As members of the Undergraduate Student Government Senate, we wish to address the concerns raised by Tara Campbell in Eric Wendorf’s article “USG Senate rejects tax resolution.” USG’s mission is to represent and advocate on behalf of the entire undergraduate population. No beneﬁt for any group in the student body, regardless of size, is too small for USG to consider or explore. This holds true for the Greek community.
When considering the resolution, we were concerned both about the potential impacts on the larger student body and the speciﬁc language included in the Congressional bill.
One of the driving reasons behind this bill is the current disparity in tax-exempt status of universities and of National Greek Organizations. Multiple senators voiced their concern that if this disparity disappeared, donations to Greek organizations would increase at the expense of donations to the university that beneﬁt the entire student body.
The bill as it stands claims increased donations due to tax-exempt status could support “collegiate housing and infrastructure grants … to provide, improve, operate, or maintain collegiate housing property [meaning Greek housing],” but made no guarantees that the grants would be used for this purpose. We found the language of the bill vague. It does not mention safety and is subject to change. In short, it leaves much unsaid. The bill has been in Congress for two years and has been subject to numerous changes. If the Senate is to support anything, we wish to be sure of its ﬁnal content rather than give a carte blanche endorsement.
We reafﬁrm our support for the Greek community in advocating for safer residences and pledge to work with them moving forward. In a holistic evaluation of the current situation, however, we do not believe that this resolution would have served the goals of the student body as a whole.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated.