USG reallocates budgets of social Greek organizations
Following much deliberation, the budgets of five social Greek clubs were approved and reallocated during the Undergraduate Student Government’s 10th senate meeting on Nov. 10.
Due to the moratorium on recruitment, social Greek clubs Kappa Phi Alpha, Beta Phi Sigma, Kappa Phi Lamda, Alpha Kappa Delta Phi, La Unidad Latina and Lambda Upsilon Lambda had their budgets moved from their general interest meeting lines to their events budget lines, which are dispersed through refreshments, contracts and supplies.
“There are a lot of organizations being punished for activities that they probably do not participate in,” said Salma Mohamed, USG chair of finance.
She added, “The university has to take precautions, but we also have to balance out the fact that there are other organizations that were not responsible and that is why we’re very comfortable giving them a budget.”
Despite the ongoing recruitment moratorium, which was recently extended to the summer of 2018, organizations such as LUL have hosted many events in the past using money budgeted to them, including Latinos in Corporate America, a video game tournament and an event honoring mothers.
“When it was just Daniel [Perez] and I last year, our budget was $6,000, and we basically used all of it,” said Ernest Esparza, who along with Daniel Perez is one of the last remaining active members of LUL.
“Do not think that because we are only two that we can’t do anything. I can probably do more work by myself than any other people can in any other club in this school.”
Although LUL was originally allocated $3,340, USG increased the amount to $3,583 after careful consideration and a 13-1-1 decision in favor of the organization.
“These are the same two people who ran the club last year, and they are receiving a pretty hefty cut, so in my eyes they should be getting at least the same amount as last year,” said Daniel Dornbaum, USG vice president for legislative affairs.
LUL and the sorority Kappa Phi Alpha, which was budgeted $2,000, were the only social Greek organizations to have representatives present at the meeting. Despite this, Beta Phi Sigma, Kappa Phi Lamda and Alpha Kappa Delta were granted budgets of $670, $750 and $1545, respectively. In each decision, no more than three senate members voted against the organization.
“Personally, as Lambda Upsilon Lambda we will continue to do what we have always done,” said Perez, who will serve as the organization’s president until his graduation. “[We will] continue to host events that uplift, identify, structure and empower Latinos of all ages and both genders. Events ranging from our annual Latinos In Corporate America, which is a networking business event with a group of panelists from a variety of industries, to our Step and Stroll Competition that happens every year and is open to everyone.”
Greek organization membership has steadily decreased since 2014, when a recruitment moratorium was issued following the 2013 hazing death of Pi Delta Psi member Michael Deng.
Deng’s death, ruled a homicide by police, was caused by being tackled several times while blindfolded, part of a brutal initiation ritual.
Numerous fraternity members have since been brought up on charges ranging from providing false information to first-degree murder.
With recruitment eliminated, Baruch’s pool of fewer than a hundred Greek life members will only continue to shrink until the few remaining members graduate, potentially making Greek life at Baruch non-existent.
The USG meeting, attended by Art King, dean of students, also saw 12 clubs win appeals for increased budgets and nine clubs win budget approvals.
Last year, King suggested a dedicated Greek life adviser monitor organizational activity, liability insurance in case of future incidents and a requirement that Greek clubs be able to fund themselves without the use of student activity fees.
“There are very few of us on campus ... What I am asking for today on behalf of our organization is just to give us a chance,” said a member of Kappa Phi Alpha, who cited internal problems and a shrinking sisterhood population due to last year’s lack of events from the organization.
“I know that we are asking for a lot and I understand if we do not even get that much, but just to show that we can do some stuff in the Spring and that we can follow through with what we are promising … all we are asking for is a chance to show you guys that we can do something on campus because now more than ever we need to be active on campus and we are just asking for a little bit of hope here, a little bit of confidence in us, though I understand why there is not a lot.”
The granting of budgets to all Greek organizations that applied comes as a great relief for some, but for others it is only a small victory in the fight for Greek life at Baruch. In the case of LUL, it is likely that only one student will be an active member by this time next year.
“This was not our last stand. No matter what the situation is, our goal is to uplift the Latino Community on campus before anything else,” said Perez. “We were always going to keep doing events and doing everything possible to get our budget. We hope that Baruch will lift the ban but until then we will continue to operate as normal while following all rules in place. We believe the activities we create for students shouldn’t suffer because of Baruch’s decisions.”