Letter to the Editor: 12.11.13

What’s the biggest joke on campus? Surely it’s the biggest joke on campus? Surely it’e way Murray State does parking. The rules that come with attempting to park a vehicle at Murray State are enough to make even the most polite among us cuss like a sailor, and for good reason – there are no attempts by anyone, anywhere, on campus, to clear up what’s myth and what’s not. This, combined with the arbitrary nature of parking enforcement, has turned a relatively simple task (parking a car) into a nightmare for not only students, but all of us (faculty and staff as well) who call Murray State our own.

I have been written a number of parking tickets while a student at Murray State. Not once has one of those tickets been written in a way that is consistent with what I have been told about how the University handles parking. I was given a ticket for parking in the “one hour parking” zone at the Curris Center last year; I was only in the Curris Center for a grand total of fifteen minutes. I was also given a ticket last year for “not properly displaying my permit.” The permit in question was behind an air freshener but was still clearly visible. And two weeks ago, I was issued a ticket for parking near Springer Residential College on the weekend, something that had never been a problem up to that point, as I have been doing it this whole semester.

I appealed the latter decision and was denied an appeal, with no explanation as to why. I, like most members of the Murray State community, was and still am under the impression that parking was permissible anywhere on the weekend. I have never been written a ticket for parking in that exact spot until two weeks ago, and now I owe Murray State $30. If I have broken the rules, I have no problem paying that fine. But what I have a problem with is not knowing what the rules actually are. Apparently one can take up two spots with a double-wide truck and not get a ticket, but parking out of zone on a weekend will get you a hefty fine.

At no point have I ever been informed by any official or representative of the Student Government Association that parking in a different zone on the weekend was against the rules. You’d think that this would be something that might be mentioned in freshman orientation, since if it isn’t true, it’s a very pervasive myth that needs to be combated. But I guess I’m giving the SGA too much credit.

If there’s a punchline to sick joke that is Murray State parking, it’s the so-called SGA. You know, the folks whom barely 10 percent of the student population votes for every year, and who do nothing to stand up for you and me? The folks who are controlled exclusively by the Greek organizations, who have no interest in helping out anyone other than the people they pay to be friends with in dues and in favors? Call me cynical, but I don’t think that I’d have been denied an appeal if I had been a member of a Greek organization. There are two sets of rules for people at Murray State, of course: those for the Greeks, and those for the rest of us.

The SGA does a pathetic job at standing up for us. In nearly every instance it parrots the position of the administration. When was the last time the SGA stood up to the administration? Oh, that’s right! When the administration decided it was going to axe funding for the Greek Life Coordinator position back in April. How terrible! Not one word out of the SGA on the crippling cuts being made to academics or the doubling of parking fees, which would affect all students, but a torrent of tears and hand-wringing over letting go a person whom most students will never know and have absolutely nothing to do with. The SGA should change its name to the “Greek Government Association,” because clearly it represents but a small slice of the Murray State community while ignoring all others.

Students, I implore you to take action. I would do it with you, but I won’t be with you next semester. I graduate next week and would like nothing more than to see real student government, real student empowerment at Murray State. I am not entirely convinced that it can be done by simply electing new members of the Student Government Association, as the pressures of conforming to the will of Murray State will always exist for those who hold those positions.

I am, however, convinced that it can be done in a more democratic and participatory way. Students can organize and can demand change be made. They can organize picket lines and protest marches. They can occupy the Quad, set up tents, and refuse to leave until something is done to make Murray State more democratic and accountable. You have the power to do all these things, but you have to want them first. If you are tired of government of, by and for the Greeks and only the Greeks, then you have to organize. You have to make a ruckus. You have to force change.

Letter by Devin Griggs, former Opinion Editor.

23 Comments on "Letter to the Editor: 12.11.13"

  1. Funny thing, the so-called SGA you reference is open to the public and it meets every Wednesday at 5 in the Curris Center on the Third Floor. Maybe you should swing by sometime. Oh wait, you waited till your last week of school to post something about the so-called SGA and will not be able to come next semester. Oh, and the Greeks you talk about also have a higher GPA than the non-Greeks on Murray's campus. Call me cynical.

  2. Totally agree with you on this one Michael Dobbs!

  3. Glenda Wright | December 12, 2013 at 3:15 am |

    If there was a love button for this article I would hit it! Honestly I feel the same way as I know others do as well. I love Murray but our parking system is screwed up.

  4. Ignorance at its finest. It's almost hard not to laugh at this article… Did you not ever feel that you, yourself, could run for SGA? This must just be one reason Greeks participate in SGA…"Here at Murray State University, the Greek GPA average is about .2 higher than the non-Greek average. Academic excellence is encouraged by all-Greek programming and individual chapter policies. Murray State University and the Greek governing councils set academic standards for fraternity and sorority members. In addition, Greek organizations compete for an academic award given to the fraternity and sorority with the highest GPA average." So did you not run because you felt you weren't a leader? Based off this statistic from the Murray state website it sounds like you should have easily gotten on SGA along with any other non-Greek. "Approximately 12% of the Murray State University student body belongs to a Greek sorority or fraternity." Only 12%, you know how many non-Greeks that is on our campus? Why then do you not control SGA, baffling to me! Is it possibly because most non-Greeks aren't willing to take these leadership positions or even care enough to vote? Also, you are criticizing a campus and Greek body that is always up for top chapter of the nation awards and has one of the highest acclaimed Greek life organizations in the country. Criticizing something you really know nothing about is so incredibly ignorant. I provided facts, if you had any facts in your article to prove anything it might actually be worth looking into. Sincerely the Greeks.

    P.S. All information was taken from http://www.murraystate.edu

  5. Dear Greeks, I've seen quite a few people post that students involved in Greek organizations tend to have a higher GPA. I'm really confused – what does your GPA have to do with parking issues at Murray State? Are you using it as a plea to be recognized as a higher functioning student, are you hoping to illustrate how being Greek is a 'good thing', or are you simply using it without context whatsoever because it seems to add fluff to your argument? If you mean to say that having a high GPA somehow means that you are, in fact, a higher functioning student I think that's problematic because you are, in turn, implying that students with a lower GPA are lower-functioning students which is ridiculous. A GPA is not a reflection of intelligence, more often than not a GPA is a reflection of immersion, motivation, and circumstance. I think the 'higher functioning' argument has traces of an unrealistic individualism that, frankly, has nothing do with the Opinion Editor making an argument against Greeks getting what he sees as privileges on campus. Furthermore, reading through the article I never saw the the Opinion Editor make an argument that Greeks are 'stupid' or somehow 'less educated' than average students which makes the GPA argument distracting, incorrect, and, by default, problematic. From what I understand, being a part of greek = more connections which = more of a chance of being elected to SGA so someone who is not exposed to a sisterhood or brotherhood or whateverhood is significantly less likely to have a sound enough backing to actually be elected to SGA WHICH causes people to become apathetic and simply either not run, not care, (or both) about what they see as a 'figurehead organization, more about social connections than about change on campus'. While I concede that his style of aggressive, under-researched communication is problematic, I feel obligated to point out that you seem to include a lot of 'facts' but those facts were unhelpful as you didn't answer -any- of his arguments. His arguments were that SGA is particularly unhelpful, we, as students, are undereducated on the matter of parking/ticketing procedures, ticketing procedures are inconsistent, Greeks are given special privileges on campus especially in relation to parking, (the most important issue brought up in this article to me) there is a severe problem with apathy on campus in relation to issues concerning our University.

  6. John Davenport | December 12, 2013 at 6:05 am |

    If you think you have a parking problem at Murray State, well welcome to the club. EVERY major university has serious issues with parking and how it is administered. Count yourself fortunate to not have to pay over $400 per semester like on some Midwestern campuses for the privilege of a chance to attempt to find a space and likely have your car broken into. And having worked on several campuses, virtually all SGAs are a joke. Administrations figured out how to control them years ago, if they hadn't, they would no longer exist.

  7. Matt Mauschbaugh | December 12, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

    As a non greek member of SGA for 3 years, I defy your opinion about non greeks not being able to be on SGA. It's because I have the drive and motivation, and a vested interest and investment in Murray State to take it upon myself to make a change and not call on other people or rely on someone else such as you did. I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see at Murray State, because ultimately when you want to change something, you must first look at yourself in the mirror to make sure you are that change you want to see.

    My second point, about your parking tickets, is completely inaccurate. When J Board looks at the appeals, they don't see names, they merely see numbers and the reason why for an appeal. Everyone is on an equal and level playing field.

    My third point, why did you wait till the last week of school to do something about this? It is known that SGA meets every Wednesday at 5PM at the Curris Center. Meetings are open to the public, as aforementioned. You could've gone there to voice your opinion, and if you did that and nothing was done, then you would have an argument about SGA not doing anything for its students, which leads me to my next point.

    The SGA exec board this year, is one of the best we have had at my tenure at Murray State. We have a great President in Jeremiah who truly has a vested interest in the student well beings. An example of this is when Randy Dunn proposed the new library and Jeremiah stood up for us and put his foot down and said no because it would raise student fees. Jeremiah always has an open office door and would be more than happy to here what you would have to say and take an interest in your opinion and work to make it better. With all this being said, however, they are not psychics and cannot read minds. If they don't know these issues exist, how can you expect them to do anything about it? It's our job as a student, to raise our concerns about an issue we have and bring it to the appropriate office, weather it be public safety with parking tickets or SGA supposedly doing nothing about students parking tickets. If you have a question about the budget cuts, why didn't you go talk to Jeremiah and get more information about it instead of getting behind a keyboard and bashing one of the best organizations on campus.

    My fifth point, SGA elections are OPEN to the whole campus. So as long as you have the necessary requirements, such as GPA, anyone can run. Have you ever taken advantage of this? The student body votes. Every student has the right to vote in elections at Murray State. Yes, not as many students vote as we like, but thats a problem everywhere, including but not limited to, the Presidential Election. If you don't vote and if you don't run, how can you possibly expect to see a change that you want?

    This whole article is quintessential of someone who expects others to do things for them and expects everything to be given to them. I hope going forward, you be the change that you want to see in an organization. That's what I did. Instead of talking about it and bashing about it and calling on other people TO BE YOUR CHANGE THAT YOU WANT, I, along with many others, stepped up and did something about it. During your tenure at Murray State, you had all the same opportunities. Be the change that you want to see.

  8. I would really like to see more from the Murray State News other than just weekly rants about SGA and Greek Life that have little to no merit. As a senator in Student Government Association, I pride myself on being very involved on campus, asking people I know their opinions on matters we discuss in meetings as well as asking them about any issues or concerns they may have. While the parking issue is irrelevant to SGA as it is not under our jurisdiction, there are many issues on campus that we have played a major role in. A couple of huge examples being the decision not to renew Dunn’s contract, the decision not to have a 24 hour library this semester, as well as the removal of budget recommendation 117 as afore mentioned by Mr. Coughlin. I do believe that if you were to ask any SGA senator, chair, or executive council member, they could explain our decision on such topics to you. If you have any questions about who represents you in SGA, feel free to visit our webpage murraystate.edu/sga, where, among other things, you can find all members of SGA, attendance taken at every meeting, and soon you will also be able to even read minutes taken during the meetings. We fully welcome and encourage anyone who has any issues, complaints, concerns, or even anyone who just wants to know what we do or what is happening on campus to come to our meetings in the Barkley Room on the third floor of the Curris Center every Wednesday at 5:00 PM. Oftentimes, in these meetings, we discuss things that the rest of the student body may not know, so please do not be so quick to berate our decisions as an organization, as they are made after a great deal of discussion. Our president Jeremiah Johnson does an exceptional job of presenting SGA with all of the facts and numbers so that we can make the best possible decision for the student body that I believe we represent very well. Although I am a member of a Greek organization on campus, I don't believe that to hinder my abilities on SGA, and though it is a huge part of who I am as a person, I do not believe that to be my sole identifying quality. Although I am a member of both SGA and a Greek organization, I do believe that I still represent the opinions of many students, because even though I have made the decision to be in a sorority, I am at the core a student at Murray State University. The reason I believe many members of Greek organizations tend to get positions in Student Government, like Ms. Bloodworth mentioned before me, is that members of Greek organizations typically exhibit strong leadership skills and enjoy being involved on campus. It also allows us the opportunity to get to know a large percentage of the campus, meaning more votes as people are more likely to vote for a name they recognize than one they do not, although someone who they do not recognize may very well be more qualified for the position or have a strong desire to get involved with the organization. That being said, I don’t mean that non-Greek students cannot obtain a position on SGA(it has been and continues to be done by many excellent people), but the fact remains that in order to be a Senator in SGA, you cannot simply fill out a piece of paper and wish it so. You actually have to get out there, campaign, and get to know people. Also, I have never and would never even so much as dream of giving a sorority sister or member of another Greek organization a position that he or she does not rightfully deserve or letting them off easy because I have the power to do so. Being a member of a Greek organization means holding yourself to a higher moral standard. If you would like to learn more about Murray State's fine Greek System and what it truly is about, I suggest you watch one of the many Live Your Values videos posted daily on Facebook, Twitter, and directly on Youtube. These videos will provide you with a TRUE idea of what Greek Life is about, rather than the horrible misconception painted in the minds of many of you who have not had the opportunity to experience it firsthand.

  9. Kayla Hartley | December 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm |

    Love this love you. Amen sister. This never should have been put up on the murray news. It isn't news and plain rude no matter how you see it.

  10. I find it difficult to believe something like this could be portrayed as "news" when all "facts" are simply false implications, all of which could have been cleared up by asking questions rather than pointing fingers. I'm still wondering what parking has to do with SGA, much less what role members of SGA's involvement with Greek Organizations has to do with this guy getting a parking ticket.

  11. Logan Wayne Dowdy | December 12, 2013 at 9:03 pm |

    What an interesting article. I usually don’t post my opinions, but what the hec here I go…..Let’s talk about parking for a little bit. In my 4.5 years on Murray State campus I have heard nothing but terrible things about parking. Riddle me this. Why is it that I have never received a ticket or had trouble finding a parking spot?…that’s right you just read that question correct. Well I’m going to give you the answer to that question. I GET TO CAMPUS EARLY!!! Looky there I didn't have to complete my education before I figured out that brain teaser. Let me give you all another worldly tip. You don’t have to park next to the building you are going to. I know that is a real surprise, but it’s true. Not once did my truck fly away and leave me because I didn't park next to the building. Now, if your excuse is that it’s cold or it’s raining; SUCK IT UP YOU BIG BABY! Go tell the guy picking up your trash you threw out of your window on the grounds crew that it is cold and raining…Whew!..Think that I successfully cleared that up. Let us proceed to the SGA comment. I am not involved with the Greek organizations nor do I really care who is a member of what organization and what so called “privileges” they get. We are all equals at the university and we are all here with the same goal of receiving a quality education. Let us not segregate to two groups within the University. Within this particular situation it is being used as a blame the other game. Just because you can’t properly park a motor vehicle and read a sign does not mean that the SGA and Greek organizations are bad. With that logic I’ll blame them for that F I got in trigonometry my sophomore year. That makes about as much sense as the point of this article. As I digress let us value what we do have at the University and learn how to park a vehicle. THE END

  12. Obviously the person who wrote that article has no idea what SGA stands for or of what it is in charge. Knowledge is power therefore instead of just spouting off about these issues he should find out real information about all three topics then make informed opinions. True he has a right to his opinion but it's clear he has no idea what he's talking about.

  13. Taylor Miller | December 12, 2013 at 9:11 pm |

    Well said, brother!

  14. Hey guys, I am not agreeing with the comments made in this letter but I would like to point out one thing. This is a letter to the editor. It is not an article. It is not considered news because it is apart of the opinion section. As a former Murray State News worker I suggest you write a letter back.

  15. Bahahaha, I love this!!!!!!

  16. Lowell James Stevens | December 13, 2013 at 6:09 am |

    Wow, the Greek butthurt is palpable. You guys are essentially a mafia. Everyone doesn't belong to your useless, preppy drinking clubs are essentially voiceless. The reason that very few people are ever elected outside of your organizations is because your organizations stick together whether or not the candidate is yet another brain-dead maladroit being propped up by the strong arm of your alcoholic brothers and sisters. The SGA is useless and does nothing to further the interests of the students. In fifteen years you're going to have your "Greek" ring you studiously polish and nothing else. You're eternally children, playing a silly little game with your rituals and your and secret oaths and your initiation ceremonies and your cute little t-shirts. You're elitist pricks that mindlessly conform, you fall into lockstep and compete in absurd popularity contests for the sake of that alone. You look the same, talk the same, act the same, dress the same, like the same things. You're chocolate bunnies too terrified of non-conformity to bother questioning why you do anything. You're so obsessed with your pins and Southern Tide and Croakies and formals and the other thousand inanities you occupy yourselves with you don't have any perspective. Fraternities and sororities are the biggest joke on campus, and the funniest part of it is how seriously you take your playing at secret societies game. Cool, I'm glad you have rich parents that can pay for you to jack off in college and go to parties six nights a week and pretend your club means something, but don't act superior. You're not.

  17. Lynn Castro, THANK YOU for removing the words from my mouth.

  18. Zac Garrison | December 13, 2013 at 7:35 am |

    This kid.

  19. Vincent Neal Miller | December 13, 2013 at 10:57 am |

    I would like to see some kind of empirical verification of this supposed "Greek higher GPA" as mentioned in the comments, but even if that were the case it's hardly relevant to the problems as illustrated above.

    All that having been said, I'm not so sure that the SGA would have a lot of power in that regard. Your frustration, though understandable, is probably in excess and seemingly aimed at the wrong people. I don't know much about *what* SGA does, mind (the minutes from their meetings are curiously absent from the section of the website, so I can't exactly find out for sure), but this hardly seems like something they could really effect in some kind of meaningful way.

  20. Vincent Neal Miller | December 13, 2013 at 11:09 am |

    The first majority makes a pseudo-point not necessarily in contention with the point made in the article, while the last sentence longer than three words is wholly irrelevant to any of it. He is trying to say that the SGA panders to the Greek associations more than the rest of the student body.

  21. Vincent Neal Miller | December 13, 2013 at 11:12 am |

    Andrea Graham …It's an opinion piece.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_to_the_editor

  22. I dont agree with the attack against the greek community but I agree that the parking situations need to be handled differently. I have personally as well as many other people have received tickets for parking "violations" that I did not know existed such as needing a loading pass to unload class supplies in a loading zone or getting a ticket for using flashers while packing dorm items. I believe it would be beneficial to address the parking rules in transition classes that the freshman must attend or post signs in areas such as loading zones stating that a pass is needed.

  23. Excuse me for replying & not knowing you personally but you are so far off. You can't generalize a group of people like that.. especially when you aren't a part of it and clearly have no idea of what really goes on in greek life. What have you personally done to benefit campus? Because greeks do numerous things every year to help Murray States Campus as well as the surrounding communities. Are some parts of greek life materialistic, sure. So is America. Get over it. If you were part of greek life you would understand that it's not about conformity or blindly following, it's about using the greek system and a support system of your brothers and sisters to help yourself progress more as an individual and as a young man or woman. A good third of the greeks don't even drink or party, leaving them more time to study which results in the greek population of students having an overall higher GPA than the non-greek students on campus. Haha, I believe you said "brain-dead". As for all of us just having our "rings" in the future and nothing else, most of us will have the jobs we went to school for, worked hard for, and perhaps maybe even an greek alum connected us to that job!
    Am I a stereotypical sorority girl? Hell no. I enjoy reggae music, and rock concerts and smoking cigarettes. Inappropriate comedy at times and the occasional poop jokes. Being always outgoing and kind to any type of person regardless of their background, or apparently preconceived notions about things I care about. In my sorority you will not just find a stereotype. We don't recruit stereotypes we recruit awesome individuals who think for themselves. That's why I can't let this post go without saying something. My parents do not pay for my school, they do not pay for sorority. Not every greek has things handed to them. That's a judgement that is just so far off. It's the work ethic that most people in the greek system have to go to school, go to work, be involved in extra-curricular things all while maintaining a willingness to give back and help others. It's close-minded people like you who are so hypocritical. You act as if greeks are brain-dead and spiritless with no passions and no drive. However, greeks are the ones making a difference, actually doing something. There is nothing wrong with being yourself, among a group of people who are also themselves and who will support you in your home away from home. This isn't animal house, or house bunny or any movie about Greeks that do not do them justice. The Murray State Greek system truly cares about Murray and all the students, greek or not. But if you want to stay on your high horse, and truly be the one who is "acting superior", by all means, ignore this.

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