The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 28th

Student Congress debates for-profit funding

The nominations to re-appoint sophomore Sam Pranikoff and graduate student David Goldberg were debated and then tabled amid questions about the committee’s freedom to appropriate money to a for-profit organization.

Student Body Vice President Kyle Villemain introduced the Executive Branch’s four new nominees to the Safety and Security Committee.

“I think that a lot of the committee’s troubles have stemmed from a lack of clear procedures and transparency,” Villemain said.

“I think this is an opportunity to reset and think about what Safety and Security’s role should be on campus and move on from the events of the last six months.”

Two nominees, Andrew Wood and Francesca Gines were appointed without debate.

Pranikoff and Goldberg will have their nominations reexamined after new guidelines are set to clearly outline the power of the Safety and Security Committee, so confusion over the group’s ability to appropriate money does not reoccur.

Members of Student Congress expressed concern about the roles Pranikoff and Goldberg played on the Safety and Security Committee in 2013, when the committee allowed $15,000 from student fees to be allocated to Buzz Rides, the for-profit company that gives students free rides to their off-campus homes from Franklin Street. Buzz Rides makes most of its money from advertising on its vehicles.

“I am against any scenario where student fees can be put toward any for-profit organization. I want to make sure that it’s taken care of so student fees, in Safety and Security Committee or otherwise, can’t be put toward for-profit organizations,” said Ivy Hardy, speaker of Student Congress. “This type of thing is not in the spirit of the Code.”

Pending resolution of the Student Code issues, Student Body Treasurer Brittany Best froze the Safety and Security Committee’s account in May, halting its ability to transfer funds. During Tuesday’s meeting, Best said she will unfreeze the account if the committee meets quorum and comes to the same decision.

SafeWalk, which pays its student walking partners $8 per hour, is in financial jeopardy after Student Congress ruled last week to stop giving the group any additional money.

Some Congress members expressed concern that Safewalk would have to shut down because the group won’t be able to pay its walkers until it crafts a better business plan to present to Congress.

“Obviously SafeWalk is a valuable service provided to the University, and the student government will ensure that it survives and is sustainable,” Best said.


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