The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Student Council to propose the creation of its own endowment

While executive board members plan to meet with Ryan about creating long-term funding, representatives expressed disdain over his reaction to conflict in Israel and Palestine


By working alongside administrators, Sims said Student Council will be able to more quickly raise the level of funds that they need without diverting efforts currently going towards its other programs.
By working alongside administrators, Sims said Student Council will be able to more quickly raise the level of funds that they need without diverting efforts currently going towards its other programs.

Holly Sims, vice president for administration and graduate Batten student, announced to the general body that executive board members will be meeting with University President Jim Ryan this Friday to discuss strategic planning for long term Student Council funding worth $5 million. Representatives also condemned Ryan’s statement to the student body on the Israel-Hamas war.

The current Student Council budget relies heavily on Student Activities Fees — a $58 fee included in tuition that goes towards supporting student organizations funds — which currently account for approximately 95 percent of Student Council’s annual budget. A new proposal consists of creating a Student Council funding source independent of Student Activities Fees that totals $5 million through a one time fundraising drive aimed at alumni and friends of the University. Student Council then can pull roughly $300,000 out of that fund annually. 

In a presentation given to the general body at the beginning of the semester, Sims explained that the current spending power of the SAF has vastly decreased due to inflation and increased CIO funding requests, prompting Student Council to approve a $1 SAF increase this year. However, Sims says the SAF funding remains restrictive on Student Council, prompting the need for a more reliable funding source. 

Sims explained while Student Council had productive conversations with Robyn Hadley, former dean of students and vice president of student affairs, Hadley’s departure has left Student Council without an avenue to pursue longer-term funding that does not solely rely on Student Activities Fee money. 

While the University searches for Hadley’s permanent replacement, interim Dean of Students Cedric Rucker and Vice President for Student Affairs Christopher Holstege are jointly filling the position. 

“We're going to Jim Ryan because we can’t wait — given the constraints on the Student Activities Fee to fundraise — for a new VPSA to begin that conversation,” Sims said. “We do want to talk more about the specific avenues we're thinking about for endowment funding.”

By working alongside administrators, Sims said Student Council will be able to more quickly raise the level of funds that they need without diverting efforts currently going towards its other programs. 

Tichara Robertson, student council president and fourth-year College student, says she hopes Friday’s meeting with Ryan will open avenues for further consideration of long-term funding. 

“I'm hoping this first meeting with Jim Ryan is really just explaining what Student Council funding is and then laying out what the proposal is,” Robertson said. “Hopefully in the next month, we can talk through logistics on how we can fundraise.” 

During representative reports, Student Council members also heard remarks from two representatives condemning Ryan for his emailed statement about the current conflict in Israel and Palestine. Fourth-year college student Rep. Tyler Busch and second-year College student Rep. Imane Akhanous called Ryan’s statement biased against Palestinian and Muslim students.

“Muslim and Palestinian students feel that the email was greatly biased…especially since Palestine was not mentioned once in the email, reaffirming the settler colonialism belief that Palestine does not exist,” Nash said.

According to Nash, the bias in Ryan’s email is affecting how students behave on Grounds, especially towards Muslim and Palestinian students, leaving them feeling uncomfortable and unsupported. 

Akhanous also condemned Ryan’s email, calling it greatly biased and emphasizing that it did not mention Palestine, but rather used the words “Gaza” and “West Bank.” According to Akhanous, this use of language expresses a lack of neutrality by failing to address the Palestinian state. 

“The job of the University president does not consist of making political statements, but rather of supporting all students,” said Akhanous.

Akhanous said the two students will be introducing a resolution next week to condemn Ryan’s email, to ask for equal support for all University students and to call for neutrality in further University communications. 

As part of Student Council’s speaker series, the general body also heard a presentation from Michelle Bair, director of Hoos First — an organization within Student Affairs that provides support and resources for first-generation and limited income students. Bair presented information about the group’s initiatives, which include an upcoming Hoos First celebration week Nov. 6 through Nov. 11 and include a resource fair, a run with Ryan and an FGLI faculty and staff appreciation reception.

Bair also announced the opening of a Hoos First center that will be located in the lower level of Newcomb. Bair said that the center is currently undergoing renovations and plans to open January 2024. 

This presentation was the first of a speaker series organized by Student Council in which it will invite various members of the University community to speak to the general body. Next week, Faculty Senate Chair Michael Kennedy will give a presentation Tuesday 6:30 pm in the Newcomb South Meeting Room. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Second-year College student Rep. Kyle Nash called Ryan’s statement biased against Palestinian and Muslim students. However, it was actually fourth-year College student Rep. Tyler Busch. The article has been updated to reflect this change. 

Comments