SU displays abuse of power in Bauhaus cut

On March 4, Student Union put a damper on the impending spring breaks of architecture students. In a stunning move, Treasury and Senate passed a general budget that eliminated direct funding for Bauhaus.

The general budget increased funding for class councils and Social Programming Board, both of which are very visible spenders of the student activities fee. This is a good feature of the budget, as all of those organizations will organize programming that is open and appealing to large numbers of students. However, cutting out another event that is open and appealing to a large number of students is contradictory to the emphasis placed on these factors when making decisions.

Bauhaus is a great tradition for Washington University, one of only five listed on the University’s Wikipedia page. It is a school-sponsored costume party around Halloween, making it popular. Upperclassmen will attend for the free alcohol while freshmen will trek to the front of campus for the floor bonding experiences that will inevitably occur. Bauhaus is a valuable event for the University and should be funded.

While we are glad that Vice President of Finance Nick Palermo is planning on working closely with Architecture School Council on an appeal for funding that will take place in the fall, meetings between Palermo and ASC should already have been taking place well before the budget was set to pass.

The reason given for not funding Bauhaus was that the current location in the Givens Hall parking lot is “not sustainable for long-term funding,” according to Palermo. About half of the $26,270 allocated for 2013’s Bauhaus went toward security, fencing and other costs related to the current site. SU is trying to encourage ASC to find a new location but went about things the wrong way.

Strong-arming lower bodies into reform may work for the federal government, but that is not the sort of behavior we want to see from Student Union. While the concerns with Bauhaus’ current setup may be valid, they were just as valid last March, when the current year’s allocations were made. Palermo and SU should have begun working with ASC immediately after Bauhaus last October so the scramble for an appeal that will now have to take place could have been avoided. At the very least, ASC should have been notified of the concerns in a timely manner so changes could be made. More broadly, it is worrying that SU’s primary means of addressing its concerns about Bauhaus was just to cut ASC’s funds.

This whole episode demonstrates an alarming lack of communication within Student Union, something we hope will be remedied quickly. With SU elections set for next week, now would be a good time for introspection on what this year’s slate did well and what was handled poorly.

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening at Washington University and beyond.