Letters to the Editors

SAIS Europe’s SGA responds to the earlier letter to the editor regarding the ‘tea kettle issue.’

In response to the Letter to the Editor published in Volume 16 Issue 5:

Dear Editors,

Before we go into the details of the letter published by the Observer on the 11th of March 2014, the SGA would like to say thank you. We take this letter as a compliment. If access to an electric kettle requires a letter to be sent to the Observer, it must mean that things are good at SAIS Europe.  As always, for other issues, the SGA offers its weekly office hours.

Although it would be intriguing to discuss “who is actually in control of SAIS Europe”, it is not likely to be Giulio at the bar, nor the SGA, so perhaps we can leave that debate for another time.

In the matter of the kettle, as we know, a cup of tea at Giulio’s has a price of one euro. This includes the cup, hot water, tea bag, spoon, and optional extra ingredients such as honey, lemon, sugar and milk.  More hot water or simply asking to fill your own cup is free. The SGA’s idea was simply to provide hot water for the students when the bar is closed.

It is also good to remember that the bar is a privately run business and operates in Italy, which has a market economy and the prices are set according to the demand/supply equilibrium. As a customer, if you don’t like the price you can choose another product or another place. Considering that many non-SAISers frequently come to Giulio’s, it would seem that pricing is more or less fair. If one would like to eat one’s own food or beverages, this can be done in the recently inaugurated student lounge, which in fact is larger than the cafeteria and is only for students.

With regards to Halloween, Giulio did give the Halloween committee the contact to the venue where the party was hosted. By the time the other alternative was found, (which was not substantially less expensive) the first one had already been confirmed via email by the Halloween committee, of which the author herself was a member. Indeed, no money was paid or contract signed, but there was a commitment in writing. Only at this time was the SGA elected, and it was decided that it was in the overall interest of the SGA and SAIS to honor this earlier commitment. In addition, the cost of the venue was 1000€ less compared to last year, partly thanks to Giulio.

The SGA is a student body elected to represent the students in all issues and serves as a channel to express their concerns. Yes, there are issues that can be improved at SAIS, and we are in constant dialogue with the faculty and staff to ensure that this is done. Discussion and ideas of improving the University are welcomed, as this is in everyone’s interest. Evaluating guest lectures, increasing employment opportunities, improving the SAIS brand, or fundraising might be good topics? Other issues, however, such as this one, could easily be resolved by a conversation with the SGA using the numerous channels available at SAIS Europe. Considering the limited time we have between different sources of information, anyone picking up the Observer expects that the few minutes spared for it will be worthwhile.

The kettle issue, however, was not.