Josh Farmer does not want his student fees supporting causes he does not stand for.
Farmer, a junior political science student, is upset that Action Awareness receives funds from Associated Students of CSU Funding Board.
“What I have a problem with is that I should support their free speech,” Farmer said. “I want my money to say things other than what they’re saying and they’re using it to say words that I would rather not say.”
Joe Ramagli, senior philosophy student and member of Action Awareness, thinks Farmer is getting angry for no reason. He said Action Awareness is a student organization that hopes to educate people about biodiversity, sustainability, peace and social justice.
“The student fees that we receive only ever go to fund events that are educational events,” Ramagli said. “There is no money coming from student fees to support our fast.”
Action Awareness has been conducting a fast in the Lory Student Center Plaza in protest of the war with Iraq. Ramagli said they have received juice donations from members of the community in order to sustain their fast.
Pam Sampson, assistant director for student involvement and adviser to the funding board, said they have mapped-out criteria detailing which organizations are eligible to receive student funds and when.
“If they are a political or religious group, they’re not allowed to access student fee money,” Sampson said. “Action Awareness did not put themselves into a political or religious category.”
Farmer thinks this is ridiculous.
“They present their organization as an organization that has nothing to do with politics,” Farmer said, “I don’t know what they’re trying to make people aware of other than politics.”
Ramagli maintains that they are in no way politically or religiously involved.
“We are active members of the community seeking social change,” Ramagli said. “It’s ridiculous to even talk about pulling our funding.”
The funding board really does not have much say in the matter, said Jesse Lauchner, current director of finance and future president of ASCSU. They are not allowed to make funding decisions based on the content of what student organizations support.
“The rules limit us from looking at what they’re trying to say,” Lauchner said. “We’d get in a whole heap of legal trouble if we were looking at content.”
The funding board is only allowed to ensure that events funded by student fees are educational in nature.
“It’s such a touchy subject,” Lauchner said. “We never want to get involved in taking sides.”