Student groups advocate for finances on Funding Day

Originally published in The Globe February 12, 2014

The United Student Government (USG) allocated $43,182.36 to 31 clubs on Monday at its bi-annual “Funding Day” in the Lawrence Hall lobby.

Some clubs saw their funding challenged or changed from last year.

The Honors Student Organization (HSO) received its funding by a single vote after being criticized for its lack of inclusiveness.

USG member Lauren Johnson, who opposed HSO’s funding, saidHSO’s events do not benefit the school as a whole.

“The majority of their events just benefit [its] club,” Johnson said. “I just don’t think that’s fair. Funding is cut from other clubs for the same thing.”

Five members voted in favor of allocating HSO $6,300, three members opposed and 10 abstained.

The abstentions were largely from USG members who were also a part of HSO and were not allowed to participate in the vote.

“There’s a lot of USG and HSO overlap,” said President Pro-tempore Gabriel Dubin in the Lawrence Hall lobby Feb. 10. “It’s a conflict of interest, so they had to abstain.”

The Theater Club’s budget request was reduced after it was accused of using its funding money to purchase alcohol for a Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA) prom last spring.

The Theater Club’s funding request for $3,000 was reduced to $1,000 due to the allegations, in spite of a document containing receipts, emails and the venue layout provided as evidence against the claim.

“The issue was proving USG money did not service alcohol,” Dubin said.

To prevent future alcohol use, Dean of Students and Student Affairs Keith Paylo stressed the need for a security officer at the event. Due to the reduction in the Theater Club’s funding, it was decided that an officer would be provided at no expense for the prom.

Another issue that raised questions for the Theater Club’s funding was the accessibility of the event to the entire student body. The Theater Club told USG that anyone could attend COPA prom, despite miscommunication of that message last year.

“I was under the impression that I couldn’t go [to last year’s COPA prom] because I’m not in COPA,” Johnson said in the Lawrence Hall lobby Feb. 10. “With the stipulation that anyone can go to it, I don’t understand why we would give them so little funding.”

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