ASSOU budget process continues on

*Nils Holst also contributed to this article.

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Photo courtesy assou.net

The Associated Students of Southern Oregon University are in the thick of the budgeting process this week, struggling over their own budget, among others.

The Student Fee Committee and Educational Activities Advisory Committee are still hearing budget proposals, the most controversial being their own.

The most recent presentation of ASSOU’s budget showed an increase of nearly $175,000 to the ASSOU budget for an increase in compensation for senators, permanent funding of the Raider Leadership Academy and travel contingency to send more students to leadership conferences, like the Northwest Student Leadership Conference next weekend.

“ASSOU is a club, however, they are slightly different than your average club,” Hoseclaw said. “There is a potential conflict of interest because senators approve the budget for next year.”

Senate referred the budget back to Budget Committee for further evaluation Tuesday.

“As senators, we are elected to be representatives of the student body,” Hoseclaw said. “What was brought forward was that as senators, if we are approving the budget, we are approving the budget for the student body.”

Under the current constitution, ASSOU can approve its own budget.

The first round of budget requests from student clubs to EAAC began last Tuesday.

Budget constraints caused the student government to slash all funding to student clubs and organizations by 10 percent this year. The EAAC, which manages the finances for all clubs on campus, needs to cut approximately $150,000 from their projected expenses.

“We’re going to be crushing a few dreams here,” said Rebekah Bergkoetter, ASSOU computer science and mathematics senator.

Most clubs just want their 10 percent back. About $1,500 was requested by the Civic Engagement Club to compensate their student interns.  SOU Legal Services requested an increase of approximately $2,000. The Theater Department requested an increase of $1,660 in order to bring guest actors to campus.

The Black Student Union requested an increase of $1,200 in funding, which represents about what they lost in cutbacks.

“The BSU is well funded,” admitted Carter Franklin, BSU spokesperson. “But our events would be diluted if they didn’t get the funding.”

Other organizations are not as conservative. The Events Planning and Involvement Committee requested an increase of approximately $38,000, which would almost triple what their budget used to be.

Traditions, which had never previously asked EAAC for money, is also requesting $20,000 for their events, which include the Snow Fiesta, Raider Days, and Homecoming.

Some difficult choices must be made by EAAC over the next two weeks as they decide what gets approved and what gets cut. The final budget hearing for EAAC is Saturday in the Commuter Resource Center.

Budget proposals won’t be the only difficulty the student government encounters.

The judicial branch nullified the appointment of former Education, Health and Military Science Senator Fiona Mattson and censured the entire legislative branch.

The ruling came after senate appointed Mattson to the seat without properly advertising the position.

“They showed a knowledgable disregard for their own process,” Justice Corey Metcalfe said. “People knew of the concern, but still moved forward.”

“By failing to do their duties, they’re disenfranchising under represented groups, which is serious,” Justice Katherine Gohring said.

Even though Mattson’s appointment was nullified, she was not found to have partaken in any misconduct and is eligible to petition for the seat once it has been properly advertised.

*Nils Holst also contributed to this article.

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