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Ethnic groups appeal for funding, increased recognition from USG

Controversy continues to surround the Projects Board, as the senate haggled over grants to student groups last night. Shortly after restoring $6,000 to the Projects Board budget, the senate debated this week's grants to student groups.

By the end of the meeting, the senate begrudgingly approved $13,637 of funding for student group events and passed a revised spring '98 budget that raised the USG allocation to the Projects Board budget to $26,000.


Sixteen ethnic student groups organized this week to protest the lack of USG support for their causes. In a letter to the USG senate, the ethnic and minority groups – boasting a membership of 1,850 students – called for increased recognition of the work and education they provide. Janelle Wright '00, chair of the Third World Center, served as spokesperson for the groups.


"(We) demand a reevaluation and assessment of the budget for the 1998 spring semester, the role of the USG with our respective student organizations, the role of the USG to the student body, and the open and free access of all information to the USG's constituents – the students," Wright said, reading from the letter. Chairs of the 16 ethnic groups met five times in the past three days to establish their platform for last night's USG meeting, said USG student groups advocate Chi Soo Kim '99.

Despite individual USG members' pledges of support for minority groups, event expenditures were closely scrutinized. The Projects Board is assigned to review the proposals of student groups and examine the budgets of those groups.

Kim said group event budgets have been thoroughly itemized before being presented to the USG for funding, adding that she thought the reanalysis of the individual grants was excessive.

"All groups have been asked what they've raised and what they've tried to raise," Kim said, referring to non-USG funding resources that student groups are encouraged to solicit.

USG campus and community affairs chair Brad Saft '00 said the Projects Board's new policy encouraging student groups to make proposals early in the semester will preclude groups from pursuing non-USG funding.


USG academics chair Todd Rich '00 asked the senate if this week's Projects Board grants could be separated into "emergency legislation" and groups that could continue to fundraise.

Many of the student groups would go into debt if the vote on individual grants were to be tabled or defeated, said Bianca Toness '99, co-chair of the Projects Board.

"This shows a shocking lack of understanding about how Projects Board works," said PriCom member Justin Mulaire '98.

"The fact that you are contemplating leaving these groups twisting in the wind, possibly going into debt, is particularly disturbing," he said.

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To increase funding for ethnic student groups through the Projects Board, the USG augmented Projects Board funding by decreasing publicity spending from $10,000 to $6,500 and reporting an anticipated $2,000 increase in revenues from the yet-to-occur Spring concert.

The USG exceeded its $10,000 allotment for publicity last semester by spending at least $17,707, according to former USG treasurer Deborah Yu '98.