Bahai News - Council to defund religious, political U. Virginia student groups
Council to defund religious, political U. Virginia student
Updated 12:00 PM ET February 2, 2001
By Deirdre Erin Murphy
(U-WIRE) CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- In an unprecedented move, the Universitiy
of Virginia Student Council Appropriations Committee decided to follow
appropriations rules that exclude religious and political student
organizations from funding.
Each year the Board of Visitors charges Student Council with the task of
appropriating funds from the Student Activities Fee to various student
organizations on Grounds.
In past years Council neglected to follow the specific guidelines given for
this process by the Board.
"In general there has been confusion to the hierarchy of rules,"
Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick McCreesh said.
"I think that, in the past, some have placed Student Council rules at the
top, but truly, it is the Board of Visitors guidelines that are the law of
the land around here," McCreesh said.
The guidelines state that fraternities, sororities, honor societies, political
and religious organizations and special status student organizations are
ineligible for funds.
This is the first year the rules on political and religious organizations
will be followed strictly.
Black Voices, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, University Christian Fellowship
and the Bahai Association are some of the student organizations that will be
Vice President for Organizations Kelly Harris said the student groups will
have the opportunity to seek funding with other organizations, such as the
Student Affairs Office, the Cultural Programs Board, the Parents Program and
"We're not trying to leave these organizations in the cold," Harris said.
"We are trying to help them by sending them to alternate funding sources."
Council already has notified the religious groups that will not be funded.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship treasurer Nick Jabbour said the group
felt hindered but not completely damaged by the enforcement of the rules.
"We had a lot of plans that we wanted to pursue. We will just have to
be a little more creative when it comes to fundraising," Jabbour said.
Jabbour is also a Council representative and member of the Appropriations
"I don't fault appropriations for formally enforcing rules that haven't been
enforced in the past," he added.
Other groups affected by the new implementation of the rule include political
groups on Grounds that are involved with promoting issues or candidates.
Council still is trying to decide exactly which political organizations fall
under the Board's definition.
"Some political groups may have misclassified themselves," Harris said. "Upon
review of their constitution, some groups are more cultural than political,
based upon the definition given by the Board of Visitors."
©Copyright 2001, Cavalier Daily
Page last updated/revised 021401
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page