Post Classifieds

USG debates fairness of funding university organizations

By Katherine Tibedo
On November 29, 2012

An alternative spring break organized by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will not receive funding from Undergraduate Student Government due to questions of the fairness of funding a closed event planned by a university department, not a student organization.
USG Vice President Jigish Patel said, "Equality is the question here, not the merit of the trip." He later added, "We need to make sure we are not making this fair for 10 percent of the student body at the expense of 90 percent."
OFSL submitted the funding request for $3,100 outside of the normal process via an act put forth by USG President Stephen Petkis and Comptroller Edward Courchaine. Petkis, a 7th-semester political science and human rights major, explained that since 2009, the USG executive committee has funded 50 percent of the participation costs of alternative breaks planned through Community Outreach. He said since OFSL had worked closely with Community Outreach, their alternative spring break fell into a similar category.
"This is a CO trip, that is being managed by a different department," he said. "I do believe the [2009] agreement was made with this in mind."
Debate, however, centered on the process OFSL used to ask for money. While all sorority and fraternities are Tier II organizations and thus can apply for funding through the Funding Board, there is no process established for university departments to apply for USG funding.
External Affairs Chair Michael Daniels, a 5th-semester political science and economics major, said that the group had the wrong way of applying for funding.
He said that the new funding policies set in place would allow those involved in the OFSL spring break to apply for funding next semester when the rest of the student body had access to the same funding process.
Concern also arose over the potential for USG to develop a reputation as a bank to be used by both the students and university departments.
"Because of this legislation we have become a bank," Patel, a 7th-semester history, political science and chemistry major, said. "Is this where we want to go, to hurt our reputation," he said.
CLAS Senator Ian Schofield, a 7th-semester political science major, disagreed. He said that the fact OSFL was the first department to seek funding this way, was not grounds to deny them that funding.
He said, "It's not Greek life's fault that they're pioneering this."
Still, the fairness of funding on university department was discussed. Senator Ozzie Gooding stated that no other department knew that this was a way to receive funding and funding OSFL was unfair to the rest of campus.
Northwest Senator Kevin Alvarez, a 1st-semester political science major, said in relation to the debate over fairness, "It's not fair. It's not representing the student body, which is what we're elected to do."
Ultimately the act failed 17-5, with five abstentions.

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