ASOSU Joint Session hears SIFC budget proposals
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 19:02
The joint session of ASOSU on Wednesday led to the passage of the majority of student fee funded budgets for 2013-14.
Brad Alvarez, chairman of the Student and Incidental Fees Committee, explained each budget proposal to members of both the Senate and House of Representatives. Student support for Diversity Development dominated the majority of last night’s meeting.
The budgets presented totalled 15, 13 of which have been passed and will move forward for approval by President Ed Ray. Two of the budgets, Diversity Development and Music Ensembles, were not passed by both bodies of government and will move to mediation.
ASOSU President Amelia Harris showed her support for an increase in funding for Diversity Development to hire full time staff positions for the cultural centers. Harris did not feel the budget request was handled with the same discretion as other position requests and had voted against the decision package.
“I voted wrongly,” Harris said. “I request that the House and Senate send this into mediation.”
Around a dozen students testified for full time positions in the cultural centers, with the majority testifying about the specific need in the Native American Longhouse.
• Having a fulltime position at the center will provide students with the opportunity to have mentorship, both in work, school and their personal life. They will also be able to provide them with leadership building.
• Graduate assistant’s and student workers who currently work at the Native American Longhouse are overworked and the position will help to eleviate this load.
• A staff member will be able to create an institutional memory that will provide future student workers knoqlwsfw to carry on some of the traditions of the center.
• Also, by being professionals they will be able to bring skills to the table that are not brought by graduate assistant or student workers. They will also be able to help teach these skills to those who work there.
After several students had testified to the House and Senate, Senator Madison Parker, also a member of SIFC, wished to provide clarification to the discussion.
“By no means was the conversation that we do not support these positions,” Parker said. “We need to have a position description and HR needs to be part of that. It was part of the [SIFC] process that no [job] post would be passed without descriptions.”
Alvarez also clarified that the reason was in the process not the ideas that were presented to SIFC. Also Alvarez had a concern over the speed at which the positions will be filled. Last year a classified position was created and that position still remains unfilled.
According to Alvarez there should be no reason why Diversity Development cannot request these funds from the contingency fund and if the information is presented appropriatlly the funds should be granted.
After an hour’s worth of testimony, Representative Michael Robb called for a vote, saying that there has been enough information on either side of the issue that members should be able to make a decision. The House voted the budget down, while the Senate voted in favor of the Diversity Development budget.
Because of the split, the budget will move to a mediation committee staffed by House, Senate and SIFC members. This does not mean the budget has died or will be changed, but more conversation will be taken into account and a consensus reached as to how the budget should look.
The Music Ensemble budget was also placed into mediation after passing in the Senate but not the House. Their budget was cut in half mainly due to the lack of information provided to SIFC.
Alvarez stressed the importance of holding the same standards for every organization requesting funds. Options are still available in the contingency fund and their working capital to make up the difference of the SIFC drop.
“If they do what every other budget did…submit an actual budget with thought behind it,” Alvarez said. “They will get their money.”
Ricky Zipp, news reporter