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The Daily Illini

Letter to the Editor | Why you should be concerned with our student government

By Tara Chattoraj

Amid the backlash against Illinois Student Government for taking a stance against the Chief, I think the student body missed the larger story: Most of the time, ISG isn’t doing anything important enough to get people up in arms.

While they deserve credit for campaigning for open textbooks or undocumented students, just as often ISG fails to prioritize issues that significantly affect the student body and instead spends thousands of dollars on itself. Did you know that the reason ISG delayed so long in its post-protest statement was primarily over worries about liability and image – even though it would’ve been beneficial to all parties to at least clarify the facts?

Or that last meeting, instead of opposing H.R.1, which threatens to tax the 9,500+ waivers of our graduate students and employer-provided educational assistance that many current undergraduates will rely on for graduate school, the Senate prioritized debating whether to have Papa John’s or Domino’s pizza for an event primarily for ISG members and allocating over $2,000 to send ISG members to yet another conference (where we’ll needlessly have one of the biggest delegations)? Or that last spring, ISG allocated $2,200 to advertise itself on Quad Day?

It’s likely you said no, because for whatever reason, it’s easier to be outraged over ISG taking a controversial stance based on the requests of students, staff and alumni than to acknowledge that such a move was one of the far too few times ISG has made waves on behalf of the students it represents.

It is the purpose of ISG to advocate for students, and maybe you think they messed up, but don’t miss the larger picture: You chose them to represent you (yes, not voting is a choice), not their own interests. Make sure they actually do that.

Tara is a senator in ISG and a senior in LAS.

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