Staff editorial: Rollover bill a great step forward, but concerns remain

By Mac Weekly Staff

We here at The Mac Weekly were pleased to hear about the passage of the “Rollover Bill” at Tuesday’s MCSG meeting. One of the biggest problems with the saga of the rollover last semester—which was, in general, a positive democratic exercise for the school—was a lack of structure and organization: a good part of the open forums and discussions that took place were spent planning future forums and processes rather than working on the issue at hand. Hopefully, this bill’s set order of procedures and clear deadlines will create a smooth process, ultimately leading to students spending the money on the proposal they collectively support the most. We are also big fans of the idea of videotaped presentations by the advocates for the various proposals, which will be sent to the student body before the vote, scheduled to begin on November 17th. This was one of the better ideas put forward in open forums last year, and we’re glad to see it officially adopted. It provides a direct interface between the student body and the most passionate and informed proponents of the various proposals for the rollover, and it is considerably more flexible than a campus-wide open forum or presentation. Before we get too excited, however, we must emphasize that there are still major issues to be addressed. The most prominent of these is the vagueness of the actual amount of rollover funds available and how that number was arrived at, which has been an acknowledged issue since the beginning. To have the general accepted estimate for the amount of available money decrease from $75,000 to $50,000 makes it difficult for students to put together workable and well-researched proposals for how that money should be spent. This inconsistency will hopefully have been addressed at Thursday’s open forum, which is after our press time. If it wasn’t, the lack of transparency could portend significant problems with the rollover process moving forward. In addition, with the great power to remove an idea from consideration comes the great responsibility not to make personal judgments in doing so. In the language of the bill, “the FAC, SSRC, and any executive board member may chose to eliminate a proposal from the rest of the process,” if the ideas are determined to be “infeasible, illegal, or unfair.” The executives of MCSG must take great care to be impartial and fair in these decisions and not let personal bias intrude on the process, and the legislative body, and students at large, should pay close attention to make sure they are. These are key issues to keep in mind, but more than anything else, student engagement is key to the success of the rollover process. The Mac Weekly encourages anyone who is interested in how their money is spent to come to Sunday’s open forum and let their voice be heard.