Despite encountering difficulties in receiving funding for their third annual semi-formal, the Irvine Queers hosted ‘Time After Time,’ their 80’s-themed dance on the night of Feb. 26 in Monarch Bay.
According to Freddie Diaz, IQ senior advisor, although ASUCI funded the Irvine Queers semi-formal the past two years, this year they were denied funding for the dance.
ASUCI President Sammi Shaaya explained that generally ASUCI does not fund club or organization events where an entrance fee is charged.
‘It’s not free money. In any situation where there are tickets being sold, where there is any kind of revenue being taken, the initial intention of the club should be to return it to [ASUCI],’ Shaaya said. ‘Although we understand that about 99 percent of these clubs are in a situation where the money is specifically there because they don’t charge.’
Shaaya also said the dance was not funded because to ASUCI’s knowledge, IQ did not make any effort to do independent fundraising.
‘The initial reason, if I remember correctly, as to why they were not funded was because when they were asked as to what kind of fundraising they do, they don’t do any,’ Shaaya said. ‘There was no effort on their behalf towards contributing to the event.’
Shaaya explained that he supports the LGBT community and that the reason for not funding their semi-formal had nothing to do with their organization’s affiliation.
‘When an application comes in for funding, the committee strictly looks at what they’re asking for with complete disregard to the name or affiliation of those participating in the event. So it’s really based on the finances,’ Shaaya said.
Diaz disagrees with ASUCI’s contention that IQ should not be provided funding because they were not doing adequate fundraising. Diaz doesn’t believe this should be an issue.
‘Nowhere in the requirements to ask for funding does it say that if you ask for money you must be doing fundraising,’ Diaz said.
Diaz also explained that in the past it proved difficult to impossible to raise funds on campus because non-gays and non-lesbians as well as closeted gays and lesbians were reluctant to be associated with the organization.
‘On campus, at least last year, we could not do fundraising,’ Diaz said. ‘If we go on campus and we have our Irvine Queer’s banner, no one will approach us because everyone will be like, ‘if I go there, they’re gonna think I’m gay or bi- or lesbian’ and so they don’t want that stigma if they support the LGBT community. That’s always been a problem.’
Ryan Sanders, ASUCI chair of the finance committee and legislative council social science representative added that IQ’s dance was not funded because it was not clear who would be able to attend the dance.
‘When [Judicial Board] did a review, they established that we could not fund [the dance] because it was not clear whether or not it was open to all students so it was overruled by [Judicial] board,’ Sanders said. ‘One of the primary stipulations in giving out funding is that the event or program has to be open to all students.’
Diaz explained that although IQ did not directly state the dance was open to all students, the dance was not meant to exclude anyone. He felt that ASUCI incorrectly assumed otherwise.
‘Part of it was like why wouldn’t it be. Just because it’s LGBT related doesn’t mean that not everyone is invited,’ Diaz said. ‘I don’t know why we have to explicitly tell you that it’s open to everyone. Everyone is welcome to attend but of course the target is so that the LGBT community will feel safe to go to a dance where it is okay to be yourself.’
Diaz maintained that the intention of the event was to create a safe, accepting environment for everyone, especially a place for same-sex couples to be able to dance and hold hands with one another.
‘The IQ winter formal is not just a dance … for many it is the only dance, semi-formal [at] UC Irvine where you can actually bring your same-sex partner and not feel that everyone is watching you [or] that someone might make a comment to you,’ Diaz said. ‘I think it is important to emphasize that the goal is not to make it a ‘queer’ event but to make it an event of acceptance.’
IQ Chair Charmaine Chan also felt that having the semi-formal was necessary for the LGBTQI community.
‘All throughout high school, I was in a sense, ‘in the closet,” Chan said. ‘Because of that, I found myself not attending school dances or proms mainly because I knew I couldn’t bring [my girlfriend] with me to the dance. So now in college with IQ providing people a dance or a venue of sorts, we can now be whoever we want without gossip [or] questions.’
Diaz said that ASUCI’s decision not to fund the IQ formal has had it’s positive outcomes, such as mobilizing IQ to have an ex-oficio present at ASUCI Legislative Council meetings.
Diaz added that though ASUCI did not provide funding for their semi-formal, ASUCI gave IQ funding for a lecture series and for events related to National Coming Out Week. Because IQ began the year with only about $40 in funds, it was necessary to receive funding for all three requested events from ASUCI.
Diaz explained that with the help of Lisa Cornish, director of graduate and family housing, and Robert Ameele, executive director of undergraduate housing, holding the dance this year was possible. Both graduate and family housing as well as undergraduate housing each gave IQ $400 to use towards their annual semi-formal.
Cornish said that after receiving an e-mail regarding the perils IQ encountered in funding their dance and meeting with a few members of IQ, she along with Ameele decided to fund the dance.
‘I thought it served a great purpose for the LGBT community and advocates and supporters of it, Cornish said. ‘We try to pick up on a program a year that we feel has been underfunded.’
Diaz said that although the $800 provided by housing would not cover all costs because it cost more than $1,500 to hold the event, paying a $5 to $6 cover charge would hopefully cover some of the costs.
Diaz said that the cover charge was more than enough to make up the money they did not receive elsewhere, leaving approximately $50 in profit. He said the surplus money will go towards an appreciation event for the 40-plus volunteers that made the dance possible.