By Len La Rocca
While police brutality is resonating with many after the murder of George Floyd, student organizations have felt halted in their attempts to fundraise for Black Lives Matter due to a College policy prohibiting charitable fundraising without Student Finance Board oversight. The College has responded with an expedited approval process.
“The College applauds efforts to support these causes and for this reason will amend, temporarily, its fundraising policy to accommodate such initiatives,” said Sean Stallings, the vice president for student affairs.
Student organizations can fill out an online application requesting permission to raise money for their specific cause. The College will respond to requests “within approximately two business days,” according to Stallings. Students will now be able to raise charitable funds using Venmo and PayPal.
While the community is grateful for the change, students like Marcus Allen, an African American studies major and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, feel the previous policy reflected poorly on the College.
“This alarmed me for the greater good of national needs and global issues as well as for community growth,” Allen said. “It made me question what does TCNJ think about community planning and service to the community? How can organizations, specifically cultural organizations like my own, be a hand in our community if we cannot assist the way that may assist said community?”
The temporary policy change comes after a Change.org petition with over 3,000 signatures calling for action from College President Kathryn Foster to allow student organizations to fundraise for the Black Lives Matter movement.
While this policy change is only temporary, many students feel that moments of nationwide distress highlight a need for a permanent fix.
“Please know that the fundraising policy as originally drafted was never intended to be a barrier to students and groups who wanted to support their communities and other social causes,” Stallings said. “Rather, it was meant to ensure the college remains in compliance with a host of legal and tax issues that come with the use of its name in soliciting money, and that the donors receive the appropriate tax credit. We will monitor the effectiveness of this interim policy with the possibility of updating our standing policy in the future.”
Nevertheless, many students are grateful for the policy change and hope it is a sign of things to come.
“I applaud the swiftness in the way the College has handled this concern,” Allen said. “To me, it shows that the school is taking steps to pay closer attention to the concerns of students, which continues to be an issue. As we move forward, I hope that TCNJ continues with quick action and resolve with regards to concerns by students. And to the students, let this prove again that we do have a voice and we will be heard.”