After meeting with University President Drew G. Faust last week, Undergraduate Council President Gus A. Mayopoulos '15 and Vice President Sietse K. Goffard '15 said Wednesday that they will continue their push for increased funding and hope to secure the funding by the beginning of next term, vowing that they will only propose a term bill increase if administrators provide a “significant” amount of direct funding as well.
On Feb. 20, Mayopoulos and Goffard met with Faust on behalf of the UC to request an additional $250,000 in funding, which would be allocated to student groups and campus activities. At the time, Faust did not show direct support of their idea that the University contribute to the UC’s annual budget, which has been funded through a fee on each College student’s tuition bill.
Faust advised that they speak to Dean of the Faculty Michael D. Smith and interim Dean of the College Donald H. Pfister instead.
“Dean Smith…is very clearly the man to go to,” Goffard said. Although Goffard noted that it “surprises” him that UC leaders have not discussed funding issues with Smith in the past couple years, he said that he and Mayopoulos have been told by Faust and Pfister that Smith has the ultimate authority in FAS budget decisions.
Goffard confirmed that the pair has been in contact with Smith’s office and is scheduling a time within the next week or two to converse.
Although Mayopoulos and Goffard said they will be pursuing similar goals as they did in their meeting with Faust, they both said that they would only propose increasing the UC tuition bill fee of $75, which has remained unchanged since 2006, if the University agrees to directly contribute funds as well.
“If the UC is to receive more money, it will not be in the form of just a term bill [increase],” Mayopoulos said. While a term bill fee increase “might have to happen” eventually, Goffard said, their top priority is still securing money from the University.
At the very least, Mayopoulos said he hopes that Smith will be honest about his opinion on the matter.
“If Harvard University can look us in the eye and say ‘we are unable to provide a quarter of a million dollars in funding to something this important’...then let the ‘veritas’ be known,” he said.
The UC does not want administrators to “keep passing the buck,” Goffard said, and Mayopoulos said he hopes that by the first day of the next semester, the Council will be able to provide more funding to student groups.
If their efforts with administrators prove unsuccessful, Mayopoulos and Goffard said they might seek resources from alumni, whom they say they have not focused on reaching out to as of yet.
Mayopoulos, who toilet paper in hand, led a rally outside Massachusetts Hall last week said that he and Goffard are willing to do “the stupidest things in the world” to catch the attention of students and rally them behind the cause.
“We have a short window of opportunity here,” Mayopoulos said. “The only way to get me and Sietse to stop pushing for more funding for students groups would be to wait until we are out of this office and graduated.”
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.