ASCSU votes to fund Chabad Passover event after reaching bylaw compromise

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Chabad board member Vlad Miller shares his frustration about the lack of communication between ASCSU and Chabad. (Photo by Abbie Parr)

ASCSU and Jewish organization Chabad of Northern Colorado met Thursday to discuss and vote on whether or not ASCSU would continue to fund Chabad’s annual Passover celebration, which is set to take place Friday April 22. Chabad was already approved for funding, but after an ad was posted suggesting money donations, it was unclear whether they were breaking an ASCSU bylaw regarding charging students.

Originally, ASCSU was going to vote yes or no on the funding itself, however both ASCSU and Chabad reached a compromise that satisfied both parties.

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Towards the end of the meeting, Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik proposed finding an alternative to the yes or no vote. In the compromise, Chabad will create a separate website where people can sign up for the Passover event and have the option to donate. The donation would go toward Chabad and have no association with the Passover event. 

In a vote of 4 to 1, ASCSU agreed to fund the Passover event as long as the donations were going straight to Chabad and not the Passover celebration.

Initially, ASCSU was going to fund the Passover celebration after a decision made in September to give $3,000 to Chabad to help pay for the Passover event. 

ASCSU bylaws do not allow funding for events that are considered fundraisers unless the money is paid back, and based on the way Chabad worded the ad, the event fit this definition.

“We have been putting on this event for 10 years.” said Michael Lichtbach, a former Chabad president. “we have never run into a problem like this before.”

Chabad board member Vlad Miller said he believes the issue was that there was not enough communication between ASCSU and Chabad. He said he hopes in the future that more communication will help to make sure this doesn’t happen again. 

“Last Friday our funds were frozen because it was understood that outside parties were going to fund our event,” Miller said. “This was not our intention, we needed to communicate more, but in the end of the day, this event is for the students and we want it to continue for them.”

Because ASCSU did not know there would be donations at the event when Chabad first applied, the situation was not clear as to whether or not the Passover event would be a fundraiser.

ASCSU Director of Finance  Katrina Roberts agreed that there was some miscommunication.

“The problem we are seeing, which is a miscommunication as well, is that a lot of student groups don’t understand that suggesting donations is by definition a fundraiser,” Roberts said.  

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Chabad of Northern Colorado Rabbi  Yerachmiel Gorelik said that even though the ad said that donations are suggested, the event is totally free and nobody is pressured to donate.

“Nobody is required to pay,” Gorelik said. “Anybody and everybody is welcome to come for free.”

Collegian Reporter Allec Brust can be reached at news@collegian.com or via Twitter at @Brustyyy.