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Student Senate forced to decide use for funds

December 2, 2011

With reserve funds in danger of being tapped into, the Student Senate must find a will or a way to either save the student-based funds, or spend them.

The Senate has a lot riding on their upcoming meetings to talk about the forecast of their compiled reserve funds. Vice President Carlan Strand said that the reserve funds should stay at about $40,000, however, the current reserve fund has spiked at $120,000.

If the Senate does not find a way to spend the reserved money, they run the chance of having the money taken by the government and used for purposes other than the University. Patrick Okan, AFAB chair, said that the University got lucky. “We are very lucky that the government hasn’t already raided the reserves yet and used it for other purposes,” said Okan.

In the Senate meeting on Nov. 29, Okan brought forward a motion to create a “super committee” or as Okan liked to called it, an ad-hoc committee. This would be a temporary committee that would look and supervise how to spend or not to spend the reserve funds.

“The ‘super committee’ would consist of one member from each subordinate committee, like the Legislative Affairs committee, the Inclusivity and Diversity committee, etc.,” said Strand.

If the Senate does not spend the reserve money, there are other options as well. Cutting some of the segregated fees would be one of them.

According to the Senate approved segregated fees website, student segregated fees can be broken down into categories. As of now, every student taking eight or more credits pays $21 to Hunt Arena, $47.50 to Campus Athletics, $2.50 to the ID Carding Office, $8 to the Child Care building, $17.75 to Organized Activities, $16.25 to Programming fees, $2.88 to Shared Governance, $64.50 to Student Health Services, $9 to Intramurals, $4.50 to Sport Clubs, $4 to Intramural Complex, $4 to Outdoor Recreation, $225 to the University Center, $16.50 to Student Services Remodel, $42.50 to Student Life, $14 to Municipal Services, $26 to Health & Human Performance, $1.75 to Family Programs, $4 to the Stadium and $71.65 to Textbook Services.

“If we’re not spending, I don’t know why we are still collecting from students,” said Okan.

Along with the reserve funds and segregated fees issue, the Senate has been facing an array of other issues this semester as well. As of three weeks ago, two senators resigned from their position on Senate. Oliver White was the athletic representative and Riley Hanes was a first-year representative. Okan said he believes both senators resigned due to scheduling conflicts with the Senate meeting times.

Also coming up on the Senate agenda is the budget for student organizations. Last week student organizations put in their requests for a budget and Okan estimated that altogether the student organizations had requested between $350,000 - $400,000, but the Senate only has $216,000 to give out. “Usually the organizations request about double of what we have to offer, which is why we need to make cuts,” Okan said. “Overall, we’ve had a couple bumps in the road, but that’s pretty typical.” The budgeting process is in its beginning stages.

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