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The Daily Tar Heel

Finance ChairmanResponds to CriticismToward Student Congress

As Finance Committee chairman, I would like to respond to the plethora of articles regarding Student Congress and the way in which we allocate funds.

The first article ("Student Congress Grapples With Financial Strain," Oct. 30) remains fairly on target. The one problem I have with this article is whom The Daily Tar Heel chose to contact in this story. Why in the world was Student Body Secretary Michael Woods queried in regard to financial matters? Secretary Woods has made no effort to attend the open Finance Committee meetings, nor has he attended any full Student Congress meetings, save the one where he was appointed to his illustrious post. So in what regard does the DTH, or Michael Woods, feel the student body secretary is the right person to contact with fiscal concerns?

Quite ironic considering Woods wrote a letter in response to Craig Warner's column in which he stressed knowing all the facts of an issue before speaking. For some reason, the word hypocritical comes to mind.

Ashley Stephenson's column ("Kongress Kids Blew Budget Too Early" Oct. 30) is the one which I find most offensive. Ashley has taken her personal bias for Hip Hop Nation to a higher level in this column. What Ashley fails to elaborate on is the fact that Student Congress is starting off this year nearly $20,000 in the hole. If the 82nd Student Congress had the extra $20,000 to spend, we would be at least $15,000 in the green and no one would be complaining.

Secondly, Student Congress has held the same standards for every group, regardless of whether or not it came in early September or late October. The whole issue of first come, first serve is fair. Had Ashley's favorite group of Hip Hop Nation come to the annual spring budget process last spring, perhaps it would have enough money to carry through with its big event. Perhaps if Hip Hop Nation, who has known of its event for quite some time now, had come to us in late August, it would have the needed money. Instead, it chose to wait until the 11th hour. Indeed, I am sorry that not all groups will receive all the money that they request. If I could, I would allocate money hand over fist to groups who request it.

Ashley Stephenson should review all the aspects of a problem before complaining about it. Too bad poor DTH columnists can't be ousted by election.

Mark Townsend

Finance Committee Chairman

History and Political Science

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