GLBT group OUT battles debt


The University’s largest and oldest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender student group is facing an uphill battle against a $3,519.30 debt.

OUT President Robert Clayton said some University departments have little intention of helping the group regain its footing.

“Every office on campus that has supposedly been designed to facilitate the prospering of student organizations has either thrown me a bone with no real meat on it or refused to give me anything at all,” Clayton said.

The trouble began last spring, before Clayton was president, when Miss Gay IU had a much smaller turnout than expected.

In recent years, increasing interest in OUT’s annual drag competition caused the event to outgrow its usual venue, Alumni Hall, so organizers moved it to the IU Auditorium.
But it came with a much larger price tag.

The total cost for OUT to rent the Auditorium last year was $6,605. Most Miss Gay IU events in the past have earned more money than needed to pay for the new venue, Clayton said.

For the competitions that did not, OUT was able to cover the leftover costs, Clayton said. But last year’s competition fell far too short, leaving the group owing $3,205.30.

“What’s irritating is that there’s Alumni Hall and IU Auditorium, and then there’s nothing in between those sizes,” Clayton said. “With the outrageous prices the Auditorium charges, it makes using it completely out of reach for most student

Additionally, Clayton said he feels that because the Auditorium is partially funded by the University, it should offer discounted rates for student groups.

IU Auditorium Events Manager Maria Talbert said, however, that the Auditorium’s funding comes from ticket sales, fundraising, general funds and facility rental. None of the money comes from students’ tuition dollars, she said, and the rental fees are, essentially, already discounted.

“Nearly all of our uses are University-related,” she said. “We offer the same discounted rate to all of our clients, and in fact, when all costs are accounted, the Auditorium underwrites each event by approximately $3,200.”

In February, Clayton met with Talbert to discuss lowering the debt and a possible payment plan, but he was unable to convince her that the amount should
be reduced.

“Currently, OUT owes us the balance of their expenses less the ticket revenue and deposit, and we are working with OUT to develop a mutually agreeable payment plan,” Talbert said.

But despite multiple fundraising attempts that include bake sales and appealing to all the members of OUT’s email list, the money to put toward a payment plan is simply not there, Clayton said.

Read the rest of this story at the Indiana Daily Student.