Greeks cite strict ASG rules as basis of split

Julia Neyman

First last year, then last week, two governing bodies of Northwestern’s Greek community decided to disaffiliate from Associated Student Government funding. The minimal benefits were not worth complying with the stringent regulations of the Student Activities Finance Board, Greek officials said.

But severing financial ties to ASG doesn’t mean that the Greek groups — namely, the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association — will be less involved in the NU community.

IFC President Mitch Holzrichter said now that Greek organizations have left SAFB, they will use their new freedom to work closely with the rest of ASG to integrate themselves with NU.

“What disaffiliating allowed us to do was get rid of the SAFB connection, which is a largely negative connection, and work more with ASG executive board members to see how we could work more closely with all of campus,” Holzrichter said.

ASG Student Services Vice President Alex Lurie, a Communication junior, agreed that the split should not prevent programming between the two groups in the future.

“I am more positive than ever before that (ASG and Greek groups) will be able to continue working together in putting on successful programs in a cohesive way,” said Holzrichter, who also serves as the business manager for The Daily.

Panhel officials did not return several phone calls from The Daily for comments on the group’s departure from ASG.

Holzrichter said Greek leaders made a conscious decision last year to unify their organizations with the rest of campus and have since put on several events for all students. He said that during Spring Quarter, IFC was involved in organizing Dillo Day and added that both IFC and Panhel helped organize First Friday at the beginning of the school year.

“We have put a lot of time and money into events to try to reach out to all of campus, not just our specific subcommunities,” Holzrichter said.

These events may have triggered IFC and Panhel’s decision to resign from ASG funding, said Ray Bourdeau, president of Beta Theta Pi.

An ill-fated concert, for which ASG had given IFC and Panhel $20,000 in 2002, was delayed for two years because of the meager funding and even then the show never materialized because of executive board turnovers, said Bourdeau, a McCormick senior.

Bourdeau said the lengthy debacle made ASG hesitant to work with Greek organizations and created a rift between the groups. The concert pushed IFC to disaffiliate from ASG, and Bourdeau said he suspects it was a factor in Panhel’s decision to leave ASG as well.

“It was a stimulus for IFC to say (A status) is unnecessary for us,'” Bourdeau said. “We don’t need all of this unnecessary stress, so we said, ‘to hell with it.'”

Greek officials agreed that following the stringent guidelines and bureaucracy of ASG was not worth the effort.

“The audits, the annual reviews, and the financial processes were a hassle and a nuisance for (Greek groups, most of) whose funding comes from an outside source,” Holzrichter said.

Sigma Chi president Diego Berdakin said chapters receive large donations from alumni, so the loss of funding from ASG will not pose a financial problem.

“The decision doesn’t affect our chapter at all,” said Berdakin, a Weinberg sophomore. “I think the one difference is that we raise our IFC dues from $5 to $8 a member. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same as it has been.”

Holzrichter said since IFC disaffiliated, the organization has had more opportunities to work with ASG and non-Greek NU students without having to think about SAFB guidelines.

“I think it’s a lot better now,” Holzrichter said. “We are working with ASG as equals on a number of projects, and we have worked more closely with ASG as a whole (since we disaffiliated) than we ever had as an A-status group.”

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