SPU Dance struggles for funds

Kassidy Crown

Club constitution needs to be reanalyzed to support all clubs

 

Seattle Pacific University has a multitude of clubs, from cheer teams to disability advocacy groups to Krav Maga.

Lately, some clubs have faced issues with acquiring the funding to successfully hold events; the SPU dance team having a particular difficult time.

Due to club restrictions, and the strict definition of what a “club” is, the SPU dance team has had to ask that exceptions be made in order for the team to be able to perform and act as if they were a club.

Jessica Cunnington, the dance team’s captain, admits that some of these exceptions could be prevented if the dance team were to be represented by the athletics department, and if the department would take them under its wing.

The club constitution could also be reworked to be more mindful and supportive of clubs such as the cheer team and dance team which are not represented by the athletics department.

However, she admits that this is hard to do with constant structural changes within student leadership.

Due to club guidelines, funding for the dance team is limited, with strict restrictions in place for what the team is allowed to use it for. Cunnington says that “annually, the dance team participates in men/women home basketball games in winter quarter … and competition season in spring quarter.”

Despite this involvement, the SPU dance team is mostly a self-funded club. They pay for all of their own costume costs and other expenses.

This year, the club was only given $150 by the Committee for Student Clubs to spend, which is less than last year.

Even though they have been given this money, they are not granted permission to use it unless they use it for something like a pizza party, and as such they still have a large portion of the money sitting untouched.

By restricting the use of money for the dance team, SPU sends the message that it does not care about all of its clubs, and that it may not be dedicated to the expression of art.

This is even more frustrating for Cunnington, leading a self-funded team, especially when one considers the fact that they are all paying for other college costs.

“Since we are usually denied to use our funds for [costumes],” Cunnington notes, “we don’t use our club fund at all.”

Cunnington wishes that the Club Association, ASSP and Student Involvement would support the dance team more.

“What it really boils down to is a two way street between us transitioning to being represented by Athletics since we are a team, or SPU as a whole rewriting the club constitution to include clubs like the dance and cheer team since none of us are represented by Athletics, but we don’t fit the requirements/mold of what a ‘club’ is,” she said.

If student leaders were more informed on the dance team’s situation, then it is possible that they could have more productive and helpful meetings when an event request form is submitted for competitions that exceed the club fund amount, Cunnington explains.

With increasing reports of schools defunding arts programs across the nation, it is even more important that SPU promotes its clubs and their ability to create art.

The dance team needs more support from ASSP, “who should want to know and understand our positions since they are students who are elected to these positions to better the student body.”

Cunnington notes that “when denied by our own student leaders, it shows the lack of progression that needs to be made for clubs as a whole.”

This lack of progress, as Cunnington points out, does not just affect her club, but clubs as a whole. Lack of funding for the dance team prevents them from supporting university athletics through performances.

Lack of funding also prevents them from promoting SPU during competition. By limiting this, you are cutting off an important club that allows self-expression and the production of a form of art.

In a world that increasingly devalues art, this attitude of indifference should not be what a Christian university should be displaying.

As a Christian university, SPU should be a light to forge a path through the darkness, a path that helps to promote all forms of expression.

Better communication between clubs and ASSP must happen, or SPU risks promoting an atmosphere of apathy towards its very mission.