“If [the] UC decided not to give us our money, Eliot students would have a good reason to opt out, and, in that case, probably the UC would lose more than $12,000,” Vayisoglu said. Prasad stressed that nobody wanted to resort to this response.
Eliot House Co-Master Gail A. O’Keefe predicted that about 75 percent of Eliot residents would have opted out of the fee, and said Associate Dean of Student Life David R. Friedrich had provided information about how students might waive the fee. The deadline for waiving the fee was Sept. 30, however, according to the Student Receivables Office’s website.
Mayopoulos, while lauding the agreement reached with Eliot, criticized the prospect of such a response.
“Any student group, including a House, could tell their members to not pay the UC fee,” he said. “But I'm not sure why any HoCo would choose to hide its budget from the rest of the school, choose to opt out of the UC funding, and would then encourage its residents not to pay a fund that supports all student groups and activities. I don't think that’s in the spirit of community.”
Eliot HoCo leaders, on the other hand, contend that the circumstances surrounding the spring legislation mandating the budget disclosure in the first place are cause for concern.
“The way that the legislation happened was something that really upset us because this wasn’t a process that we were involved in,” Prasad said. She added that when Eliot reached out to voice their opinion last year, their “concerns were completely disregarded.”
O’Keefe questioned the ability of the UC to place demands on House Committees in the first place.
“The Hoco and all of the HoCos are autonomous bodies,” O’Keefe said. “They’re not beholden to the UC. HoCos were established to be the liaison between the students and the House masters...so for them to be having any say over our budget...there’s no basis for it.”
Mayopoulos disagreed, arguing that the UC is committed to transparency, and that students deserve to compare sources of revenue across all Houses.
“As the distributor of student money, the UC has a responsibility to make sure that we know where the money is going, and that it’s going towards groups that are using the money effectively for students,” he said.
Still, he characterized Eliot’s concerns as “very reasonable,” saying he doesn’t think Eliot students should be judged on their HoCo finances alone. According to Mayopoulos, they use “innovative” measures and work “very hard” to secure funding.
Despite past tension, both Eliot HoCo and Mayopoulos said they hope to continue discussing unresolved concerns in the future and are happy for the time being that they were able to reach an agreement on budget disclosure.
Notwithstanding any problems discovered under further review, all House committees will receive their funding in the next week, according to Mayopoulos.
—Crimson staff writer Steven S. Lee contributed to the reporting of this story.
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.