ASMSU should be congratulated for allocating funds to bring poet Maya Angelou to campus.
ASMSUs Student Assembly approved a bill Thursday that would provide $33,000 from the organizations investment account to cover Angelous speaking fees. Two amendments were added to the original bill that required some of the money be returned to the investment account and ensured students would get first priority for tickets.
ASMSU is MSUs undergraduate student government.
The investment account is funded by a yearly surplus from the refundable $13 ASMSU tax each undergraduate student pays. It was set up because of the organizations lack of insurance.
The bill required the organization to waive rules in the ASMSU Code of Operations, a code that prohibits funds from the investment account from being allocated to events. Fund money can only be used to purchase equipment or to finance an unexpected budgetary shortfall.
Angelou has written numerous poems and a multi-volume autobiography. She spoke at former President Clintons inauguration in 1993 - she was the second poet in U.S. history to write and recite original poetry at an inauguration. She was named one of the 20th centurys top 100 writers by Writers Digest in 1999.
Angelous speech is slated to be part of this years Take Back the Night events April 18. Coretta Scott King, the wife of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., will also speak on campus that day.
It is good ASMSU decided to allocate funding to an event that will benefit students. Someone of Angelous caliber is worth bending a few rules for, especially because this is not the first time the rules have been bent.
The Student Assembly allocated $50,000 from the investment account to fund a concert by rap artist Lil Kim for homecoming in September.
If the assembly was willing to forgo the rules for Lil Kim, it should have had no problem funding someone like Angelou. Angelous speech stands to benefit students much more than a Lil Kim concert. If the assembly is going to bend the rules, it should do it for someone who will benefit students most.
The Womens Council should also be commended for its work in getting Angelou to come to the university. Angelous work influences a variety of people and her speech is something that will reach a broad range of students, not just women and blacks.
The Student Assembly should also be applauded for listening to the requests of students. Students gathered in front of Student Services on Thursday to encourage approval of the funding. It is also commendable that the effort was made to give students priority on tickets.
ASMSUs move to allocate funding to bring Angelou to campus is admirable. The organization should continue to support events on campus that benefit students, even if it requires breaking the rules once in awhile.