May 042005
Authors: Lila Hickey

Wednesday marked the final meeting of the 34th senate of the Associated Students of CSU, but big decisions were still being made. Most notably, the senate decided to preserve a CSU ombudsperson position with the city, taking $10,000 from ASCSU's big-venue concert fund to do so.

Some senators protested at dropping the concert budget from $66,000 to $56,000, saying the decrease in funding would make the concert impossible.

"This concert will not occur without that $10,000," said Sen. Robert Sons of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

But Janean Hardy, director of the Association for Student Activity Programming, said a concert in Moby Arena would cost a minimum of $100,000, already leaving ASCSU's concert funds lacking.

But that doesn't mean the concert won't happen – President Katie Clausen said ASCSU is required to keep $100,000 in budgetary reserve, but it has $177,000 saved and is required to spend the extra $77,000 before the end of next year. Although the Student Funding Board would need to approve the use of the extra money, Clausen said it could be used to help fund a Moby Arena concert.

President-elect Courtney Stephens was strongly in favor of funding the ombudsperson position, saying the university needs a non-student, full-time liaison to the City Council. She and others disagreed with suggestions that students could successfully lobby the council.

"It's pompous for us as students to believe we have the experience of someone who has lived in this community for 34 years," said Shelby Wood, senator for the liberal arts college. "There are not many students who want to spend hours at City Council when they could go somewhere like Sundance."

Other members disliked the idea of a non-student representative, saying it would appear as though the students were not truly involved in the city.

"I think there is more than one way to skin this cat and I'm not sure the ombudsman is the right way to go," said Jason Huitt, director of Internet technology. "That's going to give the impression that the students aren't standing up for what they believe in."

The senate voted down Stephens' proposals for increased funding of the Forever Green T-shirt program and Live Life Late.

Stephens initially suggested taking $13,000 from the concert fund to add to the $7,000 originally allocated for the green T-shirts distributed at athletic events. After the senate refused to hear the $13,000 proposal, she requested $8,000 from the concert fund and was voted down.

Former ASCSU President Jesse Lauchner showed up at the meeting and voiced his support for increased funding for Forever Green, as did Clausen. They urged the senate to increase funding for what Stephens called a budding CSU tradition.

But for the voting senators, the expense to the concert fund – considered by many a more important tradition – was too high.

Sons read a letter from an alumnus citing many of the big-name bands that have played at Moby Arena, including Hoobstank, O.A.R., 311 and George Clinton.

"A concert is a tangible way that we're going to be giving back to the students," Sons said.

Some senators also opposed taking $4,000 from the Student Funding Board to support Live Life Late, saying the program is already dramatically under-funded.

The funding board, which provides money to a variety of non-partisan, non-religious student organizations, will receive $164,000 for the 2005-2006 school year. This year the funding board had a $160,000 budget and ran out of money in March.

Huitt called the proposal a mistake and warned the senate against funding a program that has shown decreasing attendance despite nearly doubled funding in the past year.

Thomas Glenn, ASCSU director of finance and funding board member, agreed. Glenn said Live Life Late event attendance dropped from 1,840 in 2003 to 1,573 in 2004, despite receiving an $11,000 budget increase.

Stephens argued that administrative and personnel changes within the organization, combined with inadequate funding, left Live Life Late with unimpressive attendance.

Glenn said that the $4,000 would be better spent by the funding board, which he feels reaches a larger group of students.

"We hit basically every student there is," he said. "The funding board could use that extra money, and we saw it this year when we ran out."

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