As a member of the Student Labor Action Project, senior James Robinson assists in various labor conflicts and helps fight for worker’s rights.
Last December, when the Temple Association of University Professionals contract with the administration expired, Robinson and 10 other SLAP members stood silently and held up apples in protest during a Board of Trustees meeting.
“It was a symbolic way of showing our support,” Robinson said.
After two years of patiently waiting, Robinson and the members of SLAP will have the opportunity to apply for Temple Student Government allocations next semester.
Robinson, a history and American studies major, is set to graduate in January.
SLAP is one of more than 90 student organizations that either did not apply or did not re-register for TSG allocations this semester.
TSG provides $1,500 per semester or $3,000 per year to groups that apply for allocations. In return, groups must send representatives to attend general assembly and committee meetings.
TSG has a $170,000 allocations budget for the 2005-2006 semester, a $58,000 increase from last year. This year’s budget was primarily funded through the General Activities Fund and as a result, all programs and events had to be open to the public.
Robinson’s main problem with the allocations process has nothing to do with TSG, but with Student Activities office, where he said the steps it takes to register a new group are long and demanding.
“There is a lot of paperwork involved and if you don’t get everything correct the first time, it sets you back for weeks,” Robinson said. “Every student group doesn’t have the patience that we do.”
SLAP receives its funding from Jobs for Justice, the national organization that it is affiliated with.
“We still get by on only a shoestring budget,” Robinson said.
Other groups are still struggling to find alternate ways of receiving funding.
“We have no funds at all,” said Courtney Stoll, a graduate student who is the treasurer for the Graduate Association of Visual Anthropology. “I’m still trying to think of fundraisers and other different ideas that could raise [our group] money.”
Although GAVA holds most of its discussions through a listserv, Stoll said the organization used TSG allocations last year to help fund their smaller conferences and to pay for guest speakers.
According to Stoll, GAVA paid to send members to a conference in November and, for reasons never fully explained to her, did not receive reimbursement from TSG until May.
Stoll also said the main reason why GAVA did not re-register for TSG allocations was because of the general assembly and committee meetings that group representatives are required to attend. She said the meetings do not sufficiently address the concerns of graduate students and are also time consuming.
“I can see how TSG is good for undergraduates,” Stoll said, noting that she attended all of the meetings for her group last year. “But graduate students are very busy and don’t have as much interest in discussing things like Spring Fling.”
Junior Doug Mazzocco, the co-president and co-founder of the Sports and Recreation Professional Association, expressed concern about the “unbelievable amount of time [the allocations process] takes” and said that Student Activities lost one of his organization’s forms and “never got back to us on another.”
Mazzocco said his organization – established in the 2005 spring semester and currently the only group designed specifically for Temple Sports and Recreation majors – uses alternative options to fund its activities.
“It is likely to be much more efficient to raise our own money through dues and department fundraising ideas,” Mazzocco said.
Robinson, who transferred to Temple from George Washington University during his sophomore year, said the student organization allocation process was a lot easier at his old school.
“You just went in front of the student government and basically you were in,” he said.
“In an ideal world, the university would be able to give funds to every organization, as long as they could prove that they are an organization and explain what the would use the money for,” Stoll said. “It would be nice if they could do that without all the extra meetings and steps of involvement that you have to go through.”
Tyson McCloud can be reached at Tyson@temple.edu.