ASSOU budget aims to help students

The Associated Students of Southern Oregon University recently increased their payroll budget for the 2012-2013 school year. The budget, which was created over the summer by an at-large committee, was updated to estimate $107,096 in funding compared to the $94,071 that was spent last year.

The increased budget was explained by student government representatives as both an opportunity for students who need a significant source of income to become involved in student government as well as a method to create an hourly pay-rate for ASSOU students.

“It would give an opportunity for non-traditional students who have two jobs or a family to also be involved in our student government,” said Joshua Danielson, ASSOU president. “I think that that’s really important to everybody in student government this year, to offer something for everybody, and it fits the bigger picture of the university as well.”

Danielson went on to describe how a student who is holding down multiple jobs would likely be unable to participate in ASSOU because of lack of supportable income, despite the student’s interest. By providing such compensation, ASSOU hopes to eliminate the possibility of a student avoiding involvement in ASSOU because of time and money.

“We wanted to make sure that we could still attract new students who would be highly beneficial to ASSOU and the campus community here and give them a chance to be involved as much as any other student who maybe doesn’t have the same setbacks or those other issues of having to find a job to live on campus, live in Ashland and go to school,” said Ben Katz, chief justice of the judicial branch for ASSOU.

ASSOU also hopes to offer a 20-person internship program sometime in the near future, five of which would be based on a scholarship. Though plans for such a program are not yet finalized, Danielson expressed that it was one of ASSOU’s goals and showed the direction that student government plans to take this year.

The money for the payroll increase comes from excess funds in the student fee reserve. Funds used for ASSOU payroll specifically are not allowed to be shifted to other areas, as decided by the at-large committee. If what is budgeted is unused it goes back into the fund to be used the following year. Danielson predicted that the money budgeted for this year would likely not be spent in its entirety and some will go back into the reserve for the 2013-2014 school year.

The new budget is now based on an hourly pay rate based off of similar budgets created by other universities in Oregon.

“It serves all students instead of some students. That’s really important to us,” said Danielson.

The new pay process will be looked at and re-evaluated in winter term.

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