Greek Life funding restored with passage of referendum

Gillian Seaman, News Editor

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With a vote of 540 to 400, the CWRU student body voted last week to restore Greek life student activity fee funding to its original levels and ended the months long debate. The passage of the referendum restores Greek life funding to 6.51%.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” said John Witowski, president of the Interfraternity Congress, “It’s significant for us because we can continue operating how we’ve been operating.”

However, according to SEC president Lillian Zamencnik, Greek life’s restored allocation will be slightly decreased. “All of the member boards will equally contribute a percentage to Thwing Study Over, therefore everyone’s allocation is decreased by 0.34%, even Greek Life’s,” she said.

A decrease of .34% is relatively insignificant to the financial losses Greek life was expected to experience for the Fall 2010 semester. Last year’s Student Executive Council board voted to cut Greek life funding by 19 percent upon the discovery of a roughly $80,000 rollover. Besides restoring funding to its original levels, the referendum also provides use for the controversial $80,000 rollover. Along with the referendum results, USG president Minh-Tri Nguyen released a statement indicating that IFC and Panhell will begin working with the rest of the Boards on the SEC to make the donation to the University Center from the IFC and PHC rollover as written in the referendum.

But the referendum regarding the Greek life funding issue did not function completely smoothly. The CollegiateLink voting system was beset by multiple errors throughout the day, resulting in the USG vice president of IT, Kelly Maloney, sending several e-mails to the student body regarding the situation.

“It is unfortunate that CollegiateLink was not running as planned, but the extended voting time was a suitable solution. I can see that some students might have been frustrated with the voting system and not returned to CollegiateLink to place their vote after it was fixed. However, I think the turnout was great,” said Zamecnik. She also noted the number of voters in this referendum is on par with the numbers for many other campus elections.

Witowski was also pleased with the turnout of the event, attributing it to the fact that “A lot of people got fired up for some reason or another.”

With the Greek life funding issue decided, Witowski along with other members of Greek life are planning on making several changes in order to avoid such a large rollover from occurring again. “We’re going to start putting the rollover back into our budget each semester,” he said. He also pointed to the introduction of the Greek life annual report as a further sign of increased fiscal responsibility.

In addition to increasing financial transparency within Greek life, Witowski believes there is still much work to be done, especially in regards to the campus opinion regarding SEC. “There seems to be a general anti-SEC attitude so there’s some room for improvement on our part,” he said.