What to expect from ASUO winter 2016

ASUO Executive and Senate will spend winter term with a full plate on their hands with budget season and new resolutions for a campus safety campaign.

As budget season approaches, finance committees work on recommendations for next years’ spending.

Athletics and Contracts Finance Committees proposed a 0.22 percent increase in its benchmark at a Nov. 18 meeting. This means a total amount of $328,000.

The athletic department has the most expensive contract and is asking for a zero percent increase from last year’s deal. ACFC Chair Andrew Dunn said the committee will continue to negotiate for more football tickets in response to student demands.

“[The number of student tickets are] unlikely to expand,” Dunn said at the meeting. “Athletics expects increase in costs the following years.”

The two most significant cost increases are 17.35 percent for OSPIRG and 14 percent for the potential merger of the Emerald Media Group and Ethos Magazine.

Program Finance Committee member and Senate President Kevin Dobyns said he is excited to work with the new stipend model.

“[In the past], even when student groups came with compelling reasons, we are not allowed to help the leadership roles,” Dobyns said. “The new stipend model will give PFC more flexibility.”

Departments Finance Committee proposed a 7 percent increase in its benchmark, which will maintain free HIV tests services for students. Senate funded the service with an over-realized fund last year, DFC Chair Zach Rentschler said.

Senate continues to pursue the Fraternity and Sorority Life resolution after the second campus climate survey was released in October. The survey revealed the same pattern, in which FSL affiliated students are more likely to be sexually assaulted.

FSL is conducting an internal survey in response. Senator Zach Lusby, who is drafting the new resolution, is waiting for the internal results in January before he proceeds with the resolution.

Off-campus retreat resolution is also on the table for discussion. The third amended resolution will serve student groups’ needs, Rentschler said. He proposed the repealed resolution, which restricts funding any off-campus retreat.

If passed, the new resolution requires student groups to fundraise at least half of the request amount. Senate can still choose to fund any groups’ request with a ⅔ vote.

“The point is to communicate, so student groups won’t feel intimidated,” Rentschler said. “But we still want student groups to reach out to other resources before coming to senate.”

Rentschler is also proposing a rollover resolution, which will reserve an amount of surplus for next year. Surplus is the leftover money that comes back to senate from student groups at the end of the year.

This resolution will assure next years’ surplus will stay at a sustainable level, Rentschler said. Last year, senate passed the same resolution reserving $75,000, contributing to this year’s surplus at $400,000.

Dobyns said the amount should be at $50,000.

“I want to spend money now for seniors who are here now,” Dobyns said.

The ASUO Executive branch is pursuing an educational platform for students and faculty about campus safety, Chief of Staff Casey Edwards said. Executive is conducting research to identify the most concerning safety issues on campus.

“Students are getting involved in campus safety more than ever,” Edwards said. “This winter term we hope to have an open dialog with the administration about changes we could make.”

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Tran Nguyen

Tran Nguyen