As an act of defiance against the administration, students from
groups across campus gathered yesterday to discuss allegations of
the administration’s budget cuts, acts of negligence and
questionable practices.

In meetings held in the South Quad, Alice Lloyd and Bursley
residence halls, an ad hoc coalition of student groups met to
discuss issues in student affairs. Those present criticized alleged
cuts to the Offices of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Affairs and Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs.

Students also charged the administration with neglecting the
William Monroe Trotter House — a center created to support
multicultural activities — cutting funding for this
year’s Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow and fragmenting
services at the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center,
among other accusations.

“They’re pissing off everybody, and the fact that
they’re doing that means that groups who might not normally
work together are going to unite around something,” Art and
Design junior Emily Squires said.

But President Mary Sue Coleman said the budget decisions were
difficult for administrators to make. “Nobody can know what
it’s like to sit in this seat and have to make these tough
(budget) decisions. And I don’t expect people to know. But
ultimately I have to take in all the information and do the best
job that I can to protect the University for the future,”
Coleman said.

Staff members from the Office of Student Affairs could not be
reached for comment.

Students at the meeting enumerated a lengthy list of the
administration’s transgressions.

The LGBT Office recently received cuts to its budget. Most
significantly, office staffer Holly Ferrise will not be rehired
next semester, Law student and LGBT member Pierce Beckham said.

He added that Ferrise had been kept part-time for seven years,
although University policy maintains that any part time position
must be full time after one year. Ferrise is credited with the
creation of the Speakers Bureau, one tool for education and
outreach in the LGBT community on campus — a tool that some
say may not exist after Ferrise is let go.

Advocates for MESA and the Trotter House were also present at
the meeting, decrying the condition of the multicultural center and
the staffing problems at MESA.

The Trotter House currently does not have a formal program
director. “Other universities have a director,” said
Edward Burnett, facilities manager and program center coordinator
for the house.

Burnett said the house needs significant renovations. “The
conference room is in the attic,” said one student who
regularly visits the house. “Whatever goes on on one floor,
you hear on the other floor,” she added, detailing the
house’s state of dilapidation.

MESA lacks a coordinator for the Hispanic community, one MESA
representative said. Former Latino American coordinator Donney
Moroney now works as a counselor for the Medical School. A number
of people at the meeting also said that students have lobbied for a
Middle Eastern coordinator for years.

Representatives from the Native American Student Association
said funding has been cut for the University-sponsored Pow Wow, a
celebration of Native American culture that draws a national crowd
every year.

Typically, the Pow Wow is an all-weekend event, but this year
there will be no Friday ceremonies, NASA representatives said. Vice
President of Student Affairs E. Royster Harper has allegedly
promised to help raise money.

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