The construction of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) representational plots that were approved for funding by Student Government (SG), has been put on hold. While it was originally planned to break ground during winter break, it’s currently being delayed until the SG Supreme Court reviews the use of Activity and Services (A&S) fees to fund the project.
NPHC is responsible for bringing in $19,000 for the project and the university administration has agreed to match funding up to $265,000. The SG Senate voted 38-10 on Oct. 24 to fulfill the $113,500 budget request with Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine supporting the movement.
Logan Holland, who ran for vice president against Kheireddine, filed for the SG court to review the use of A&S fees for this saying that it violates seven rules for funding. These include three that reference A&S funded items being available to all students, one that restricts allocation to organizations that have mandatory dues and two that discuss differential or discriminatory practices based on race or color.
NPHC is a council comprised of primarily African-American fraternities and sororities known as The Divine Nine. According to the website, the organizations are “all-inclusive and excepting (accepting) of all men and women.” The funding requested would go toward a plaza with a plot for each organization and would include information about the organization.
Neither Holland nor Kheireddine could be reached for comment.
In his filing with the court, Holland wrote that funding the collection of plots is a violation because it is providing funds “exclusively for the benefit (of) a group which membership is restricted in practice to one subset of students and is not inclusive to all students. Access to this council is not open to any student who has not been initiated into one of its member organizations.”
Holland also wrote that the funding violates SG rules “by providing funds for the benefit of an entity that charges dues and other fees, and whose component members also charge dues and other fees.
These were not discussed during the Senate meetings when the funding request was reviewed. The organizations included in NPHC are Greek organizations and require dues for membership.
Although he does not cite it as a violation, Holland also points out the concept of differential treatment, which is classified as unacceptable in the SG Constitution, and the prohibition of allocating A&S funds to an entity that discriminates.
This was also not brought up during the Senate meetings.
Finally, although Holland also did not cite it as a violation, he references two rules for funding that require the services funded to be available to all students without charge and on a first-come first-serve basis.
This was a concern brought up by several senators during discussions about funding the project. In response to these concerns at the Senate meeting on Oct. 24, Kheireddine insisted the plaza would be open to any student organization interested in hosting an event there.
“The space itself is structured like a plaza,” he said. “So there’s a lot of open space and also a very green area. Basically, students will be able to request that space and have events. They can request to hang lights and do any sort of events. Outside of that, it’s also free and open to any student who wants to visit.”
The court has not announced a date for the hearing, but has officially released a stay on funding until one can be held. If the court finds the funding is in violation of SG rules, it would not be provided. The NPHC and Kheireddine could file an appeal that would go to the Dean of Students Danielle McDonald.