Nicole Leung (junior, Biochemistry) and Rachel Deitch (senior, Religious Studies)

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After reading the article titled “Senate Funds Dance Production Despite Probable Embezzlement” in last week’s paper we were surprised on many fronts.

The title of the article suggests that Dance Production should not receive funding because of past “embezzlement.” While Dance Production is working diligently to find the missing money, there is no evidence suggesting embezzlement, and this accusation in the article was quite disconcerting and inappropriate. In fact, the term “embezzlement” was never said in the Senate meeting. This term should not be used lightly, and its use in the article was inflammatory.

We are shocked at the animosity presented in this article and the lack of support from senate we are just hearing of now. We recognize that 3,000 dollars is a lot of money, but the article fails to acknowledge many of the other actions Dance Production has taken to remedy the situation. Firstly, we are working with the administration to find the missing money. We have met with Dean Avery, Dean Tamara Rice, and we have been in contact with Gabriella Niculescu. We are also doing fundraisers to help close the gap the missing money has created. “Dance Week,” for example, is the fundraiser taking place this week that the whole school is welcome to attend. We then approached ASOC Senate for help because as stated in their mission: “the object and purpose of the Senate shall be to serve as a voice for the student body, support students and their activities, identify and act on student needs, approve funding for recognized clubs and organizations” and they seemed like the best organization to approach first.

At the funding meeting, we informed Senate of the missing funds and the actions we have taken thus far. Embezzlement was never mentioned. We articulated that we are a student-funded organization, that does not receive funding from the Theater department or Athletics and that this is a unique situation that has not happened in the past. We answered any questions presented at the meeting, and we must have eliminated much of the concern because after deliberation no senator opposed the funding request. For which we are extremely grateful. This allotment of $3000 is not Dance Production’s attempt to exploit Senate. We feel that any concerns Senate had should have been brought up at the meeting, and not to a third party after the fact. In the article, Aliza Goldsmith states that we “should have approached different offices for money or had fundraisers.” However, while we are doing fundraisers and certainly approaching different offices on campus, we came to Senate first because as a student organization, we felt Senate would be an appropriate place to start. She also mentions that it is not Senate’s “responsibility to be the sole supporter of clubs,” but we would like to emphasize that Dance Production is still primarily self-funded and is receiving help from other sources. Although $3000 is a lot of money, it is nowhere close to the total amount necessary to put on Dance Production every year.

We feel that the writer failed to note that the most-quoted senator in the article was absent from the funding meeting. The purpose of the article might have been better served if more senators who had attended the meeting had been included in the article. We want to stress that we are very appreciative of the funding we received from Senate. Any questions or concerns can be directed to dancepro@oxy.edu.

[Editor’s Note: The term “embezzlement” was explicitly used in the Dec. 1 Senate meeting, and is quoted as such in the Dec. 4 article “Senate Funds Dance Production Despite Probable Embezzlement.”

In addition, while Senator Aliza Goldsmith was not in attendance at the Nov. 17 meeting, she had a proxy and was in attendance at the Dec. 1 meeting.]

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