Burt questions medical funding

Student Association President David Burt said he signed the finance bill that budgets money to all registered student groups Monday, despite his objections to disproportionate allocations to the Medical Center Student Council.

Unfortunately, I have to represent every group, Burt said. Overall, the bill was decent. It would be irresponsible to hold up everyone else’s money.

Burt said the MCSC should have received much less money than the $22,500 it obtained. The MCSC received more funding than any other student group.

This is ridiculous. The (MCSC’s allocation) is irresponsible, said Burt, who voiced his disapproval following the Senate’s adoption of this year’s spending bill. Burt threatened to veto the bill because of what he called excessive Med spending.

Since 1993, Burt said, the MCSC’s budget has grown an average of 27 percent a year. During the same period, SA budget allocation records for these years show other groups’ allocations declining.

The International Students Society, which received $3,975 in 1993, received $750 this year – about an 80 percent decrease. The Progressive Student Union received a fraction of their 1993 budget.

Mary Ann T. McYat, School of Public Health and Health Services senator, said that MCSC’s funding increases are justified because the organization funds other groups and supports a large number of students.

Its not like the money is only going to the (Medical) Center, McYat said. The MCSC is an umbrella organization. Thirty-five student groups are benefiting (from this money).

McYat said the group’s $22,500 allocation will benefit students of the Graduate School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the new School of Public Health and Health Services, which was opened last year. These schools serve 1,421 undergraduate and graduate students, according to the 1999 GW Factbook. McYat said that this substantial number of students warrants significant funding increases.

The Student Bar Association, which serves the GW Law School, with a student population of 1,649, received $16,250 – a difference of $6,250 from the MCSC allocation.

Burt said the SBA deserves more funds than the medical group, but did not receive those funds because the MCSC is over-represented on the SA Senate’s Finance Committee.

The Finance Committee has a disproportionate number of (medical) school members, Burt told the SA Senate prior to its vote on the spending bill last week.

Two senators represent the medical school and one represents the law school on the seven-member finance committee, Burt said.

Scott Gastel (CSAS-G), a Finance Committee member, said the MCSC is not over-represented.

I don’t think any one school is over-represented. With only seven seats, not every school can be represented, either, Gastel said.

Senators representing the GW Law School could not be reached for comment.

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