Staff Editorial

SGA needs to consult other organizations

The Student Government Association discussed the possibility of collaborating with USA Today to provide national news coverage for students on campus at Wednesday’s meeting.

What SGA didn’t do, however, was discuss any of these details with the students or staff at Student Publications.

SGA is fully funded by student service fees; primarily, so is student publications. The proposed program would cost $1.50 per student per semester, or $55,000 or more in fees per semester.

If the SGA plan on using student service fees for this project — especially at this caliber — they should consult the University’s main publication, The Daily Cougar, which students already pay for.

This is a problem that concerns us because it affects the University as a whole. We, the students, are constantly reminded to have more school spirit. Officials are also working hard so that our University obtains flagship status.

Well, the key factor in achieving this is unification. The student government should focus on keeping all student organizations, departments and publications notified of important agendas that could effect them. It’s safe to say that this is something that more than effects The Daily Cougar.

We’re not implying that having national news coverage on campus is a bad idea. If anything, we’re most likely the number one advocates for this generation of students reading more print newspapers. We’re saying that SGA endorsing a newspaper program without consulting its own school newspaper — or its students — is questionable.

If in fact students were in favor of having a newspaper with national coverage and it would prove to benefit the student body, a reasonable collaboration would be for the Daily Cougar to change its methods and focus to meet student needs and not those of the SGA.

The Daily Cougar is run by students for the students. We also serve as a place for students to gain experience and serve as a place for their voice to be heard. Our primary concern is student-based; good luck finding that in any other paper or publication.


  • I agree that our SGA should consult the student body on decisions more often. I especially think that new initiatives, especially those having the potential to cost $55,000 per semester, should be discussed at length. I would like to see the SGA poll the students for their feedback more often. Also, I would like to see more communication between the SGA and the student body in general. There has to be more dialogue and interaction between SGA and the students; asking for our vote for candidates once a year is not enough. I realize that SGA holds regular meetings, but they're usually in the evening when most students are either off campus, in class or not likely to attend because of the hour. We need a better accessible, more vocal, and active SGA. I believe our SGA is doing a good job, however there is always room for improvement. Lets be the best we can be.

    • Joe is correct.

      If there is going to be government in any form, engaging with those who are governed is key to the process.

      Also, if any government is attempting to be a command and control government rather than a democracy they will always (1) attempt to swamp or gain control of the local newspaper (2) conduct meetings that are purposely not well attended.

      People will not attend a three hour meeting without knowing what is to be discussed at approximately what time and when.

      But of course, command and control governments know that.

      A free and easy method to manage government anywhere in the U.S.A. is to require an agenda be circulated BEFORE the meeting. And then require that minutes of the meeting be transcribed and circulated AFTER the meeting.

      The meeting agenda and minutes can be available via the on-line version of The Daily Cougar.

      A good and simple model to follow would be the agenda and minutes from The City of Houston – City Council meetings.

      Transparency is the first step for improvement on the way to being the best you can be.

  • It is USA Today who needs to consult with and collaborate with The Daily Cougar unless of course they were prohibited from doing so by the UH Student Government Association.

    And it is the UH Student Government Association who should require USA Today to do so.

    If UH Student Government is attempting a fait accompli it will be interesting to see how the UH accreditation oversight committee and Tier #1 planning committee responds.

    Universities are all about collaboration and engagement for student groups across campus to reduce command and control governance.

    And it will be the University of Houston who enters into a binding contract with USA Today and other newspaper for distribution on campus. Not the UH Student Government Association.

    Will faculty members receive a free copy of these newspaper if they reference them in their course syllabus?

  • Editors, your heart is in the right place, but some of your facts are not. Last time I was at the Cougar, it was largely funded by advertising dollars, not student fees. Yes, student fee money does make the Cougar possible. But make no mistake: the Cougar brings money TO the university, way more than it gets FROM it.

    If SGA wants more national/international news available on campus, they should help the Cougar secure a wire service such as the AP, which will still cost in the thousands of dollars but considerably less than this proposal.

    But SGA should FIRST consult the student body and Student Publications of course! Come on, SGA! You're not thinking Tier 1!

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