Opinion: Four things I hope are mentioned in the State of the Student Body Address

_G0IMRaKStudent Government Association President Chuck Mahone will be giving the first State of Student Body Address Monday from 7 to 9 pm, in the Powers Ballroom. I think it’s a great idea.

Frankly, it is a little surprising an SGA president has never thought to do this before, but that’s beside the point. It’s an opportunity to have a discussion on issues affecting CMU students. However, I also think it would be easy to avoid talking about major issues and focusing too much on the positive.

My hope is Mahone will be honest and genuine when giving his address. For what it’s worth, this what I would like to see discussed at the address.

1. Student debt and how the university spends money 

While student debt is obviously an issue across the country, CMU students have some of the highest levels of debt in the state.  I hope Mahone mentions that, but also where this tuition money is going. CMU subsidizes the athletic department by more than $21 million. The medical schools still receives a huge subsidy as well. Are students getting their money’s worth? It is at least worth a discussion.

2. Sexual Assault

It’s been three semesters since SGA passed a resolution making expulsion the minimum sanction for sexual assault. It has almost been a year since CMU unveiled its new sexual assault policy. How is that policy working and is there any progress towards changing the sanctions for sexual assault?

3. Public Input

There was no student input for the closing of the on-campus pharmacy. CMU has not held a public forum about the potential WCMU-TV shutdown, unlike other universities. I would like to see Mahone discuss a plan on how students and the public can be more of an influence on the university decision makers.

4. Alcohol abuse 

With the many tragedies on campus having alcohol as a factor, as a student body we need to discuss drinking.

According to the National Institue on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, four in five students drink and half of those who do drink do so in excess. NIAAA considers binge drinking to be at least four drinks for women and five drinks for men in two hours. More than 1,800 college students a year die from alcohol-related injuries.

Knowing that most students are drinking, the discussion should be focused more on how to stay safe and prevent alcohol-related injuries and death. Not so much on trying to convince people to give up a behavior they likely have been partaking in for years.

Insider will be covering the address next Monday. Check out us that night for coverage and analysis.

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