Sometime within the next couple weeks, the ASUA Supreme Court will have a chance to save student government from its own stupidity.
In this case, the stupidity is a new rule adopted by the Associated Students' "pseudo-bicameral" legislature to exclude greek houses from funding. The rule was approved by the Central Governing Council and is being challenged by the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association.
OK, maybe the idea doesn't seem so stupid at first glance. It was proposed after the Appropriations Board gave $340 to the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity so some of the brothers could attend a leadership conference. The approval of that money set off a debate over whether greek organizations deserve money from ASUA.
In most cases, they don't. Unlike, say, the Archaeology Club, fraternities and sororities pull in plenty of money from dues and alumni contributions. And besides, students do not want their tuition dollars spent on leadership conferences (i.e. networking festivals).
But the debate has shown without a doubt that completely cutting off greek organizations from student government money was a bad idea. First of all, greek houses, in order to be recognized as student organizations, must meet the same requirements as any other student group. They must follow the rules and register with the Office of Student Activities and Organizations. In other words, like it or not, they have the same status as every other campus club.
And second, the professed reasoning behind the new rule is that greek organizations discriminate on the basis of sex. Well, that's absolutely true. But federal law protects their right to do so, which means that, legally speaking, greek houses are not discriminatory.
In other words, ASUA's latest bylaw is contrary to federal law. And if the student court does not overturn the rule, greeks can appeal to a real court, where ASUA will have to spend real money on real lawyers. And the greeks would surely win _ the law is on their side.
The solution is simple. The ASUA Supreme Court must overturn the rule, and student government must return to the old system for dealing with greek requests for money: deciding case by case.
This is not exactly a satisfying solution. Greek houses' need for assistance is substantially less than the rest of campus. And since greeks make up a large portion of student government officials, they may have a bit of an advantage in requesting money. While in most cases the answer to funding requests should be no, there is no guarantee that greek houses won't get more than they deserve.
But since the alternative is to fight a losing court battle, ASUA is going to have to live with the lesser of two evils. Read Next Article