The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday May 28th

Student Government Is Accessible - If You Utilize It

It is early morning. The door yawns open, quickly swallowing a pair of shadows before slamming shut. Two figures emerge inside, then disappear into a dark hallway. The first is a short but built figure; he is intense and cautious - definitely the leader of the two. The second is lanky and more awkward. Tall, thin and aloof, he would be lucky to take three steps without walking into a trash can.

As they slink down the hall, the second figure turns to the first.

"Narf! So, Michael, what are we going to do tonight?"

"Fred," he replies, "tonight we're going to do what we do every night.

"Try to take over the world!"

OK, OK. We don't kid ourselves. We know all too well that our jobs in Suite C aren't on the same level as Pinky and the Brain's plans for world domination. However, as representatives of student government, we seem to be regarded with the same sort of bemused apprehension previously reserved only for our animated heroes.

We are regularly informed that we are plotting politicos, slaving away in a dank cave for the benefit of, well, we're not sure exactly who we're tools of - we just call our puppet master "Number One." (Just imagine some evil, omniscient Dr. Claw-like figure. Wowsers!)

And although we've yet to catch Pruitt-like flack for anything, being subjected to constant suspicion, and occasional criticism, has registered with us, and (after checking the latest poll numbers) we feel we should be appropriately offended.

As rookies in the abyss known as Suite C, we don't have first-hand knowledge of the exact causes of this perception. When recruited, we knew that the general opinion of student government wasn't exactly glowing.

We realized that this perception could only be changed through hard work and serious thought.

So we gave up.

We now spend our time day trading, drinking Whipper Snapples and faxing our fat resumes to lobbying firms worldwide. Currently, we are weighing offers from the National Rifle Association, Newt Gingrich and the Milosevic Forever campaign. But we're not making a move until we hear back from Pat Buchanan.

It is truly a sad day when two public relations officers realize that they can't convince others that the group they represent deserves at least as much respect as the tobacco industry. But such is the nature of devil worship, or student self-governance as we like to call it.

Alright, we know what you're thinking. Why the sarcasm, right? What injustice has been committed that gives us the right to whine?

So glad you asked.

Earlier this year, the Office of the Student Body Secretary sent a letter to the leaders of 30 of the largest organizations on campus. In it, we informed them that a new mailbox had been built in Suite C for use by their organization. And, knowing that a box alone would be inadequate, we offered to attend a meeting of each organization in order to find out what (if anything) student government could do for it.

All we asked was that someone let us know where and when to show up.

Well, it's been a few minutes since that letter went out - 45,240 minutes to be exact - and the response has been pretty underwhelming. Only a handful of organizations have requested mailboxes, and no one has called to invite us to a meeting - not even Buchanan!

Nevertheless, being the slick politicos we are, we started attending meetings sans invitation and inviting folks to our own Cabinet meetings.

Although this approach was helpful, we began to wonder why so few had taken advantage of student government's latest attempts at accessibility and accountability. Pollsters advised that we start asking the leaders why they haven't requested a mailbox.

The responses left us dumbfounded. One campus leader told us, "Well, when I got that letter, I thought that the mailboxes were a veiled attempt at getting people to come into Suite C."

Now, we always thought that getting more people into Suite C was a good thing. We thought that most people wanted student government to be more accessible. So we resolved that our altruism was too "veiled."

Since our risky approach to public relations - honesty - seemed about as popular as the Honor Court, we decided to do some more polling. But with the Dow dipping, we had to be more conservative with our slush fund (SAFO) expenditures. So we decided to perform a cheap experiment, replacing integrity with a little cash money. We put a dollar bill in each of our 156 new mailboxes, figuring that if someone came to check a box she would pocket her dollar - and probably several others.

Twenty-four hours later, we recovered $154.

We were mildly excited, until we found out that the Student Body Treasurer had "borrowed" two bucks to buy a Whipper Snapple.

We can survive being snubbed by Buchanan, but when you can't give money away, you've got to hang up your Palm Pilot.

But even though we'd be more than happy to continue to blow your money covering our losses on the market and buying fruit drinks, we'll make one final attempt to dupe you. The question is simple. To paraphrase the wise DMX, "What y'all really want from a (bunch of politicos charged with representing you)?!"

Student government belongs to you. You fund everything that we do, and you are the only reason that Suite C even exists. You are already paying for an organization that is supposed to do your bidding, so if there is something you want done on this campus - use it! We would much rather serve you than our current overlord. Number One hasn't picked a good stock in months.

Student Body Secretary Michael Woods is a sophomore history and journalism major from Chicago, Ill. Assistant Student Body Secretary Fred Hashagen is a sophomore philosophy and journalism major from Long Island, N.Y. If you would like to discuss plans for world domination over a refreshing Whipper Snapple, e-mail them at sbsunc@hotmail.com.


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