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The Daily Tar Heel

Congress Denies Funding For 2nd LGBT Position

The first LGBT coordinator position, which is new this semester, is allocated a $1,500 stipend. Members of several LGBT groups asked for a second $1,500 stipend to create a second position.

The students whose request was denied said they were upset by the decision. "(Congress is) an extraordinarily irresponsible group," said Fred Hashagen, the current LGBT coordinator.

"They didn't let us respond to the concerns we could have responded to very easily."

Glenn Grossman, Carolina Alternative Meetings of Professional and Graduate Students chairman, said that a second coordinator is desperately needed because Hashagen has been overworked all semester.

"Five to 10 hours a week is what Student Congress gave us money for (last semester), and there are some weeks when (Fred's) working 30 hours or more," said Grossman.

"So he's already maxed out, and we really need more support."

Grossman and Hashagen said a second coordinator is needed to address the safety concerns of the LGBT community because of two recent murders in Durham that involved allegedly gay victims.

"Basically what we're looking for is someone else to devote their time specifically to a response to the murders in Durham," Hashagen said.

No Congress members were available for comment Tuesday night.

In addition, a lengthy debate by Congress members over whether to place a referendum on the spring election ballot was still unresolved at press time Tuesday night.

The referendum urges N.C. lawmakers "to pass meaningful campaign finance reform this coming legislative session."

If put on the ballot by Congress and passed by the student body, an official copy of the referendum would be sent to the N.C. General Assembly.

Many members, including Speaker Mark Townsend, said they believe a referendum supporting an idea or sending a message, as opposed to one enacting a tangible, on-campus change, would set a "dangerous precedent."

Townsend said congressional resolutions, not referendums, should be the preferred means of expressing student sentiment.

"This is why we were elected," said Townsend, in regard to Congress' power to pass resolutions as a show of student support for an issue.

Townsend said he specifically fears that a referendum supporting an idea "opens the door for anyone on campus" to do the same.

But Gregory Wahl, Student Affairs Committee chairman, said he favors placing the referendum on the ballot, emphasizing students' right to do so as expressed in the Student Code.

"Can you imagine we're setting a dangerous precedent by letting students exercise their right?" he said.

Earlier in the meeting, Congress swore in its six newest members, who were elected in Tuesday's campus elections.

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