After allocating the entirety of its $175,000 budget in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2018, the Diversity Programming Committee is unable to pull from the $98,000 in its reserve account.
According to Chapter 24 of the Student Governing Association bylaws, the DPC’s 14 members vote — under the direction of the chair — to fund student-centered, diversity-enhancing events that exceed $3,000.
Tendai Munyanyi, senior in management and chair of the DPC, said events must “dissuade prejudice and discrimination” against sexual orientation, racial minorities or religion.
Munyanyi said he would be happy to open the reserve accounts to continue funding events in the fourth quarter because he doesn’t want students to feel as though DPC is holding more than $98,000 of students’ money “hostage.”
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The bylaws and statutes, which student senator Ryan Kelly, sophomore in civil engineering, described as “vague,” state that the DPC is not “held to KSU SGA funding guidelines” in that there is not a cap to the amount they can allocate per person or per organization. The DPC is, however, tied to a quarter system that dictates funding periods for the fiscal year.
All fourth quarter events that seek funding from the DPC must have their applications submitted prior to the final Friday in January. Ashley Douglass, Center for Student Involvement liaison, said because the fourth quarter deadline has passed, the reserve account cannot be accessed to continue funding events.
“I think it’s safe to say that many people, advisers and other entities who know about DPC have been frustrated that it’s a mess,” Munyanyi said. “The system doesn’t work. It’s something I personally believe has been ignored. It’s my goal before I leave the term [in] office that I have somehow concretely fixed that.”
Kelly said the DPC brings “cultural enrichment” to campus.
“I think that this year has been an extraordinary year for students on campus, in terms of marginalized students and students who feel that their voices aren’t heard as much,” Kelly said.
The DPC allocated $65,000, slightly under 40 percent of their budget, to the Black Student Union to bring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to campus as the Black History Month keynote speaker Feb. 6. The DPC also allocated $20,000 to Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity for the Martin Luther King III lecture and candlelight vigil.
In the first two quarters of fiscal year 2018, the DPC allocated a total $49,574 to the India Student Association, Qualitative Research Student Organization, the Sexuality and Gender Alliance and others. According to an email Munyanyi sent out to student organizations, the committee allocated a total of $124,254 in the third quarter.
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Ralph Armah, graduate student in economics and president of the African Student Union, said his organization will not be able to fund their annual African Night program, which includes a keynote speaker and entertainment to display African culture, values and morals, without funds from the DPC.
Armah said he has nothing “against bringing people to campus or other organizations” asking for large allocations, but wishes there was more “fairness.”
“If DPC funds three cycles and tells us they’ve run out of funds, that means that whoever has any activity that falls in the fourth cycle will not have it funded, so that goes against those organizations,” Armah said.
Stephen Kucera, graduate student in accounting and student support director, said he has been pushing for the DPC to reopen applications for the fourth quarter and use reserve funds to sponsor those events.
“I’m not trying to critique this year’s committee,” Kucera said via text message. “I’m trying to be an advocate for the student organizations so they have a chance to apply for funding that students have already paid for. I am trying to make sure that Student Government listens and is responsible to the concerns of students; that’s how you maintain trust as a governing organization.”