Dispute freezes event funding

By Gus Bode

A dispute between the student government and faculty members in fine arts has frozen money allocated for campus events.

The presidents of the Undergraduate Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Council have refused to appoint student members to a committee that handles funding for fine arts events, USG president Demetrous White said.

The committee cannot make binding decisions or allocate funding until student members have been appointed.


White said he and GPSC president Steven Middleton would not appoint any members under current operating procedures because he said students from all disciplines should be eligible to serve on the committee. Policy requires the seven students on the committee – as well as the seven faculty members – to come from fine arts departments, White said.

The Departments of Art and Design, Speech Communication, Architecture and Interior Design, Cinema and Photography, Theater, Music and English are the seven fine arts departments, White said.

The Fine Arts Activity Fee Committee uses money taken from the student activity fee to fund fine arts events, such as guest lecturers.

The USG president appoints five student members, while the GPSC president appoints two. The undergraduate and graduate senates approve the appointees.

Students who are not majoring in fine arts disciplines should be able to serve, White said, because all students pay the activity fee.

“It’s like no taxation without representation,” White said.

Christy Poggas, chair of the committee, could not be reached for comment.


Larry Dietz, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said he has been acting as an intermediary between the student government and faculty on the committee.

Operational papers for the committee state that student members must be from the specified departments, Dietz said.

The operational papers cannot be changed without a two-thirds vote from the committee, which cannot happen without student members.

Middleton said he and White would not appoint student members until the two sides could reach an agreement.

“We don’t want to hold them up any more than they want to be held up,” Middleton said. “It’s just an issue we’re working to resolve.”

White informed USG about the situation at a meeting Wednesday.

Although no resolutions were passed regarding the issue, several senators applauded when White said he and Middleton would not appoint any students until an agreement was reached.

If the situation is not resolved, Dietz said he would intervene.

“Frankly, I’m happy to make a decision on this, but I would much rather that the two primary parties agree on a solution rather than me imposing something,” Dietz said. “The most important thing is that we continue to enrich this campus through the fine arts offerings, and we’ll work out the detail about how we get to that point.”

Daily Egyptian reporter Allison Petty can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 259 or [email protected].