU is a comparatively small school, applicants are likely to know (and possibly quite well) those in the scholarship committee, and thus making it difficult to remain unbiased. 

Huseman’s solution was to have a scholarship committee whose job is to nominate campus faculty to be the deciders of the scholarship money.

“I think it would result in less complaints about the process and I think that it would make things run a lot smoother,” she said.  

After Huseman, Diversity Chair Jasimne Carr spoke on the same topic, but had different complaints.

The bi-laws of the scholarship committee require that “recommendations must be voted on by the entire Senate before they are approved,” Carr said. Another flaw that Carr points out is that the Senate undermining the idea of transparency. “There is no transparency in this process,” she said.

She continued to mention other various elements of the assessment process that were debatably conducted incorrectly. One of these elements that caused confusion was the time span in which candidates were able to apply. Though all students were allotted a two-week period to fill out applications and obtain letters of recommendation, Scholarship Committee Chair Rachel Brown only e-mailed students notifying them of this opportunity one week before applications were due.

Carr expressed concern over a few more discrepancies, most of which Brown was able to explain.

Student Body Vice President Allison Reyes says this is an issue that comes up every year – there are always a few students who are involved with the process and find it unfair.

Membership Chair Roza Essaw asked Carr if the existence of these discrepancies means that Senate should revoke the already-awarded scholarships; Carr suggested that the committee investigate the situation, and if they find that the bi-laws to not have been disobeyed, then it is the “[committee’s] duty reject those awards” and reevaluate possible recipients.

The debate concluded with a note from one of the donors for the Student Senate Scholarship Endowment Fund – alumna Mrs. Deborah Michel.

“I believe in students making these decisions,” said Michel, who continued on to say that students are capable of the responsibility to conduct the scholarship process and that she sees no need for SMU faculty to get involved with the committee.

“I awarded the endowment because I want students giving to other students,” Michel said.
 

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