SA senators say Univ. should fully fund EMeRG

Some Student Association senators are complaining that their organization is picking up the tab for EMeRG. and are urging the University to fully fund the program.
When the SA dished out funds to on-campus student groups earlier this month, the Senate threatened to cut the budget of EMeRG., which is mostly financed by the University. After some debate, $5,800 was allocated to the group, but some senators are still upset about what they said was the lack of GW funds for the organization.
“It is my opinion, and the opinion of the Finance Committee, that it is not the responsibility of the Student Association to fund EMeRG.,” said John Van Name (CCAS-U), a member of the Senate Finance Committee who co-authored a bill to cut the medical group’s funding. “Although they do have student volunteers, they are ultimately organized and dispatched by the University Police Department.”
Van Name said EMeRG. is an important organization at GW, but added that its University oversight means it does not need SA funding.
But Peter Feldman (At Large-U), a member of the Student Life Committee, called the Senate’s allocation to EMeRG. justified.
“Ideally, the University would fund EMeRG. fully, but in reality the Student Association has a responsibility to pick up the slack,” Feldman said.
He added that he was proud to defend EMeRG.’s funding and said it is an invaluable resource to the campus.
As an on-campus organization, Feldman said EMeRG. is just as eligible for funding as any other student group. University Police Chief Dolores Stafford said the medical response program also feel they are entitled to SA money.
“The EMeRG. program is very passionate about the fact that they are in fact a student organization,” said Stafford, who added that 95 percent of the group’s budget comes from the University.
But Van Name said EMeRG. only receives 91 percent of its funds – $70,000 – from the University.
“It’s true that the Student Association has funded them every year that they have been in existence,” Van Name said. “But they are a lot more formal of an organization than they were when they first started up, and are no longer a mainly student-run organization.”
EMeRG. was founded in 1996 as a 24-hour, volunteer emergency medical response service. All students who participate in the program must be qualified Emergency Medical Technicians and complete a University-sponsored course.
Stafford said that since its inception, EMeRG. has benefited from a gradual rise in University funding, and said the SA should be able to provide additional financial support. Phone messages placed earlier this week with EMeRG. members were not returned.
“When EMeRG. started, the University didn’t fund anything,” Stafford said. “And as EMeRG. has grown, that’s when the University started putting into the program, so that they could continue to get the equipment they needed on the scene.”
-Nathan Brill contributed to this report.

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