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Thursday, August 11, 2022
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

Greek Life and Club Funding Under Fire


In the face of hard questioning at Tuesday's Student Association-sponsored club endorsement meetings, the UB Students' Party struggled to hold itself up when pinned against their opponent, the incumbent Results Party.

The meetings, which took place at 4 p.m. for the Special Interest, Service and Hobby Clubs Council and 6 p.m. for the Sports Clubs Council, were open to the general UB public.

Presidential candidate Jason Litwak of the UB Students' Party vowed to end "the current trend of nepotism, crony-ism and rascal-ism that exists in SA" and "open the doors to all students, not just a select few."

"We have extensive experience in the community which more than makes up for any lack of SA experience. . We actually consider it an advantage that we don't have tremendous, entrenched experience with SA," said Litwak.

Litwak said the Results Party's promise to bring former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to speak at UB would be impossible since Giuliani was not running for re-election or another public office.

One student noted SA President Christian Oliver's success in bringing former president Bill Clinton to UB, to which Litwak responded, "and the whole school was embarrassed by it." Litwak was referring to SA's tense relations with the UB administration after several prominent articles appeared in The Buffalo News containing SA allegations that administrators nixed a Clinton speech because he was too controversial.

Oliver said he "kinda cheated" and had already begun working toward bringing the former mayor to UB in November.

He defended SA's relations with university administrators citing how Bob Arkeilpane, director of athletics, canceled events in Alumni Arena to accommodate the rescheduling of Fall Fest 2001 after Sept. 11.

SA Assemblyman Ryan McGowen asked Oliver whether he planned to "expedite" the process of temporary clubs obtaining permanent SA charters.

Oliver said he believed the six-month waiting period was necessary for temporary clubs to "prove themselves," but said he would provide SA services such as free vans, Web space and advice from a club liaison to get them off the ground.

"We're not going to shorten the period [before temporary clubs become permanent] which would be unfair to recognized clubs," said Oliver. "We will expand the resources available to all clubs."

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Michael Sciortino, UB Students' candidate for vice president, came under fire for his party's plan to create an SA Director for Greek affairs, since Greek membership is exclusive and chapters pay dues to separate national bodies. After several minutes of debate, Sciortino clarified that Greeks would not receive SA funding.

"It's not access to funds, it's access to resources," said Sciortino. "We want to help them out and include them . we're not going to give them a budget."

Sciortino's opponent, Results Party candidate Jennifer Brace, said she believed collaboration between Greeks and SA should be limited to charitable endeavors.

"SA should co-sponsor good community service and philanthropy events for Greeks, but SA resources are meant for the clubs," said Brace.

SA Treasurer Naazli Ahmed, who is running for re-election on the Results Party ticket, outlined her plans to hire a club liaison to increase communication with clubs, and provide financial management workshops to give members "hands on experience" working with funds.

Mark Leach, UB Students' candidate for treasurer, made his party's first fumble of the evening when he had difficulty responding to SA Vice President Joshua Korman's question as to how SA would obtain permission or funding for an open shelter in the Student Union in the event of an emergency such as a power outage or snow storm - one of the UB Students' party's planks.

Before attempting to respond, Leach addressed Korman's relationship to the Results Party, since Korman was Oliver's running mate last year.

"[Korman] is more than allowed to be here, he's a student at UB . but I feel that he is somewhat biased," said Leach.

The UB Students' Party platform calls for eliminating the mandatory fundraising requirement, a proposal questioned by several students. Leach said clubs would still have to fundraise, but could not provide specifics on how reforms to the current system would be brought about.

"Fundraising is still important . but at the same time it's not going to be to the extent that it is now," said Leach. "There's a lot of fundraising you need to do even if you don't need the money."

In Leach's conclusion, he acknowledged that he "didn't do as well as [he] planned" but said that his "performance as treasurer should not be based on [his] performance today."

The New York State Student Assembly candidates were questioned on their knowledge of NYSSA and cuts facing the Tuition Assistance Program and Educational Opportunity Program.

"I live off TAP, I feed off TAP," said UB Students' NYSSA candidate Vinny Rondinelli. "I'm going to support TAP because I need to eat."

Rondinelli vigorously attacked the Results Party saying "year in, year out, the same damn people run SA."

Katie Walsh, a NYSSA candidate from the Results Party, was asked to identify visible accomplishments of this year's NYSSA delegation. Walsh could only name their participation at Lobby Day in Albany, and said she didn't "know if there are any results from that as of yet."

The next club endorsement meeting is scheduled for today at 5 p.m. in 330 Student Union. The final meeting will be held Thursday at 4 p.m. in 145E Student Union.




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