USS approves PRIDE!’s request for funding

Bryan Wroten

Group appeals for money for HIV/AIDS awareness programs

Undergraduate Student Senate unanimously approved PRIDE!Kent’s appeal to bring its HIV/AIDS program proposal back to the Allocations Committee.

Last semester, the Allocations Committee denied funding to PRIDE!Kent and its co-sponsors for the HIV/AIDS Awareness Week and memorial. The committee cited problems with the lack of co-sponsors at the meeting as well as the amount of money set for advertising for the week.

PRIDE!Kent President Christopher Taylor said the appeal is a scaled-down version of the original proposal. The posters are smaller and fewer in number, the names for the memorial decreased, and the cost decreased by thousands of dollars.

“We want it to pass,” Taylor said. “We will do whatever it takes to make it pass.”

Before PRIDE!Kent made its appeal, Kevin Folk, senator for business and finance and Allocations Committee chair, read a prepared statement.

He said before the Allocations Committee would consider the appeal, an executive board member from each of the co-sponsors would have to send an e-mail to him detailing how the group would contribute to the program.

In addition to that, 50 undergraduate students would have to send an e-mail in support of the program, he said.

Folk said the Allocations Committee came up with these requirements because they have to represent the entire undergraduate student body.

Following the meeting, Taylor called the requirements unfair.

“I’ve never heard of this stipulation before,” he said. “We’ve never had to fulfill quota before.”

Jen Weissman, senior political science major and former PRIDE!Kent vice president, told USS that PRIDE!Kent and its co-sponsors will take whatever steps necessary to receive funding for the program. She said HIV/AIDS is a public health crisis pandemic in size.

She urged USS to approve the appeal because it would “make a statement that this is something you do care about.”

USS members asked questions about the revisions made to the program. The new plans call for 1,000 11-by-17-inch posters, which will be black-and-white with spot color for the red ribbon. PRIDE!Kent also requested funding for supplies of tongue depressors, gluesticks and notecards for 40,000 names of AIDS victims instead of 120,000.

Jae Lerer, PRIDE!Kent treasurer and historian, explained some of the different programs they want to offer. He said they are working to have free, anonymous HIV/AIDS testing at the DeWeese Health Center throughout the week. There also would be educational programs, such as the history of HIV/AIDS and how it affects certain communities, he said.

Following the appeal’s approval, PRIDE!Kent and Feminist Union board members addressed USS with concerns about safety on campus. Carrie Wicks, president of the Feminist Union, spoke on behalf of her sister, Angela, who allegedly was attacked on campus the morning of Jan. 29.

Taylor said they believe better lighting and more emergency call boxes would help stop this from happening again. He asked USS who they should contact in order to have their concerns heard. USS members offered their suggestions.

USS Executive Director Bill Ross extended his sympathy to Wicks and her sister.

He said the problem “is total disregard and disrespect for another human being.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Bryan Wroten at