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          Editorial: Timing, attitude for SEC decision questionable

          Issue date: 4/9/10 Section: Opinion
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          At the April 1 SEC meeting, the decision was made to decrease Greek life's allocation of student activities fee monies by 19 percent, beginning this fall. The vote means that Greek life will receive $7257 less for each of fall and spring semester; that amount of money will now be channeled toward Thwing Study Over. The issue has been hotly debated by the Greek life office and students, but as of now, we don't feel like this specific change will constructively address problems that do exist. Instead, it appears that SEC, over the past semester in particular, has effectively driven campus organizations apart rather than act for the benefit of the student body.

          The most recent SEC meeting revealed that Greek life had a budget rollover of over $80,000 - a tremendous amount considering Greek life received just under $40,000 last semester of student money - and this revelation appears to be a large reason for why the reallocation was successful. Yet at the same time, during the fairly rapid period in which the issue of Greek life funding has been openly contested in SEC, rationale for cutting Greek life funds varied from week to week: recently, as 'punishment' for the massive rollover and failure to produce adequate and transparent budgets, and previously because some Greek events were not necessarily open to the student body as a whole.

          It's true that Greek life has had budget transparency issues and that there are valid arguments on both sides in regard to how specific Greek events should be most effectively funded. At the same time, we question the effectiveness of how SEC has chosen to address the issue. Part of SEC's stated mission is to review budgets and determine how to best utilize SAF money for the enhancement of the student experience at CWRU, but it is also to promote cooperation among the organizations represented on SEC. Unfortunately, this year it seems that the most drastic actions SEC has taken (specifically, this Greek life reallocation and their earlier decision to eliminate Media Board stipends) have put groups at odds with each other more often than anything else. While SEC should operate with a critical eye, the effective attitude has been more vindictive than constructive.

          Indeed, the 19 percent decrease in next year's Greek life allocation seems arbitrary and unlikely to help anyone on campus, Greek or not, provide a better experience for students. On one hand, SEC could have decided to keep the status quo and approach budgetary problems from a different perspective. On the other hand, the underlying question seems to really be whether Greek life should receive SAF monies at all, which would certainly involve a student referendum - yet SEC decided to wait until very late in the year to begin discussing this issue in earnest. Instead, what we now have is a stopgap solution that was rushed, may not fix underlying budget transparency issues, and seems more personal than productive.
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            Michael Lyrenmann

            posted 4/09/10 @ 12:17 AM EST

            In true April Fool's day fashion, the SEC held a vote last Thursday night on the contentious SAF-Greek Funding Issue. However, this was not a cruel joke, and the measure passed by a vote of 6-4 (barely the 3/5ths required for such a measure). (Continued…)

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