Policy forces SGA to deny money to student group

by Laura Dillavou

A recent dispute between the International Student Organization and the Student Government Association left some students feeling betrayed, while a new organization found itself $140 richer.

ISO recently asked SGA for $150 to put toward the tsunami relief efforts. The money, said student body president senior Eric Elben, would have been given to the Red Cross, not to ISO. This presented a problem with SGA’s policy on funding charity-based efforts.

“It was a tough position to be in,” Elben said. “But, with charity, where do you start and stop? Student money will go to student groups, not to charity.”

Freshman Nathan Arentsen spoke on behalf of ISO to the members of SGA and also gave a presentation on what ISO would do with the money, if it was given.

“The questions the senate members asked set the tone,” Arentsen said. “I didn’t feel they listened to my answers. What we were doing [was] so much more than sitting behind a table in the BSC – we were active.”

A majority of the senate voted to not give money to ISO, and rather, fund a new student activity, the curling club. The new club will receive $140 for equipment such as brooms, said junior Dan Carver, a senate member.

“At first we were skeptical of their requests,” Carver said. “We gave them enough money to get started. It is the goal of SGA to help student groups get started and to help the student body.”

Members of ISO felt SGA’s contribution would represent a donation made on behalf of all students. Arentsen said that because some students cannot afford to give cash right now, money from SGA would make up for that.

“We are raising awareness of an important issue,” Arentsen said. “If people want Simpson to be a multicultural college, they need to start with multicultural awareness, like this project.”

In separate efforts, ISO has raised more than $1000 for the tsunami relief efforts. $200 was sent to Unicef and another $800 was sent to the Red Cross.

Both Elben and Arentsen are considering a project that would have SGA funding.

“We are keeping every interest in mind,” Elben said. “We have an idea in the works to send out a donation card through campus mail to every student with different amounts they can donate. It would cost about $100 to print, which SGA would help with, and they would probably see a big return. Something like that would be a great idea for the future.”

While SGA couldn’t donate student-activity money, plenty of other students participated.

“We had great student participation,” said Arentsen. “There were 500 handprints on our quilt, the chapel had a service and it really made the students feel as if they were a part of something.”