The room went silent after Eric Reath announced his resignation as Student Government comptroller on Sept. 2, and for good reason.
Reath was phenomenal at his job. He has been consistently transparent with information, willing to explain the budget and served as a dedicated student advocate. Reath was a wonk in the purest form of the word. If someone had a question concerning the University or SG budget, Reath had the answers.
Reath left for personal reasons and The Eagle feels that this loss cannot be taken lightly. Reath was going to be the student representative on the AU Budget Committee. Most students do not fully understand the complexity of AU’s budget. The budget affects all aspects of the school: the students, the professors, the building initiatives and so on. Students overall fail to realize how the budget works and exactly where their tuition dollars go.
These details cannot be learned overnight. Reath fully understood the intricacies of the AU budget, and that institutional knowledge will be hard to replace.
At the current point in time, it is unclear who will take over the seat on the AU Budget Committee.
SG President Emily Yu plans to take a more proactive role in budget negotiations now that Reath is out of the game. This will give Yu a chance to fulfill her campaign promises, such as giving students beside incoming freshmen the opportunity to apply for merit-based financial aid. But with all of the other responsibilities Yu has as SG president, she may not be the most effective advocate for students. The AU budget can arguably be the most important issue SG handles, and an issue with such precedence should not come second on anyone’s to-do list.
If Joe Ste.Marie, the newly appointed comptroller, takes the seat he would also have a large void to fill. Ste.Marie and Yu will meet to decide whether or not Ste.Marie will work on the University budget with the Board of Trustees. Although The Eagle is confident Ste.Marie will be able to handle the new position, he does not have as strong of a financial background as Reath did. We fear that without Reath’s knowledge the student presence on the AU Budget Committee will not be as influential.
We trust the SG officials, but we hope they focus on educating Reath’s replacements in the weeks to come.
Our main concern is what’s going to happen now. A strong SG advocate has just been lost, and how SG handles this loss will demonstrate its capabilities to the student body. ≠ E