EDITORIAL: Ending of block funding a good idea

Last Friday’s Undergraduate Student Senate meeting marked a magnificent example of student governing when Kevin Folk and Bill Ross proposed to remove block funding for the May 4 Task Force. The Task Force receives 1.75 percent of allocations money each year, which equals around $10,000 of unpetitioned money this year. This money is just a base amount, as they can request further funds.

Normally, a student organization must put together a program, research all of its costs, fill out the appropriate paperwork and present their request before the allocations committee, which is headed by Kevin Folk, student senator for business and finance. The May 4 Task Force, on the other hand, has $10,000 automatically allocated to them.

This new move does not mean that their will be no more May 4 ceremonies (regardless of how happy that might make some people around campus), but that the Task Force will have to work earlier in the year to plan their events, assess the costs and jump through the appropriate bureaucratic hoops. This editorial board, for reasons of equity between all student organizations, supports this proposal and encourages students to tell any and every USS senator how they feel on the matter.

The case can (and probably will) be made that May 4 is an intricate piece of Kent State history and our consciousness should always be, in part, with those four tragic deaths (and numerous injuries) that occurred that fateful, rebellious day. The case would then suggest to ensure that no snafu occurs in the allocations process the May 4 Task Force be given certain funds every year (probably with the right to request more if they do desire).

However, why it is a student organization’s responsibility to continue this legacy is not as clear. Certainly the university does their part by canceling classes for two hours on that day and could probably even put together some programming if needed. Why, then, should it become a student group’s responsibility, particularly when that student group doesn’t take responsibility to get the necessary funds anyway? It is for this reason, predominantly, this editorial board can not stand by block funding.

Furthermore, block funding, in general, is a bad idea. Actually, it’s a rather good idea, but could be used, legally, by so many different groups that most allocations could be blocked away before any new or other student group could get the funds.

Example: College students are still one of the highest spending demographics when it comes to cinema, both big screen and rentals, so a case could easily be made the International Film Society should be given block funding that would permit them to bring to campus one movie a week, to be shown on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at no cost to undergraduates. Such a move would reach students where they are already passionate and foster a sense of community. Such a program seems like a good idea.

Fortunately, however, the allocation’s committee knows the best policy is to let student groups act quickly and efficiently to guarantee their funds. Any other way is just undemocratic and unfair. It seems painfully ironic that the May 4 Task Force, a group who celebrates the lives of those students that died while practicing so boldly their democratic freedom, would recommend any other way of receiving funding.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.