On September 25, a recruitment fair was hosted during the Atlanta Classic. Members of the Royal Court, Presidential Ambassadors and Student Government Association were supposed to be in attendance to recruit excited students to our university.
However, most of the SGA officials were not present.
Although SGA officials are not paid to attend recruitment trips, they are given a stipend to eat. This stipend is known as per diem.
It is university policy for the officials who aid in recruitment to receive per diem. Per Diem is determined on a fixed rate per meal.
Recruiters are given $6 for breakfast, $11 for lunch and $19 for dinner.
Students are charged $10.50 per credit hour to make up the Activity and Service fees. The money that is given to the student leaders comes from the A&S fees budget.
It has been the tradition of SGA to hand out per diem at the beginning of trips so that finding people is not difficult.
Once the money is given to the students, they are expected to use it to buy food but there is no one tracking the way they spend the money.
SGA officials have been known to spend this money on shopping instead of eating. When I was in SGA I used to do it!
The issue is not how the money is spent. There is a problem with SGA officials not showing up to recruit prospective students but they are still being given per diem. If SGA officials are not doing their job, they should not receive university funds to eat. They should be forced to use their personal finances to fund the trip.
Senate President Asia McFarland said, “It’s not right that they did not show. I think that they should have to pay the per diem back. They came for a purpose and they did not deliver on that purpose.”
What if the university missed the opportunity to reach the then presidential candidate, Barack Obama, because SGA officials did not think that it was important to show up to the recruitment fair?
The one positive aspect that SGA should be commended for was that the branch leaders were present. It was the staff that was not.
When asked if he had anything to say about several members of his staff not showing up to the recruitment fair, Gallop Franklin did not comment. If the Franklin-Hayes Administration is really “Leadership We Can Trust In,” then the staff should be reliable enough to represent the university in all circumstances, not when it is convenient.
Kristin Murray is a senior newspaper journalism and African-American studies student from Jacksonville. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.