By Mason Votes Staff Writer Ethan Vaughan
Student Government President Devraj Dasgupta, elected last April on a platform of “transparency, outreach, and action,” is beginning his term with a desire to affect practical change in the university.
Dasgupta acknowledged that skyrocketing tuition costs were likely the most important issue to Mason students.
The president, however, has discarded his predecessors’ practice of lobbying the school administration directly, saying it is ineffective.
“We have to be realistic,” he said. “We had one of the highest benefit cuts for any school in Virginia this year, eight percent. That being said, it comes down to having the right advocates in Richmond. We’re a young university, so we suffer because we don’t have the lobbyists and manpower. We need to advocate. Until that happens, tuition will increase. We can only do so much.”
Dasgupta encouraged students to get involved in youth political groups like Virginia 21, composed of Virginia college students, and to lobby the legislature itself.
He plans to play his role by being a representative on the Virginia Council for Higher Education’s Student Advisory Committee.
The Council meets once a month and has its first meeting in October. Dasgupta says he is “absolutely going to every meeting.”
“I plan to support our interests within that domain,” Dasgupta said. “I ‘m going to show everyone I can that GMU is the number one up-and-coming school, that we’re rising very fast. Richmond needs to understand that and they need to give us all of the support, all of the funding, and all of the respect. We’re transitioning from a commuter campus to a more traditional university. Tuition increase will always happen, that’s the story. Hopefully we can curb it, though.”
Dasgupta also planned to provide practical services, such as a Mason Events List Serve and policy information sheets from the College Democrats and College Republicans in advance of the November state elections.