ACFC biggest source of controversy as ASUO Senate passed 2015-2016 budget
ASUO Senate passed the 2015-2016 budget on Satuday with a total increase of 3.9%, which will increase the Incidental Fee by $8.50, making it $223.75 per term. All four finance committees were examined, but Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee budgets caused the longest debates.
Athletics: The ACFC, in charge of the agreement with the University of Oregon Athletics Department that determines how many tickets are allotted to students and at what price, came to the Senate meeting with a $0 recommendation after it failed to pass any agreement in its budget hearings. On Thursday, Athletics relayed to ACFC that a zero percent increase would result in a cut of 300 student tickets per Pac-12 game and a subsequent increase of 300 Pac-12 student season ticket plans available for student purchase (at a price of $300 per package). ACFC members briefed all the senators on the disagreements of the second and third budget hearings that led to the failures of all their motions.
Senate voted down the $0 proposal to reopen discussion on Athletics. Senators found themselves in the position ACFC has been in: weighing whether the risk of cuts to student tickets was worth running in order to drive a lower price for all students. The first motion to pass the ACFC budget with zero percent Athletics increase failed. The ACFC met in a previously scheduled emergency meeting and made a plan to renegotiate the agreement with Athletics to try to avoid cutting football tickets. Their options include decreasing certain allocations of basketball tickets.
Senate passed the zero percent increase. ACFC will now continue negotiations with Athletics.
LTD: The ACFC contract with Lane Transit District provides students with bus passes. Senate decided that it would decrease the requested amount going towards LTD to a 5 percent increase and make up for it with an increase in a tax credit that they used last year. This led to an increase to the Programs Finance Committee increasing funding to SafeRide and Designated Driver Shuttle to extend hours.
OSPIRG: The student public interest group requested $110,000. OSPIRG was defunded by ASUO three years ago and caused controversy at the meeting for its employment of professional lobbyists. The debate centered partly on how OSPIRG does or does not operate differently from other student activist groups like Oregon Student Association and United States Student Association. Former senator and EMU Board member Taylor Allison expressed her discomfort with the funding.
“OSA is about using professional staff to train students to lobby themselves, but OSPIRG is about using professionals to lobby for students,” Allison said. “I have no issue with doing what you do, I just have a problem with using student money to do it.”
Others disagreed, however. Senate deliberated, but eventually passed the OSPIRG allocation with the rest of the ACFC budget.
ACFC came in at a $4,718,462 budget. The EMU Board was $6,357,648. The Departments Finance Committee budget was $1,110,021 PFC’s budget ended up being $2,488,711 after minor changes.
The budget now gets ASUO Executive approval, and after that the University President gives approval. If either executive rejects any part, Senate can override a veto with a two-thirds majority.
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