EDITORIAL: PRIDE!, BUS dominate allocations funding

The Undergraduate Student Senate Allocations Committee, chaired by business and finance senator Kevin Folk is spending a lot of your money these days.

Granted, it has spent less thus far in its term than any allocations committee in recent memory. According to Folk, the allocations committee has either refocused or denied $62,000 worth of requests. Certainly, this is commendable.

But the quantity of the expenditures is less important than the quality. After all, Folk was the tie-breaking vote in a hearing that gave PRIDE! Kent a whopping $33,000 to bring bisexual comedian Margaret Cho to campus. But that’s not all – earlier this year, the allocations committee shelled out nearly $67,000 to Black United Students, $39,000 of which went toward that organization’s Homecoming comedy show, the Black Comedy Tour, which drew approximately 1,100 people. For all you math whizzes out there, that’s more than $35 per person for a bunch of comedians that don’t exactly have the broadest of appeal.

BUS has received 46 percent of the overall budget, and PRIDE! Kent has received more than 25 percent. How can Folk justify allotting 71 percent of the overall allocations budget to only two organizations, both of which promote ideological agendas that are unrepresentative of the mainstream Kent State student population?

Certainly it is justifiable to spend the big bucks on programs that are sure to have widespread appeal for the entire student population, regardless of who sponsors the event. But there is no evidence to suggest that any of the money spent thus far will have such appeal – the only possible exception being the $24,000 allocated to BUS for social philosopher Cornel West, who will speak at Kent State later this year.

With regard to the Margaret Cho program, Folk claims that Cho’s name recognition and comedy will draw students to the program, but this is highly unlikely. After all, name recognition is a double-edged sword: Students may recognize the name Margaret Cho, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing as far as attendance goes.

And as for the comedic aspect? Well, there’s really no other way to say it: Margaret Cho isn’t funny. Sure, humor is a matter of perception, but think about it. When is the last time you heard someone talking about the hilarious Margaret Cho? What’s the last Margaret Cho movie you saw? Are you more likely to hear someone retell a joke from Margaret Cho or a joke about Margaret Cho? The fact is: Cho is more known for her activism than her comedy; too many people see her as a bisexual comedian – an activist with a sense of humor, so to speak – as opposed to someone like Ellen DeGeneres, who most identify as a comedian who just so happens to be a lesbian. This is not good if Cho’s role as a comedian is supposed to draw mainstream students to the program.

The allocations committee has made great strides in fostering a sense of fiscal responsibility for a body that is usually regarded as a crew of reckless spendthrifts. But they still have a long way to go before they can claim true accountability for the student funds that are supposed to provide quality programming at Kent State.

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