February 22, 2010

GPSA Reports Theft of Haiti Fundraiser Donations Box

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A collection box containing approximately $500 in charitable donations was stolen Saturday night from a Graduate and Professional Student Assembly fundraiser at the Chanticleer loft. The proceeds were intended for the Weill Cornell Medical College GHESKIO clinic, the Haitian Health Foundation and Yéle Haiti.

“There were a few safety oversights on our part, but none of us expected someone to steal from a fundraiser,” Srich Murugesan grad, chair of the events committee for the GPSA, said.

The Ithaca Police were called to the scene when the theft was noticed, but there were no leads, according to the GPSA blog.

“This is such an awful incident,” Murugesan said. “We were all completely shocked.”

Approximately 150 people attended the event. “We’re afraid they might feel like they came for nothing,” Murugesan said.

Two organizers of the event replaced the stolen funds, seeking to regain public trust and support before holding another fundraiser.

“We actually exceeded [the stolen donations] as a gesture of good will so that people can continue to have faith in our integrity and support us,” Murugesan said.

The promoter for the event, Peter Van Do, has offered to put up money to compensate for the loss, according to Erica Gutierrez grad, executive vice president of the GPSA.

“We are always going to keep an eye on our collection box at future events,” Murugesan said.

Murugesan, as chair of the events committee, plans to restructure the finances of the upcoming Grad Ball — the GPSA’s primary event, currently comprising approximately 95 percent of its budgetary expenditures — to allow a $1,000 donation for Haiti relief. Two of the other sponsors from Saturday’s event, the Black Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and the Latino Graduate Student Council, will also be co-sponsoring the ball.

The article originally stated that the GPSA replaced the stolen funds, when it was actually two of the event organizers. The Sun regrets this error.

Original Author: Dani Neuharth-Keusch