Despite foul-up, Women’s Co moves ahead with programming

Elaine Helm

Women’s Coalition leaders said they hoped to put a financial misconduct violation behind them and expand their formal and informal programming next year.

But funding recommendations for the group from the Student Activities Finance Board indicate that past mistakes will not be forgotten easily.

Though Women’s Co’s received funding for its largest events, two other requests were denied in part because of a summer incident in which former Women’s Co Director Beki Park was charged with illegitimately signing a $10,000 contract.

Group leaders expected SAFB to recommend a drop in funding from last year, so they planned two co-sponsorships and engaged in fund raising outside the Associated Student Government to make sure they can remain active on campus.

“We’ve been doing some fund raising on our own, so we’d be able to ask for less,” said Laura Millendorf, the group’s outgoing director.

SAFB fully funded Women’s Co’s two most popular events, Take Back the Night and Vagina Monologues, which drew about 1,000 students each this year, as well as Juice magazine. The board also approved one of Women’s Co’s co-sponsorships, bringing feminist leader Gloria Steinem to speak on campus Fall Quarter in conjunction with Hillel Cultural Life.

But SAFB denied requests for the group’s most expensive event: winter speaker Andrea Mitchell.

SAFB’s denial of Women’s Co’s winter speaker request is nothing new. For the past two years, the board has not recommended any money for the speaker, who traditionally gives the keynote address at the Women in Leadership Conference.

Each year Senate has provided money during supplemental funding, but Millendorf said the group wouldn’t ask Senate for the funds this year.

SAFB also denied a co-sponsored event with Arts Alliance and the Dolphin Show, although Senate chose to allocate $8,000 for the event during Wednesday’s ASG meeting.

Le’Jamiel Goodall, ASG’s financial vice president and SAFB chairman, expressed reservations about allocating additional money.

Goodall, a Speech and Weinberg junior, said Women’s Co received less money because of the financial misconduct charges.

“In addition, for a first-time co-sponsorship, they asked for too much money,” Goodall said.

Millendorf said Women’s Co draws large numbers to protests and events in response to women’s issues on campus, like the candlelight vigil drawing about 100 students to protest a speech by former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan this fall.

“That was something we planned a week before with no funding,” she said. “There are ASG funded groups on this campus that put on events drawing far less than 100 people.”