EDITORIAL: May 4 Task Force block funding wrong

Undergraduate Student Senators Bill Ross and Kevin Folk are trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

Bill F0503, intended to remove block funding for the May 4 Task Force, was removed from voting at Friday’s USS meeting after being introduced two weeks prior. Senators Folk and Ross introduced the bill to, frankly, “level the playing field, and make sure everyone is playing the same game with the same rules,” Folk said.

The current block funding was initiated three years ago by then Senator Seth Kujat, who was also the president of the May 4 Task Force. That particular year, the May 4 Task Force had an allocations snafu that nearly resulted in it not getting any funds. Kujat’s initiation of block funding was to ensure that those sort of mistakes by May 4 Task Force leaders wouldn’t leave May 4 commemoration dead in the water. At this time, Chuck Rickert was the interim vice president for student affairs and he signed off on the funding.

The Daily Kent Stater editorial board has already supported Folk and Ross’ initiative in a previous editorial, but it appeared that they both folded like a house of cards in Katrina when the proposed bill was removed from consideration and voting. Folk and Ross, however, point to conditions outside of their control.

Both had many meetings with different advisers, student groups and Dr. Pete Goldsmith, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, which changed their stance – particularly their meeting with Goldsmith.

“Dr. Goldsmith had said this was something he wanted a lot of time to look at and he, according to university policy, has to sign off on any changes we make to the allocation guidelines,” Ross said. “He said he would not make the changes until the rest of the changes come through at our ad hoc allocations guideline meeting. Even if we had passed it, the changes wouldn’t take effect until next fall.”

Ross continued, “This was something we wanted to do immediately, but since it’s something we can’t do immediately, we decided to use time as a resource to garner some support from the student body and to ensure that we have our case set correctly.”

Ross sees the whole ordeal as a means for the university administration to “kill two birds with one stone,” by not having to fund May 4 commemorations itself and by ensuring that there “would never be any more controversy with the commemoration.”

Ross said the university administration was “not really thinking about the future of this decision. Now other student organizations are coming to the USS and saying, ‘Why not us too?'”

Senator Ross’ stance on this controversy is a correct one. It appears that the university, who has always tried to respectfully distance itself from the PR blot that is May 4, is being too opportunistic with the USS and the allocations committee.

This editorial board continues to support Ross and Folk’s efforts to remove May 4 block funding and challenges the university administration to trust the student leaders put in place by the students to decide these issues. For more years than block funding has existed, it hasn’t existed and it’s time that we return to the way things were not so long ago before political activism was given block funding.

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