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THE Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) voted at its annual budget meeting two weeks ago to give an organization called the Radcliffe Lesbians the sum of $375 as part of RUS's usual budgetary grants to groups like the women's center and the Association of Black Radcliffe Women. The lesbian group has been in existence two years, but has just recently ended its its previous position as a women's center sponsored study group. This is the first year the group has asked for funding.
RUS was justified in its decision to fund the lesbian organization. The lesbians are apparently planning to use the money to pay speakers, fund a poetry reading, and hire a film about lesbian mothers. These events could conceivably reach a wider Radcliffe audience than just the gay group alone. That by itself would make the grant proper, although plans to use the money for purely social, internal purposes would not warrant the funding. Besides the immediate uses of the money, however, the decision was correct because the group does represent a group of Radcliffe women with special interests, just as an organization like the black women's association does, and should be given the same recognition and legitimacy as other women's groups. To do otherwise would be to ostracize lesbians from the Radcliffe community.
Although RUS acted responsibly in voting the money to the gay organization, the way in which RUS reached this, and the other budget decisions, raises fundamental questions about RUS's representativeness. RUS members should have discussed the recommendations beforehand with their Radcliffe constitutents to elicit opinions on such potentially controversial issues as the lesbian funding. Discussion of this sort currently exists only on an informal, sporadic basis, which creates the potential for RUS considering issues with few differing opinions in mind. This is not entirely the organization's fault, for few Radcliffe women have taken the time to find out what this potentially powerful body does.
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