The changes were made, according to Armour, because “we basically felt that we weren’t able to manage [SoCo’s] spending the way we wanted to.”
Armour added that the reduction in funding was a result of “the controversy of the first semester.”
Last semester, Assistant Dean of Students Samuel Haynes found SoCo guilty of discrimination following SoCo’s sponsorship of Computer Dating TAP.
“The entire e-board agreed that the funding should be cut,” said SGO Vice President Michelle Oliveros-Larsen ’02. “We just disagreed on how much.”
“It’s a significant amount but I don’t think it’s going to impair us,” said SoCo Chair Erica Hewes ’02. “I don’t think we’re going to change the way we work at all.”
In past semesters, SoCo has received $10,000 from the student activities fee and $10,000 from the SFC.
Because of its campus-wide function, SoCo has tended to have more discretion over where its funds went than other student groups, said Armour. “We give them a lot of leeway. In order to respond to student interest they need to be flexible,” he said.
“It’s not so much about punishment as it is about change,” said Oliveros-Larsen. “We had to do something. They had violated SFC policy as well as school policy.”
“We hope that they will show us that it’s worth our while to give them the money that they get,” said SGO President Steve Ruckman ’01. “I was hoping that they would have a greater reduction.”
“It wasn’t really an involved process,” said Armour, who made the final decision on behalf of the SFC. “We just decided it would be better for us to reduce their initial funding so we could keep our eye on them.”
The SGO decided to cut funding in hopes of having greater supervisory powers over SoCo.
“What changes is that they’re going to be coming to us more often,” said Armour.
“There was always the option of cutting off their SFC money entirely,” said Oliveros-Larsen. “We have to deter certain types of activities.”
The SFC’s intention was not to impair SoCo’s ability to function, according to Armour. “We don’t want to cripple them,” he said.
If SoCo runs out of funds during the course of the semester, they are encouraged to request discretionary funds from the SGO, according to Ruckman.
“The criterion [for getting funds] will be no different from any other request,” said Armour. “SoCo won’t be a special case-they won’t get any more leeway than any other group.”
However, Oliveros-Larsen said that SoCo serves a purpose on campus unlike any other club or organization.
“SoCo has the duty of responding to the entire campus because they are the only ones whom the school gives money to directly,” said Oliveros-Larsen. “I’d like to support SoCo as an institution but not an institution as it is run now.”
Following the discrimination complaints filed against SoCo, this year’s recruitment drive for new officers has attracted twice as many applicants as past attempts, according to Hewes. Fourteen students applied for positions on SoCo.
“We have applicants from the LBGTA, BSU, Asian Culture House, as well as from a variety of other groups,” said Hewes.
“We’re going to try to communicate much more with SoCo,” said Ruckman. “The best thing to do is leave open the lines of communication.”
“One of the things [the budget reduction] does is it mandates more communication bewteen the SFC, Social Council and the e-board,” said Armour.
Armour added that, though the SFC would carefully review every application for funding that SoCo made, it would not assume responsiblity for any of SoCo’s programming choices.
“At this stage in our relationship with SoCo, we’re not involved in planning,” Armour said.