Carolinian – Opinions
Issue: 2/24/03

“Stonewall” Diggs?
By John Rouse

In Stone Mountain Georgia, as the name indicates, there is a mountain with a face of pure white rock. Carved upon that rock are the images of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson: champions of the Southern Confederacy. However you feel about these men, it is undeniable that they fought to maintain a system that allowed people to be treated like property. SGA President Lacey Diggs is from Stone Mountain, and she seems to have taken a few political lessons from the rock.

After ordering SGA delegates to attend a political rally against their will just two weeks ago, Diggs’ pursuit of power has once again reared its ugly head. This time she has ordered SGA delegates to call every student in the University directory so that you may be informed of an “Online Professor Survey,” something similar to the course evaluations that we do at the end of every semester.

Each delegate was given a list of about 540 names to call. Using the conservative estimate of one minute per call, Diggs is expecting approximately 9 hours of free labor from each delegate. These delegates already work on behalf of students throughout the week and graciously give the majority of their Tuesday nights to student government meetings, which can sometimes last from 7:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m.

Diggs would do well to look toward an actual democratic system for tips on good leadership. Traditionally executives have had to seek the permission of their legislature before the can undertake programs. Diggs did not seek the approval of the student assembly before she ordered this phone-a-thon. Again she has turned supposedly independent delegates into a pack of poodles. And in this case, she has absolutely no constitutional authority to do so.

And again I must question Diggs’ motivation in undertaking this project. Was it for the greater good of the student body or to enhance her own notability? We already have rather comprehensive course evaluations in which you can rate the quality of your professors. The exercise is a waste of time and decent electricity.

This isn’t the first time that Lacey Diggs has made an unconstitutional grab for power. In her tenure as SGA treasurer she bent the “financial guidelines” which gave her the power to freeze budgets she considered inconsistent with guidelines until a special committee of delegates could make the final decision on whether or not budgets were inconsistent. Instead of going to the committee she declared the budgets of several organizations in violation and arbitrarily stripped them of part or all of the money. Again, delegates and proper democratic form were ignored.

Diggs’s administration this year has been far from stellar. While the doling out of money to student organizations has been carried out, not much else has been done. New resolutions have been sparse and promised reform of SGA’s governing rules, especially its Byzantine financial guidelines, has not yet been forthcoming. Diggs’ largest mistake of last semester was allowing the working relationships among some of her officers to fizzle. One highly valuable chairwoman resigned and others were on the verge, but to Diggs’ credit she smoothed out the ruffled feathers and appointed decent replacements.

Lacey Diggs is not without her strengths. She is highly ambitious, an extremely hard worker, a dutiful officer, and she has courage. But all of that will go to waste if she allows the will of students to be gutted by her razor sharp ambition, ignoring any semblance of democracy for personal and political gain.