Club funding lacks transparency

Student leaders allege inequitable funding for minority identity clubs

BY GRACE HAMILTON, staff writer
Newswire photo by Joseph Cotton
With people having a lot of tough conversations surrounding race and racial inequalities, people have been forced to ask hard questions about potential disproportionate funding for minority-led clubs and organizations.

In recent months, allegations of underfunding for minority-led clubs and organizations have been aimed at the SGA. 

At the SpeakUp XU protest on Sept. 25, claims of underfunding for minority clubs were mentioned by multiple student speakers as just one of many issues contributing to racism at Xavier. 

“I feel like there’s a lot of secrecy,” Vince Dang, the chair of the Student Organization Committee, said. 

The club budgets are currently not shared with the public, so students are unable to compare certain budgets against those of other clubs and see the difference in the funds being allocated. 

“Our office (Student Involvement) advises the Student Government Association and supports them as they implement the annual club funding process. 

SGA collects and reviews the funding requests for all of our student organizations and determines the club’s allocation,” Dustin Lewis, associate director in the Office of Student Involvement, said. 

The budgeting for different clubs at Xavier is decided by two groups. 

Dang explained that certain clubs’ budgets are decided by an executive board, while he deals with the smaller clubs, of which there are around 120. 

Mickey Townsend explained the executive clubs as “clubs that the university will always have no matter what.” 

The process from there is similar in terms of the executive and non-executive budgets. 

The smaller, or non-executive, clubs request money from a total budget of around $441,000. 

The board’s job is to allocate money to groups based on different factors, such as how much money the club was given the previous year. 

The executive clubs pull from a much larger budget of an undisclosed amount. 

Club budgets have never been public information, with no reason given as to why. 

Townsend said, “SGA’s intention was never to hide the budgets from students, but I understand it feels as if we have.” 

“There have been recent talks about making club budgets available to students.” Lewis added. “Student Involvement has engaged the SGA Executives and the SGA Student Organizations Committee in discussion about the concerns. We are also in the process of gathering more information from student leaders and from a group of club advisors to better understand the concerns.” 

The goal moving forward is to encourage minority-led clubs and organizations to be able to come forward and talk about how they feel they’re being treated and to better inform them on how to increase their club budgets. 

“There are a lot of transparency issues, but the good news is it is being addressed,” dang said. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”