By Eli Pales
Pales is a journalism senior and the former Vice President for Governmental Affairs for the Associated Students of Michigan State University.
Last week, a bill passed through ASMSU’s finance committee to approve $25,000 in funding to bring Terry Crews to campus. The sum, one of the largest potential ASMSU general assembly expenditures in recent memory, would be used to have Crews give a speech on campus for “It’s On Us” week.
For those unaware, “It’s On Us” week is a vital university event. Comprised of daily events, the goal is to raise awareness surrounding the issue of sexual assault and prevent its proliferation. The message is to encourage students to get off the sidelines; sexual assault is a pandemic problem that affects us all. We each have a duty to stand up to make change.
However, in planning these events, the goal isn’t to have a flashy speaker or to get someone famous on campus. The goal shouldn’t be to grab headlines. The ultimate goal of these activist weeks should be to affect actual change on our campus. As a result, we must ask the question: Is this colossal sum of money being used in a way that would most advance the goal of “It’s On Us” week?
For me, the easy answer is no. There are dozens of other ways to spend the money that would be far more productive and would have a much greater effect reducing campus sexual assault.
Here is just one example. Many on campus have expenses related to their sexual assaults that are no fault of their own. Getting the necessary health care treatment, for example, is expensive. Relocating to another location if your sexual assaulter lives close by is expensive. Being a survivor comes with an unfair financial burden, and many need help after their assaults. Why not set up a fund with the $25,000 to give out grants to survivors of sexual assault that need the money far more than Terry Crews does?
This idea isn’t wholly original. People have talked about a potential fund, originating from an idea by Rep. Max Donovan a few years ago. At that time, the fund was meant to be a self-sustaining endowment. There were issues setting up the fund, and unfortunately Rep. Donovan graduated before bringing it to fruition. Nevertheless, there is no reason to try again now in a different way.
$25,000 is a lot of money and can do a lot of good combating sexual assault and helping survivors. Giving the money to Terry Crews is probably one of the worst ways to spend these important student tax dollars.