March 10, 2011

Letter to the Editor: A call for objectivity

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To the Editor:

Re: “Dozens of Cornell Student Groups Appeal Recent SAFC Funding Decisions,” News, March 9

This past Friday, the SAFC released its spring semester funding allocations for registered student organizations.  As many students know, the process of applying for this funding is a long, grueling process, but it’s crucial for the survival of many organizations.  This tedious process is meant to remove the subjectivity from the funding process so that if groups follow the rules, they receive funding they requested.

The Cornell chapter of Habitat for Humanity, one of the largest charitable student groups at Cornell, with over 3,000 students on its listservs, is one of the hundreds of groups that apply for this funding every year.  Yet for the second semester in a row, the organization has received a yearly total of only 40 percent of the funding it desires (in the fall semester, SAFC allocated a mere $345 to Habitat).  SAFC defended this semester’s allocation by claiming “no inventory report” was filed, even though according to SAFC’s own rules, an inventory report would not always be necessary.  In Habitat’s case, this report was not required, yet it was the deciding factor in the denial of funding.  Regardless, we are appreciative that we didn’t receive last semester’s illuminating “Do not fun on no doc chalk” comment sent to another student group.

While this decision will be appealed, it is likely the S.A. brotherhood will side with the SAFC if the appeal fails. Unfortunately, these situations occur countless times every semester. For this reason, we strongly encourage the many student groups that were wrongly denied funding in a supposedly objective process to speak up.  It is time the student body takes a stand against the very organization that is supposed to be working for them.

Matt Koren ’12, treasurer, and Jesella Zambrano ’13, co-president of Cornell Habitat for Humanity