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Cheerleading team’s funding cut

BY SARAH CIRELLI

“Cheer deserves respect,” read one of the signs on the Student Government office door.

Tuesday morning, March 27, the Student Government office door was plastered with handwritten posters from the UT Cheerleading team.

Some of these signs said, “Cheerleaders are strong.” “Cheer is a sport!!” “Cheer works hard.”

A few members on the Cheerleading team left signs Monday evening on the Student Government door in the Vaughn Center. They wanted to be clearly recognized as a sports team and wanted to know what had caused their supposed cut in funding.

The first person to arrive at the office was Student Government President, Aislinn Sroczynski. She quickly tore down the flyers and set them aside in the Student Government office.

“I had no idea what this was about,” Sroczynski said. “I immediately called the coach to investigate the problem.”

Snapchat videos surfaced and revealed a few cheerleaders posting the flyers late Monday night after they had found out Student Government “defunded” their program. However, Student Government never provided the team with a full budget, and required the team to go through the appropriations process.

“We were not pleased because we had to fundraise a lot of money, and we are not treated equally compared to other clubs and sports. We are supposed to be considered a sport, but we aren’t,” said Agathe Olier, a freshman flyer and criminology major. “Cheerleading is great, but you must be all in and it is a big commitment with a lot of money and fundraising involved.”

Not only are the cheerleaders themselves mad; so are their friends. Some seniors are calling out Student Government and protesting senior week for their actions.

“People usually do not think cheerleading is serious or a sport, so funds tend to get cut which forces the cheerleaders to complete many fundraisers,” said Gina Cole, a flyer and freshman marketing major. “It is a shame because cheerleading is a very challenging, yet rewarding sport mentally and physically.

As rumors began to spread, Sroczynski quickly called the coach to figure out where the miscommunication came from.

“Cheerleading has not been a part of the Student Government budget,” Sroczynski said. “We have and will continue to help the cheerleading team out through the appropriation process.”

The Student Government bylaws and constitution outline the organizations that are allowed to be funded and since cheerleading is deemed a sport at UT, they have not been funded with any allocation of the Student Government Budget.

In the constitution under Section 1.03 it states that “the Student Government shall be the coordinating body of all undergraduate campus organizations recognized by the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement.”

There is a roster accessible to anyone who has questions about who is funded by Student Government and a trifold brochure to inform organizations to go about appropriations for further funding.

“I think that there was a lot of miscommunication between SG [Student Government] and the Competitive Cheer team,” Zane Willard, sophomore economics and communication major, said.

Willard is friends with people on the Cheer team and while he does not know for sure if SG defunded he does know that cheerleaders have invest money for .

“The Cheerleaders invest a lot of their own time and money into their competitions, outfits and travel for the Competitive Team,” Willard said. “The University reaps all of the benefits of the Cheer Team’s successes and in turn they should fund their expenses. The Cheerleaders have every right to be mad, and I hope they keep fighting to get their expenses covered whether it is Athletics or Student Government that steps into help.”

Sroczynski hopes this doesn’t change the views of students and Student Government.

Some cheerleaders say that the confusion came from the coach telling them that Student Government was the reason for their budget cut.

The coach has made no comment on the matter at this time.

In the future Student Government hopes to work with the Cheerleading team as the Cheer Team will continue to fight for funding.

Sarah Cirelli can be reached at sarah.cirelli@spartans.ut.edu.

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