February 27, 2007

Don't believe the HYPE

Some Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) deserve to receive lavish Student Government Finance Committee (SGFC) funding: The top 10 recipients of SGFC consistently put on outstanding campus events that expand the cultural and artistic horizons of students on campus. But last year there was one undeserving group on that list: UChicago HYPE, which was funded lavishly for some of the most worthless events the University of Chicago has ever seen.

Over College Council objections, HYPE received thousands from Student Government (SG) to fund parties—and private busing to these parties—at exclusive Gold Coast night clubs; study breaks in bourgeois, nauseating cafés on the North Side; and receptions catered by Wolfgang Puck. But the coup de grâce was its yacht party. Last year, students descended on the Chicago River, paying a heavily subsidized admission fee, and had a wild party on SG’s dime. This sort of excess came to define the questionable decisions that took down the old slate and brought in “A New Day.”

Despite the fact that “A New Day” Vice President David Courchaine editorialized against HYPE’s funding last year (“SG Can Do a Better Job Funding Our RSOs,” 2/28/06), HYPE is alive and strong, thanks to SGFC funding. To the Maroon’s distress, HYPE received the ninth-most SGFC funding this year and is about to have its second yacht party.

If students want to drink, play dress up, or be on a boat, there are plenty of ways to do it. Partying on a yacht might be “BAWWWLINNNN’” [sic], according to an excited invitee on the Facebook event, but what possible justification exists beyond that? SGFC funding doesn’t pay for frat parties, and shouldn’t pay for this.

It would be one thing if every hardworking, legitimate RSO received the funding it demands, and more often than not, needs. But every penny given to a yacht party is a penny taken away from something that could actually be enriching for students.

To the Maroon and many students, HYPE represents the worst of the U of C. It is nothing but a materialistic, self-serving group that has managed to spend thousands in its mission to promote the antithesis of the life of the mind. In doing so, the Maroon can only imagine how many RSO leaders and students on financial aid HYPE has alienated.

The student body elected a new SG executive slate in what the Maroon interpreted to be largely a referendum on this kind of waste. It is time for SGFC to honor the will of the students: Put a stop to this once and for all.