Greek groups question funding

Many student organizations experienced Student Association budget cuts this year, and some leaders of Greek-letter governing groups said they are disappointed with their funding.

The Interfraternity Council, which oversees 13 fraternities and about 500 members, received $12,300 this year, an 18 percent reduction from last year’s allocation. The Panhellenic Association, which oversees nine sororities and about 800 members got a 30 percent cut in funding compared to IFC’s 18 percent cut. President of the Panhellenic Association April Black, a senior, said she was “disheartened” with the allocation.

Senator and chair of the SA Finance Committee Andrew Salzman (GSEHD) helps compile budget requests from more than 200 student organizations and allocates SA money to them. He said that two organizations with similar purposes do not necessarily receive equal funding.

“It doesn’t really make a difference what the group is,” Salzman said. “(The allocation amount) is based on the submission given to us.”

IFC President John Och said he agreed with Salzman, but said that he sympathized with Black and his organization is willing to aid the Panhellenic Association when necessary.

“We are completely there for them in a budgetary manner,” Och said.

Salzman added that the SA is also there to assist the group in the future.

“I know that Panhel does a lot of things for its chapters,” Salzman said. “We are looking at a lot of co-sponsorships for them.”

The co-sponsorship fund is money set aside by the SA to allocate to student organizations for subsidizing the cost of events.

The co-sponsorship fund, however, is also smaller than it was last year with $138,000 available this year compared to $220,000 last year, Salzman said.

“No group is content with the amount of money we gave them,” Salzman said. “If they start running out of money, we will help them.”

In early October, the SA allocated $475,000 to student organizations, an $180,000 decrease in funding from last year. SA officials said that last year was atypical with a large amount of money available, and this year reflects a more typical year.

Other Greek-letter organizations are also disappointed in their level of funding.

While the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Panhellenic Council both have less students and organizations to oversee, leaders from both groups said cuts in funding will negatively effect programming this year.

“This year’s allocation was actually quite disappointing compared to the amount budgeted and requested,” said junior Taeho Kim, MGC president, who was content with last year’s allocation of about $2,000.

The organization received a 33 percent cut in funding to $1,345, compared to the $2,000 the organization received last year, Kim said.

MGC, which is composed of six culturally based Greek-letter groups, has a small membership of 30 people. Kim said that he understands why his organization did not receive as much money as IFC and Panhel.

Most of the money MGC receives from the SA goes to the funding of their semi-annual MGC Week, which is the council’s largest event.

“There was a shortage for this fall’s MGC Week and we had to make many cutbacks,” Kim said.

In 2005, the traditionally black Greek-letter organizations at GW split from MGC. The NPHC now oversees those organizations and consists of four chapters and 23 members, according to senior Whitney West, president of the group.

It received $1,200 this year, according to Salzman.

“We feel as though our council only differs in numbers from other Greek councils, which does not warrantsuch a difference in council funding,” West said.

West said the NPHC provides a significant number of services to GW and D.C., which warrant more funds from the SA. These services include financial workshops, voter registration events, minority retention events and a step show which helps fund the construction of the MLK Memorial on the National Mall.

“Our organizations will have to look into numerous sources of funding to have our events because we refuse to compromise the integrity of our programming due to lack of funding from the SA,” she said.

Salzman said the SA encourages organizations to do private fundraising to help supplement the costs of events.

-Brandon Butler contributed to this report.

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