The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday March 24th

Honor thy Court: Student Congress funding for Honor Court should be set

The Honor Court shouldn’t have to compete with other student groups for money. Its role is too important to student life and independent student governance.

The Honor Court ensures that University staff can’t arbitrarily punish students. And it allows students at the University to function as self-policing adults, not children in constant need of supervision.

Last week, members of Student Congress allowed the Honor Court to receive funding despite not having a certified treasurer, which groups are required to have to get money.

The Honor Court was the only student group for which Congress made an exception.

Frankly, we’re a bit surprised that the Honor Court wasn’t more vigilant in complying with the Student Code.

Honor Court Chairman Joseph Strader said the Honor Court’s treasurer was certified last April and didn’t realize he had to renew his certification after the fiscal year ended in June. The Honor Court should make sure that doesn’t happen again.

But the real problem is that the Honor Court has to compete with other student groups for student fee money. That needs to change.

“What we do is something we can’t stop doing,” Strader said.

He’s right.

The Honor Court needs to be held accountable and should comply with Congress’ rules.

But the court provides a service that is far too essential to ever face being denied money from Congress as student organizations make their pitch for why they should get a chunk of the $365,000 it allocates each year.

Student Congress Speaker Dakota Williams said Congress is already looking into pulling the Honor Court out of the usual funding process.

Williams said there are two options Congress is looking into. One would be to constitutionally guarantee the Honor Court a certain percentage of the student organizations fee, currently $39 per student.

The other option is to establish a separate student fee for the Honor Court altogether. Williams said he prefers this option because there’s already such a demand for the student government fee money.

We agree. The Honor Court only requested about $20,300 and was given $10,750.80. With about 18,000 undergraduates, a fee of $1 or $1.50 would cover the Honor Court’s needs.

Williams said that either proposal would have to pass Congress and then pass a student referendum.

Congress should work as quickly as possible to get an Honor Court fee referendum on a ballot by the fall. The Honor Court is simply too important to be included in the normal fee allocation process.

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