Allocations Committee, Folk are a joke

Tony Cox

By college standards, I’m sort of an old man. So when I tell you that I’ve seen some whoppers in my day, you can trust me. In my four years here, I’ve seen things I never thought I’d see, heard things I never thought I’d hear and even done things I never thought I’d do.

But no fraternity prank, no house-party antics and no beer-soaked nights at the bar could possibly top the entertainment that the Undergraduate Student Senate Allocations Committee has provided me since my enrollment.

As a former president of the College Republicans, I’ve been subjected to the ineptitude of several committee members more than once. Last year, the committee denied funding for Rudy Giuliani – Time magazine’s 2001 Man of the Year, hot off his keynote address at the Republican Convention – and opted to hand over $50,000 for Michael Moore’s “Slacker Tour,” a political barnstorming campaign that brought the portly filmmaker to campuses across the country. Never mind that this move could have cost the university thousands had the College Republicans decided to file suit. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, it’s illegal for student funds to be allocated to a political speaker without allocating a comparable amount to a speaker with the opposite viewpoint. Oops!

The committee’s most recent double standard came last week, when it denied a reasonable funding request from the Dive, a campus Christian organization, which hoped to bring a speaker who used her faith to battle anorexia. Committee chairman and USS Business and Finance Senator Kevin Folk, a politician in the most unfortunate sense of the word, responded by saying the funding was denied primarily because it violated the committee’s policy against funding religious activities.

Anyone who pays a bit of attention to campus programming knows that this excuse is a complete crock. Religious activities have frequently received funding in the past, so why the uproar now?

And why the inconsistency in funding decisions? Why is PRIDE!Kent entitled to nearly $40,000 so they can promote its agenda, and Black United Students is allocated almost double that amount for its programs – many of which have political undertones – but the Dive doesn’t get a penny?

The director of the Dive, Rick McKee, was flabbergasted by the committee’s decision, and rightfully so. He told the Stater that he is considering contacting a lawyer and I, for one, hope he does. Someone needs to send a wake-up call to the committee in hopes of ending this madness.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably mention that McKee’s wife, Shannon, is the adviser of my girlfriend’s sorority, and I have had the opportunity to interact with Rick and Shannon on a social basis. But my personal admiration for them and their work notwithstanding, the committee’s decision to deny funding for the Dive’s program is a travesty, the only thing more shameful being the chairman’s attempt to hide behind a policy that has been inconsistently applied for years.

No matter. Not even a lawsuit can stem the tide of poor decisions and self-importance that seem to flow like a river from the Allocations Committee year after year. No change appears to be on the horizon, so don’t expect improvement anytime soon.

Oh, well. At least I’ve managed to have a good laugh.

Tony Cox is a senior philosophy major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. He can be reached at [email protected].