The Justice Political Party was started by members of Justice and other students who were concerned with the direction in which the SGA was moving.
Who is the Justice Party?
The Justice party consists of several candidates who believe that wide-reaching reform is necessary for the Student Government Association. The Justice Party believes that certain members of the current administration allow personal views and politics to affect the decisions that should otherwise be rendered impartially. The members of the Justice party planned to represent a major voting block within the SGA to affect positive reform and change, while still supporting provisions that benefit the entire WPI community and its constituent organizations. The Justice Party stands for greater transparency within the SGA, and a more democratic process for student government on campus.
What does the Justice Party Represent?
The Justice Party plans on implementing several reforms in the 2006 term for the SGA. The Justice party intends to represent the many under-represented clubs and organizations on the WPI campus that are often over-looked, and even discriminated against, when seeking funding and support. Specifically, the Justice Party has the following three points as part of its campaign:
- Budget Reform: The Justice Party believes that the extensive SGA budgeting process is a major difficulty for most organizations. Through strict enforcement of the budgeting process, SGA members are able to specify what kind of events can or can�t be held on campus. The Justice Party believes that some senators allow personal opinions to affect their judgment, and restrict or deny funds for events based on political reasoning. The Justice Party plans to reform the budgeting process to empower clubs and organizations, by giving them the flexibility they need to spend club funds in order to benefit the entire campus.
- Increased transparency: The Justice party plans to set into motion a constitutional amendment that REQUIRES all documents and information regarding the SGA and its dealings to not only remain public and open to the WPI community, but also be made available in a convient format. This includes up to date information on the constitution, regulations, and minutes on the SGA website, as well as a public file of all funding requests, individual voting records, etc. This will hold the SGA, as well as individual senators, accountable for their actions in the future, allowing students to get information about their student government, and make responsible voting choices.
- Increased democracy: Members of the Justice party helped create an amendment to the SGA constitution to allow non-senators to speak during open debate. Previously, non-senators were not allowed to speak unless called on by senators, even if the issue being discussed directly affected them. This new amendment allowed non-members to address concerns and ideological attacks against their interests, and, as one member might say, "guarantees that the public voice is heard during debate." The Justice party states that it plans to continue in this spirit, by proposing amendments to the format of debate and discussion.
What else does the Justice Party support?
The Justice party consists of several members, each with their own individual concerns and issues. Besides much-needed reform of SGA procedure, here are some policies that members of the Justice Party plan to implement:
- Increased club recognition: Many clubs that have been operating on campus for years have still not gained official recognition. Justice supports these organizations, and will fight to see that they are recognized officially on campus.
- Roll-over budgeting: Justice will introduce a budgeting provision that allows clubs to keep their budget account balance from year to year, encouraging clubs to spend money responsibly rather than scrambling to spend at the end of the year. This will also allow clubs with insufficient budgets to build up their accounts and use it at their discretion until they can be granted the funding they need.
- Dining Hall Hours: Justice will continue to push for increased dining hall hours, especially during holidays, a fight which is already being fought by non-Justice Party members in SGA.
- Increased funding for Music and the Arts: Members of the Justice Party feel that extra-curricular music and arts programs are under-represented on campus. These programs represent a vital source of diversity and enrichment on campus, to balance out the engineering-oriented focus of the school. The party supports expansion and increased financial support of these programs.
Why does the Justice Party think SGA is important?
The SGA�s actions directly affect every student on campus. Every year, each student pays a social fee to promote events on campus. The Justice Party alleges that the SGA uses this fund for extraneous events such as Pep Rallies, an unnecessary recreation center, and even for SGA ski retreats.
They say that the SGA has denied or cut funding for many clubs and organizations to hold events that benefit the entire campus, such as movie nights, social awareness seminars, and many others. They have made it practically impossible for new organizations on campus to get the funding they desperately need. The Justice Party's message to students is that if they feel that the SGA is hurting WPI, or themselves, than they should voice their opinion by voting for members of the Justice Party to take control of the SGA.
In 2005, the Justice Party put forward the following candidates and endorsements:
President: The Justice party endorses candidate Sunny Manivannan. Sunny is not a member of the Justice party.
Vice-President: Jeff DiMaria (Write-in)
Secretary: Jeff DiMaria (Write-in)
Treasurer: Munaf Aamir (Write-in). The Justice party endorses candidate Munaf Aamir. Munaf Aamir is not officially a member of the justice party - he's running independently. For more information visit www.wpi.edu/~munaf.
Alex Dismore (Write-in)
The 2006 Senatorial Election was considered to be one of the most competitive in recent years, partly due to the major campaign the Justice Party ran. However, only two of the more moderate Justice Party candidates (Adam Nakama and Robert Hafner) managed to win seats on the SGA senate.