Money Speaks Values

By Alexandra Haridopolos

Administrative employees at Guilford hide behind their process of “Quaker consensus” to avoid the question: who is really present during decision-making?

On Saturday, February 22nd, a group of 20 or so students including myself gathered at the Community Center to protest the Board of Trustees budgeting meeting.

At the outset, the meeting included well-known campus faces such as Aaron Fetrow and Max Carter. Yet, by the time votes were held, only the trustees were present.

How and where Guilford distributes its money defines its ideology.  However, those who distribute the money, the Board of Trustees, are those furthest removed from the day-to-day realities of campus life.

How can the needs of the community be prioritized if we are excluded from the process of allocating money?

“As students we want to be able to understand this process, we want to be able to participate in these discussions,” wrote students in a letter to the administration concerning the original APSA plan.

Even though the APSA committee revised their plan, the changes were still made behind closed doors without direct student involvement. And these changes aren’t good for the Multicultural Education Department.

The final version of the ASPA report, under the Multicultural Education Department’s section reads: “Utilizing student workers to fill the administrative needs represented in the report may be a viable way in the near term to augment staffing.”

Although this may sound encouraging of ‘student involvement’, it demonstrates that the administration is unwilling to sufficiently fund the MED to hire the staff needed to carry out “administrative needs”.

I have been an “involved student” twice here at Guilford. During my freshman year, Sara Minksy and I organized and analyzed the Diversity Climate Survey. Although it was an interesting opportunity, we had to pay to receive credit for it. In other words, we paid to work for the school.

I can say with confidence that a professional researcher would have been far better suited for this kind of a project. Clearly, Guilford is not interested in spending its money for this essential resource. Rather, they’d prefer their students to pay.

During January Term of my sophomore year, Tim Leisman, Sara Minsky, Jorge Zeballos and I worked together to develop lessons on multiculturalism and diversity for the First Year Experiences classes.

Once again, I paid the school a full January Term’s tuition to do this essential work.

“Not only is it part of the Diversity Plan’s objectives, but if we are going to be committed to our goal of being an Anti-Racist Institution, we need to introduce students to these issues when they first arrive” said Sara Minsky.

How did the school expect to complete this objective if they knowingly lacked the funds to do so?

I believe Guilford has the potential to live up to its core values, but we must adequately fund the resources necessary to do so. If the BOT continues to exclude students from their budgeting process, this goal is unlikely to be fulfilled.

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