Pay the IRA?

Controversy. Controversy. Controversy.To give the IRA money or not give the IRA money? Apparently that is the question.My first thought upon hearing the proposal to pay $1,500 each semester – $15 per resident – to the seven members of the IRA Executive Board was, “yeah right, we don’t even have enough money to pay all of our professors.”But then I realized something: like most students, I have not a clue what the IRA does. How can I rightfully judge whether or not they deserve a salary?Seeing as how the oversimplified rhetoric that IRA president Bob Just gave The Cynic last week, which read “I think the best way to understand the IRA is through our mission: to improve the quality of life on campus,” was somehow just barely vague enough for me to still not understand at all what the IRA does, I decided to hit the Internet.Turns out, Bob Just is a man of few words and the work of the IRA is not as empty as his description.They have put forth resolutions in support of the Amethyst Initiative, for the elimination of those useless landlines and for the addition of gender-blind housing.They offer a service where they publish advertising for any student event on campus.They offer “Use Your Voice,” which is a program that allows students to directly voice their opinions and concerns about campus living.And then there’s my personal favorite – the forum in which students can contribute their suggestions for channels to add on to our cable service.Well touché IRA, touché. Maybe I do have $15 for you to tell me when there will be free Indian food in the Fireplace Lounge or to hook me up with some HBO.But then again how is this money going to directly affect those services? Why haven’t you asked the residents, who you seem to so vehemently defend, what they think?The reason this bill is controversial and in question is because few really know where the money is going and why it is necessary. It’s a little ironic – and even suspect if you ask me – that the organization that “aims to strengthen the interconnectedness between the residents and the greater UVM community by serving as advocates for the student voice,” is not asking for the students voice when it comes to asking for their money.Honestly, I probably won’t ever support the bill considering that money hasn’t exactly been falling from trees lately, but the IRA should at least make the bill more public so that we can make an informed and just decision. Otherwise, all I can do is stick with my original intuition and say no, I don’t think any of us residents should support this bill.