Our View: Block seating needs reform

Our View

Saturday, students will fill their part of Bryant-Denny Stadium and cheer on the Crimson Tide as it faces Kent State. Most students will find their seats as they get there, hoping to spot enough seats for them and their friends as close to the field as possible.

Some students will find their seats overlooking the south end zone, where they’ve been saved for them by the Student Government Association.

No document gives the SGA the power or lays out the process for something that is so vital to student life at the University of Alabama. When an organization composed of students has the authority to decide who gets to sit where in a stadium where every single student pays the same fee, there should be a reason for it.

The director of media relations for the University and the communications director of the SGA cannot point to a single public document that grants the SGA these powers. The Student Organization Seating Handbook, which is not readily available to students, was not even given to members of the committee.

Student Organization Seating, it seems, exists only as a tradition. It is passed down from student body to student body with little questioning of why and few consistencies in who allocates the seats and how.

From year to year, the process is so inconsistent that the people who allocate seats are not selected in the same way. This year, the SGA Executive Council chose half of the committee and its chairman, and the speaker of the senate chose half. Last year, the SGA Vice President of Student Affairs chose the entire committee. Every year, the SGA makes up a new way to fill those seats.

Most importantly, what happens to students when they sit there? Cathy Andreen, the University’s director of media relations, couldn’t say. Seth Morrow, the SGA’s communications director, said there were penalties… but couldn’t say what they were. If there is no open and transparent policy stating what Student Organization Seating is, what keeps other students from sitting there?

If Student Organization Seating is to persist as an institution at the University of Alabama, it needs to be more than just a vague tradition. It needs to be a policy; a transparent, official, enforceable policy.

 

Our View is the consensus of the Crimson White’s editorial board. Assistant Managing Editor Will Tucker and Opinions Editor Tray Smith did not participate in this editorial.