LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Preferential funding fosters increased marginalization of minority groups

Joe Nelson

I became very concerned when reading the information on the proposals for renovation of the LUCC funding process in this week’s Lawrentian. I agree that activity needs require an increase in fees, which is comparable to other colleges. However, I am concerned by the proposal of legislation that may in fact increase the marginalization of organizations and individuals at Lawrence who are necessary parts of the culture here on campus. While recognizing the amount of time and energy that Paul Shrode and the finance committee put into reviewing proposals and seeing fair treatment of all interests on campus, there have been noticeable slips that have revealed personal ignorance, discrimination, and lack of awareness of campus presence by individual members of both the committee and LUCC. These have affected and continue to affect the process of budget allocation, and already show preference to organizations that do not “serve a smaller part of the community.” An example is that over the past three years, PRIDE has seen a dramatic cut in its allocations, crippling its ability to host events with campus-wide significance.

I am willing to make a suggestion, however, in hopes that I am not seen as criticizing without offering help. All organizations should be contacted and allowed to participate in the process that could radically change the nature of their funding. Also, if preferential treatment is going to be given to organizations, perhaps a different funding process should be put into effect for those organizations that have a solid role in the campus and university identity. If these organizations are as important to the campus, even if lacking student support financially, such as the yearbook, then perhaps a better way to receive funding is through the university and its development department, which deals with the sort of alumni relations and communication of a public Lawrence identity.

In making these suggestions, I am expressing my fear that groups that do not receive much public support from either administrative offices, or from the student body, but that are important to the culture of our Lawrence campus, are not further marginalized by being devalued because they do not universally affect the “Lawrence Community”.

–Joe Nelson