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Provost Grants $300K in Funds for Student Activities Next Year

By Naveen Sunkavally
ASSOCIATE OPINION EDITOR

Provost Joel Moses PhD '67 announced that he will increase the student activities budget to $300,000, tripling the amount of money that will be available to student groups next year.

The announcement, made at a faculty meeting on March 18, comes after a grant by Moses of $40,000 to student groups in February.

"I am very pleased that we have been able to triple the budget," Moses said. Moses said that he hoped some of the funds could be used to bring in additional entertainment such as bands.

The rise in funding came about as a result of the efforts of Dean of Undergraduate Education and Academic Affairs Rosalind H. Williams and several student leaders. "Dean Williams and I will discuss in the near future the process by which the extra funds will be allocated," Moses said.

"This is obviously something over which I'm ecstatic," said Undergraduate Association President Dedric A. Carter '98. The Provost's action will help bring MITup to par with other universities, which have traditionally funded student activities significantly more than MIT has, Carter said.

UA Treasurer Theresa J. Raine '98 was also pleased with the allocation. "This has been an issue with both Dedric and myself for quite a while, and seeing the work has produced results is wonderful," Raine said.

Graduate funding questioned

Graduate Student Council President Geoffrey J. Coram G was more reserved in his praise. Coram said that at the faculty meeting he thanked Moses for the announcement but also questioned how the funds would be divided between graduate and undergraduate student groups. "[Moses] said that he was going to discuss it internally with Rosalind Williams," Coram said.

Coram said that of the previous $40,000 MIT gave only $8,000 to graduate student activities and the rest to undergraduate activities, even though graduate students represent a majority of the campus population. "We're quite disappointed that MIT tends to ignore graduate student activities,"he said.

Veronique Bugnion G, treasurer of the GSC, said that in the future she hoped "grad students would be more involved in the decision-making process." She said that representatives of the council will meet with Moses on Thursday to discuss the funding question further.

Changes in future funding

Moses said that he expected the new funding level to be permanent. "I expect that these funds will be available in future years as well," he said.

Vinh-Thang Vo-Ta '98, chair of the UA financial board, which distributes funds to undergraduate student activities, said that he thinks the Provost's action reflects a permanent change in activities funding.

Before, Vo-Ta said, the financial board tended to "favor activities that were more open to students," but now funds can be allocated to groups that hold more group-specific events. He expects funding for community-service groups and for those students who represent MIT competitively in, for instance, sports or music, to increase as well. "They don't have to go door-to-door anymore [looking for funds]," Vo-Ta said.

"The application process for funding next fall will begin at the end of this spring," Vo-Ta said.

Carter and Raine said in the future they would like to see a student activities endowment that would provide a more enduring source of funds. Raine said that a student activities endowment could be a possible item in the upcoming capital campaign.