Evaluate JFC budgets for funding consistency

Within a week, the 2008–09 budgets for Carnegie Mellon clubs and organizations will be released by the Joint Funding Committee (JFC). The JFC is a group of Undergraduate Student Senators and Graduate Student Assembly representatives, tasked with allocating nearly $1 million of Student Activities Fee funds out to officially recognized groups.

But this year, amid discussion of pushing for an increase in the Student Activities Fee to support the large number of new student groups that have started receiving funding in recent years (see the Feb. 25 editorial board article, “Student Activities Fee must be managed efficiently”), the JFC has within the past two years decided to open funding more broadly to include religious groups.

This is a reversal of funding decisions made by the JFC in the past, where specifically religious groups were not eligible for funding due to a clause in the JFC’s bylaws stating “events which are academic, political, and/or religious in nature will not be funded.” However, as religious groups do enrich the campus community by holding events open to the entire student body, not just people of their faith, these groups are receiving funding. Whether or not religious groups of this nature should be given funding is up for debate; however, it is questionable as to why this change in policy has been so seemingly under the radar.

While we do not believe it is our position to attempt to draw the line between cultural groups that have received funding and religious groups that historically have not, we believe it is important to make students aware that these changes have occurred.

When budgets are released next week we encourage you to look at the funding given to all of the groups across campus to evaluate whether your activities fee is going to the right places, as this is your activities fee being used in a way that should benefit both you and the campus as a whole.