Gospel Choir Ministry tour funded

The Student Finance Board (SFB) passed a motion 11-3 to provide the Gospel Choir Ministry $2,200 for its annual Spring Break tour.

Although the organization received funding, the amount given was about half the $4,261 requested, as board members were skeptical about what the tour, which will make stops in Fayetteville, N.C., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., would give back to the campus.

“I don’t see how sending 44 students (off campus) is beneficial to all the other 5,600 students here,” Julia Pratt, executive director, said.

The breakdown of the organization’s costs was also an issue for the board. The ministry’s original request asked for a total of $5,261. However, when subtracting out total contributions ($10,280) from the total expenses ($14,541), the actual amount requested came to $4,261.

The ministry’s executive board also noted that each member would only be asked to contribute between $50 and $60, which at most would contribute $2,640, far less than the projected $10,280.

SFB calculated that each of the 44 members would have to contribute approximately $210 to meet the total costs, a number unreasonable for each student to pay and also too high for SFB to cover.

“Looking at it from cost perspective, I feel like it’s just too expensive for us to fund,” Omar Selim, junior representative, said.

Pratt also cited the fact that although SFB can afford to fund the tour, this does not mean that the tour warrants funding.

“Just because we have a lot of money left doesn’t mean we have to throw it at something like this,” Pratt said, indicating that the extra money could go toward high volume events that include the entire campus.

Board members were also skeptical about the organization’s ability to fund raise; Gospel Choir Ministry had told the board that it planned on asking for funding from members and local churches.

As of March 1, the group had not collected any money from fund-raising. SFB members questioned why this was so for a trip that the group takes every year and plans in advance.

“They probably could have raised a lot more money,” Selim said.

Because the group plans to visit only two churches in its weeklong tour (as of the meeting), SFB members saw the trip as more of a bonding experience for the organization.

“Most of this trip is going to be a fellowship thing,” Kobi Wilmot, management director, said.

After much discussion, the board ultimately voted to partly subsidize the organization’s tour by providing $50 per person for 44 people, totaling $2,200.

The Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) requested $2,468.76 in funding to attend the Annual Medical Education Conference of the Student National Medical Association in Atlanta.

SFB agreed to table the request because Wilmot serves on the executive boards of both MAPS and SFB. Additionally, there was an unclear breakdown of costs for the conference and a last-minute request from the organization to send its advisor as well.

“Make this clean – come back next week and come back for the whole thing,” Pratt said.

Pratt also said that Wilmot’s positions on the executive boards of both clubs presented a potential conflict of interest. “You shouldn’t be on the executive board for another organization,” she said during voting, when Wilmot was out of the room. “You just shouldn’t. It’s a conflict.”

The board voted 11-2 to table the request.

Hillel/Jewish Student Union (JSU) requested $155 in funding for its semi-annual bus trip to see a Broadway musical. This semester, the organization elected to see “Avenue Q.”

SFB members were concerned that JSU would only be selling 20 tickets. JSU explained that it decided to sell fewer tickets because while it usually co-sponsors the trip with PEANUTS, the two organizations opted for different plays this semester. PEANUTS plans to see “Stomp” on April 2.

In the end, a motion was passed 12-0-2 to fully fund JSU’s request.

After tabling Water Watch’s request last week to bring speaker Dave Paxon to the College, board members recalculated and unanimously approved the new request for two days as opposed to the previously requested eight. The total request was $448.

Last week, Water Watch had asked for funds to allow Paxon to stay eight nights so that he could speak at surrounding colleges and other schools.

Chabad requested funding for a program entitled “Kosher Sex,” a talk given by Rabbi Yitzchak Goldenberg about Jewish views on dating, sex and marriage.

The board unanimously voted to fund the $170 request.