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Friday, September 29, 2023

Student Government

SGA passes resolution to allow grants for Greek housing

The Student Government Association passed a resolution unanimously through the Student Life Committee in support of the Congressional passage of the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act at Wednesday night’s meeting held in the SGA Senate Chambers.

The bill, which was introduced on April 9, seeks to revise the current Internal Revenue Code “to allow tax-exempt charitable or educational organizations” to make grants towards university housing and residential infrastructure improvements “to certain tax-exempt social clubs (e.g. college fraternities and sororities) which apply such grants to their collegiate housing property,” according to the Library of Congress’ summary of the bill. Though the bill was passed unanimously, some voters abstained.

UH’s Greek life would improve significantly if the bill were to pass, said resolution co-author and SGA Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management Senator Ashley Davis-Nelson. It would bolster the expansion efforts of UH Greeks by allowing them to improve on and expand their current infrastructure, allowing the number of sororities and fraternities represented at the University to increase.

“It would help Greek in general,” Davis-Nelson said. “Right now … we’re trying to expand and bring other sororities and fraternities to UH (through Panhellenic). The more grants we get, the more we can move Greek life onto the UH campus.”

“We’re limited in spaces, and we’re really trying to push for fraternities and sororities, but we can’t house that many because we’re in town homes.”

The resolution was co-authored by Davis-Nelson, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Senator Jonathan Garcia and Claire Montant. All three co-authors are members of UH’s Greek population — both Montant and Davis-Nelson are members of Zeta Tau Alpha, and Garcia is a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

The resolution passed by SGA asserts that the bill would result in “(making) college more affordable” at no additional cost to taxpayers and would help to ensure safer housing for University students through “encouraging charitable contributions to collegiate housing for installation of life-saving equipment,” including alarm systems and smoke detectors.

Garcia noted that the only not-for-profit housing UH currently offers are the Greek-affiliate town homes of the Sigma Chi and Kappa Alpha fraternities. These two organizations currently use their own funding and endowments to provide housing for their members.

“I was actually approached by Claire and Ashley, and this would help all of Greek (life),” Garcia said. “I’m a part of a colony (through Sigma Alpha Epsilon), and we’re in the process of trying to get housing through charter, and this would help that. Ultimately, we’re all trying to expand to a Greek Row.”

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