A rather close rapport

The UVM Cycling club narrowly avoided a sanction for having an empty beer bottle in an SGA-insured van during a recent trip. The possession of alcohol violated SGA policy and potentially the UVM Code of Ethics a verdict from the Center for Student Ethics and Standards (CSES) is pending.

While the club denies that they were drinking, and asserts that the bottle shares no connection with their organization, the real issue at play here is the enforcement of SGA policy. Connor Daley, el presidente, admonished some senators during the executive session for voting against officially sanctioning the club, and thereby sidestepping official policy. SGA policy was violated the minute a beer bottle was found in the van, whether or not the Cycling club imbibed its contents, he argued.

I have to respectfully disagree with our student body president in this case. The senators who argued against sanctions without full evidence may have violated a strict reading of SGA law, but they appealed to the greater ideal of innocent until proven guilty.

As the policy makers for our universitys clubs, SGA carries the responsibility of assuring that those policies are fair, and that they are fairly applied. In this case, they found the policy applied unfairly to the Cycling club.

After all, one empty beer bottle does not prove anything. All it suggests is a need for an investigation. Based on available evidence, there is no way to know whether another group left the incriminating bottle. Many groups use the vans, and many college students drink.

To sanction the club immediately upon finding the bottle would have been reactionary in the extreme, and having CSES return a verdict of innocence would have left egg on the face of our governing body.

I applaud the restraint of our senators and would caution our president against overzealous adherence to policy, especially when based upon less-than-concrete evidence of wrongdoing.

But President Daley did veto a $4,600 request for the clubs trip to nationals. He says it was an unrelated move, but I would be willing to bet it still tastes like victory.