USG supports canceling fall Lawnparties concert
USG president Connor Diemand-Yauman ’10 introduced the referendum at Sunday’s USG Senate meeting. If a majority of students vote in favor of the referendum, it would reallocate the entire USG fall social budget of $60,000 as well as any remaining funds from the spring semester to Annual Giving, Diemand-Yauman said.
“This referendum is a chance to demonstrate that we as a student body are deeply concerned with the economic situation and that we are ready to do our part,” Diemand-Yauman explained in an e-mail he sent to the student body Sunday night. “We hope that this donation will stand as one of the most significant actions taken by Princeton students in recent history.”
Diemand-Yauman noted that the USG chose to allocate these funds to Annual Giving because it contributes to the University’s financial aid program.
“Because many of our fellow undergraduates have needed additional help in order to continue their studies at Princeton during this recession, the University has increased its financial aid budget substantially,” he explained. “The University is relying on Annual Giving contributions to help ensure that it can meet the need of every Princeton undergraduate even in these most trying of economic times.”
The University, which has increased its financial aid budget by 13 percent to $104 million for the next fiscal year, has pledged to meet the financial needs of all students, regardless of whether it meets its fundraising goals.
After more than an hour of deliberation in an executive session closed to the public, the Senate voted unanimously to place the referendum on the ballot in next week’s USG elections. They also voted unanimously to support the measure.
Referenda can be placed on the ballot either by a one-third vote of the Senate or the petition of 200 undergraduates.
Only the concert sponsored by the USG and the Alcohol Initiative would be affected by the referendum, and it would not prevent the eating clubs from sponsoring their own festivities on Sept. 20.
Diemand-Yauman explained that the USG chose to take the funds from this event because the “USG concert is entirely unique from our other events in that it is the costliest and shortest event that we sponsor, costing approximately $60,000 for 90 minutes.”
He stressed that the final decision would depend entirely on the student vote.
“In no way does the USG want to use the money without the consent of the student body,” he explained.
To listen to student opinions about the referendum, the USG will hold a forum on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in McCosh 10.
“In this time of hardship, the student body has an unprecedented opportunity to show our commitment to the University community,” Diemand-Yauman said, adding that he hopes students will support the measure.
As of March 27, the Annual Giving fundraising campaign had amassed $20.5 million, Assistant Vice President of Development for Annual Giving William Hardt ’63 said, adding that the University may not reach its goal of raising $56 million by June 30.
The 100th spring Lawnparties will be held on May 3. Last month, the Senate voted to increase the spring social budget to $70,000, or slightly more than 40 percent of the total budget, so the Social Committee could plan a special celebration for Lawnparties. The USG budget is funded through student fees paid by undergraduates each year.
The USG has yet to announce who will headline the spring event.