The Chronicle’s View: $2,500 junket is a waste of students’ money

Recently, the Associated Students of the University of Utah sent three of its outgoing leaders on a $2,500 junket to Boston. The reasons given by the administration for the trip ranged from the need to use nonrefundable airline tickets to platitudes of, “We’re still in office.”

The irony of the trip cannot go unnoticed by even the most casual of observers-the “purpose” of the trip was to see how ASUU could make student groups more accountable with money received from student fees.

It seems that one way that ASUU might keep students more accountable with the money it receives is to be accountable itself. The simple fact that some tickets were purchased by accident does not warrant such an egregious waste of student money.

Furthermore, perhaps the time has come to explain why it was necessary for ASUU President Adrian Johnson to take a trip to College Station, Texas, on the students’ dime the same week the Utah football team played a game there. How did such a trip benefit the students of the U?

The time has come for ASUU to step down from its ivory tower of student government. The time has come for those who work in ASUU to realize that the positions they hold are positions of service, not privilege.

The level of campus involvement at the U is as high as it has ever been in recent memory. More students are going to football games, participating in campus activities and, yes, voting in student elections.

With added activity comes added interest. Future leaders of ASUU would be wise to learn from the current administration’s mistakes.

ASUU is not a club on campus where students can sign up to go on free trips and eat pizza. ASUU is a means for students to help student groups on campus create a community of diverse opportunities of campus involvement. ASUU should not be a student group-it should support student groups.

So before next year’s student body leaders sign up for a trip to Tucson, Ariz., the weekend the football team plays the Wildcats, they might want to think long and hard about whether such a trip really does serve the best interests of the student body.

It is no secret that many on the U campus are commuters. It is also no secret that many students on this campus work part-time, if not full-time, jobs. Many people on this campus are married and worry about issues such as child care, medical insurance and mortgages. Many students live from one paycheck to the next.

And many students do not need to have their money wasted on pet projects and Spring Break vacations. If ASUU would like to bring accountability to student government, it starts at the top and trickles down.