TSG and program board should remain separate

Dear Editor,

In reading your recent editorial [“TSG Rewritten,” March 4, 2008], I was pleased to find an article highlighting just one of the recent changes at Temple that will enhance our university’s standing as a leader among institutions of higher education. The thrust of the article – that Temple Student Government should have a more active presence – is well-meaning. However, the negative reaction to efforts that the organization is making toward that very purpose is misguided. The penultimate paragraph, which may have been merely an afterthought, was especially problematic.

As president of Main Campus Program Board, I can’t speak to the efficacy of, or impetus behind, TSG’s hard work. I can, on the other hand, argue that MCPB should by no means be absorbed into that organization.

Historically, the two organizations were one, which not only created an unwieldy hierarchical structure but fostered an inwardly-focused, autocratic atmosphere. Happily, far-sighted student leaders and administrators recognized the need for the separation of social activities and state; thus were created two separate bodies, one for governance and one for event planning. Now, MCPB and TSG have individual budgets and act independently, collaborating on special projects – like the upcoming “Just Cause” community service campaign – when the opportunity arises, but primarily attending to their separate duties.

With this balance in place, it is assured that conflicts of interest – involving budget, authority, the student voice, etc. – will be avoided. In this way, both organizations have the freedom and ability to make an immense impact on student life at Temple. The need for autonomy on both sides cannot be overstated.

That Temple Student Government could be described as “the most powerful, but just one sphere of influence” on student involvement is entirely appropriate. With that said, student organizations like Main Campus Program Board and the Temple University Greek Association must exist in order to provide those other powerful influential spheres. It is preposterous to suggest that TSG should become a single, all-encompassing, all-powerful entity. As the article states, TSG is not the “end-all of student involvement,” nor should it be.

Brendan Bailes
President, Main Campus Program Board