Students await decision on OFSL funding
After two USF students brought forth concerns about a misuse of student-paid Activity and Service (A&S) fees, University administrators began an internal investigation at the end of the spring semester. And a conclusion has yet to be reached.
Administrators are currently investigating how other Florida universities fund their Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL), said Dean of Students Kevin Banks. USF currently funds the office with A&S fees – a move Christopher Leddy, a senior majoring in political science and history who ran for SG president in February, deems illegal.
Leddy said administrators contacted him Monday to set up a meeting to go over their final report for the investigation, which Banks had said would be ready by the end of last week. Leddy said he hopes to meet with them Tuesday.
Leddy and Richard Shockley, a senior majoring in marketing, discovered a Florida statute at the end of the spring semester that stated that A&S fees “may not benefit activities for which an admission fee is charged.”
According to the statute, the fees must also “benefit the student body in general” and the organizations must be “open to all students at the university without regard to race, sex or religion.”
For both seniors, this called into question the legality of the OFSL’s A&S funding because the office offers supervision to fraternities and sororities – organizations that charge admission fees.
For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the OFSL will receive $285,364 from A&S fees.
However, administrators have claimed that the office does benefit all students because it puts on events that are open to the student body.
“If it was illegal, we would’ve been stopped a long time ago,” Banks said.
Organizations that charge membership fees are not given A&S fees directly, he said. But they can access them by offering services that support student involvement.
Pending the administrators’ findings, Leddy and Shockley said they are prepared to hire an attorney.
“In our opinion, it’s not really a difficult issue,” Leddy said. “(The office) directly benefits the Greek organizations.”