A Misguided Gift

by The Dartmouth Editorial Board | 10/29/98 6:00am

At its meeting on Tuesday night, the Student Assembly voted to return $5,000 of its $30,000 yearly allocation to the Undergraduate Finance Committee in a resolution urging the College to increase funding for student organizations.

The Assembly's commendable but misguided move highlights several disturbing aspects of the current system for funding student groups.

While the Assembly portrayed its gesture as a symbolic and altruistic donation, its ability to return one-sixth of its yearly budget is somewhat disquieting. If the Assembly is unable to put its money directly to good use, it should not request such an exorbitant budget from the UFC.

The Assembly's large and obviously expendable budget contrasts markedly with the situations of most student groups on campus. Many student organizations can barely pull together the funding to publish one issue or sponsor one large cultural event each year.

Both students and the administration continuously criticize the College's lack of social options. But without the money to finance programming events, existing student organizations are unable to ameliorate the current social situation.

Perhaps the UFC should redirect some of the Assembly's funding to the Committee on Student Organizations, which can then shuttle these funds to where they are most needed.

In addition, although the Assembly's attempt to redress the funding situation is a symbolic step in the right direction, the move could have been more effectively implemented.

Assembly members who voted for the resolution acknowledged that there may be no immediate results and that the College may not improve its funding of organizations.

Without more specification, there is no guarantee that the money will benefit the student organizations that need funding.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of its contribution, the Assembly should have either given the money directly to student groups or earmarked it more clearly.

As the UFC considers next year's fund allocations, members should recognize and rectify such obvious inegalities in distribution.

The College should immediately allocate more money to student organizations, and the UFC should redirect the Assembly's excess funding to COSO, which will hopefully put it to better use.