At Cornell, nothing says Happy Valentine's Day like...a Planned Parenthood fundraiser?
Freshman and sophomore class councils at Ivy League school Cornell University are hosting their first ever Valentine’s gala to raise funds for a local non-profit. The selected beneficiary of their philanthropic efforts? Planned Parenthood.
Cornell's “Pink Gala,” set to be held Thursday, is being advertised as “a night of amazing food, great performances by Cornell dance teams & a-cappella groups, as well as good music, all to benefit an incredible cause.”
Tickets to the event are being sold at $10 per person, with all proceeds going to benefit a local chapter of Planned Parenthood.
All four class councils are registered as a single student organization which receives part of its funding from the student government’s by-line allocation process, meaning that they receive student fees. The councils are intended to “foster a sense of unity and pride within the individual class years and among the entire Cornell community” according to the university's website page.
The organization of Class Councils is one of 30 student groups at Cornell that acquire money from student fees. It is allocated $2.35 annually from each student. During the fall 2018 semester, Cornell reported 15,182 enrolled undergraduates. That fee, paid by each student, amounts to an operating budget of over $35,000 for the organization.
Isaac Schorr, a junior at Cornell and Executive Vice President of the Cornell College Republicans, wrote in a letter published in The Cornell Daily Sun that “while Student Activity Fee funds are spent by many individual organizations in ways that others may find offensive or objectionable, the key difference here is that the Class Councils are meant to represent an entire year of undergraduate students — rather than some small constituency.”
He also expanded upon his distaste with the group in his piece, calling the decision by the two councils “completely inappropriate and extraordinarily insensitive.”
In an article previewing the event published in the Daily Sun, Paulina Kelly, a Class Council's co-chair, said that she was proud of the council taking on such a polarizing topic “and being leaders in areas that are kind of controversial.”
The “decision by the 2021 and 2022 Class Councils is deeply disrespectful to pro-life, conservative, and religious Cornellians whose student activity fees are being put towards a cause that many of us see as morally reprehensible — akin to murder," Brendan Dodd, another student who is the Vice President of External Operations for Cornell's College Republicans, told Campus Reform.
"It’s perfectly reasonable for pro-choice students to want to raise money for Planned Parenthood, but a body designed to represent the entire class ought to choose a cause less divisive," Dodd added.
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