Acknowledging Harvard Budgetary Constraints, Pfister Expresses Support for Increased UC Funding

The day before Undergraduate Council leaders plan to host a rally outside of Mass. Hall and ask University President Drew G. Faust for $250,000 in additional funding, Interim Dean of the College Donald H. Pfister said that “it makes sense” to give the UC more money to fund student groups.

In an interview in his University Hall office Wednesday afternoon, Pfister suggested that he would be in favor of increasing funding for student groups “if we can figure [out] a way to do it,” citing budgetary constraints as an obstacle.

“We want students to be able to have these opportunities [with extracurricular activities],” Pfister said. “So we have to solve this in some way, but I’m not sure how.”

UC leaders have long called for administrators to increase the Council’s budget, which was a little less than $500,000 for the 2013-2014 academic year. And while this figure has remained constant over the past several years, the budget has become increasingly constrained as more groups have applied for funding. The Council awards grants to recognized student organizations and club sports teams, in addition to funding House Committees. More than 65 percent of this academic year’s budget was allocated to go to student groups.

Most recently, UC leaders announced plans to ask Faust for a $250,000 increase in funding at their upcoming meeting with her Thursday. They later shared three proposals that UC President Gus A. Mayopoulos ’15 and UC Vice President Sietse K. Goffard ’15 said that they will present to Faust at the meeting. Each of the three proposed funding plans would include a term bill increase.

On Wednesday, Pfister said that he was “happy to see that [the UC is] active and thinking about this.” Still, he pointed out that there are financial constraints facing the University.

“So administrators, beyond me, are looking at this and saying, ‘It sounds like a small amount in terms of the whole budget,’ but indeed, if you don’t have it, you don’t have it—there’s not leeway to be able to manage it,” Pfister said.

In the days leading up to the meeting, the UC has made a public push for support, calling for students to join them at the rally with a social media campaign headlined “UC 250K.”

—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at mconway@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.

—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at steven.lee@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenSJLee.

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