A Service and Activities (SA) fee meeting was held Nov. 10 to discuss how funds were going to be distributed for the next budget term. The terms currently run in five-year increments, and Tuesday’s meeting was held for Creating A Respectful Environment (CARE), The Easterner and the ASEWU to plead their cases regarding how much funding they each would receive for the upcoming term.CARE on campusCARE spoke first about how their program helps to deter violence from EWU students. Michelle Pingree of health and wellness services was the main spokesperson for the group. “Our program is ever-changing. We make alterations to meet the needs of our changing student body as well as the needs of our growing campus,” she said.
CARE holds a variety of events, including their upcoming “Bowling Blowout,” to raise awareness of how violence affects the campus and what students can do if they ever encounter violence.
“We have chosen to not ask for an increase but are requesting that we maintain our .25 percent allocation for our program to continue operating successfully,” Pingree said.
Pingree also noted the immediate success of the recently instated Green Dot program and said that the future of the program “looks promising.”
CARE concluded their presentation saying, “We spend roughly $6,000 a year and we purposely carried some funds from last year in order to have the money to support the Green Dot program.”Preserving the paperJames Eik, editor-in-chief of EWU’s newspaper, represented The Easterner at the SA meeting. Eik stated that The Easterner’s circulation “makes our campus cohesive in itself and with the Riverpoint campus.”
The Easterner spent about $120,000 last school year. Due to the receding economy, the paper has seen a shortage in advertisers, making money tighter than ever before.
“Without our carryover from last year, operations would have been stalled until we got our funding from S and A ,which was in mid-October,” Eik said.
Eik broke down the budget for the paper into a three-year plan that consisted of new technology for the newsroom, more copies made of each issue and an increase in staff wages.
“We feel that we are losing talent due to our low wages,” Eik said. “We are a business, and we are competing with other businesses for student employees based on wages.”
Eik concluded the presentation by stressing the importance of a student newspaper as well as the need for an increase in funding.Children’s Center looks to growThe representatives of the Children’s Center sought to maintain the 2 percent allocation they received from the Service and Activity (SA) fee in the previous budget, while explaining how the money is used to provide invaluable services for student parents and low-income families.
“Two percent is great,” said Casey Bates, who works for the YMCA. “But if we can get more, that’d be great, too. “
Ted Carmen, who works for EWU, also said that it is difficult to determine the exact financial needs of the center, as the number of children and families fluctuate during the year, reaching their peak during winter quarter.
“It depends on the students and how many kids they have,” he said. “It’s an extremely difficult budget to work with because during the summer there aren’t as many students, but we’ve got to keep the staff there.”
There was also the issue of establishing a Riverpoint children’s center, a topic that had been brought up during the student forum. According to Carmen, it is an unlikely scenario.
“It was eventually decided that it just wasn’t workable,” he said. “Trying to find a facility in Spokane is impossible. You’d have to build one. But, I’m sure that there’s a need for it.”According to the YMCA representatives, children from ages 6 to 10 are served there.
“It really does help the students a lot,” said Bates. An example she gave was of two families that each save more than $300 a month on child care costs, allowing them to spend it on food and housing.
To receive the subsidy, a student has to either qualify for financial aid at Eastern or meet the federal poverty requirements. While the Children’s Center building is owned by the university, the staff is employed by the YMCA.Athletics questioned heavilyKnowing that the student forum had thrown plenty of flak at the athletic department’s 47 percent allocation of the SA fee, Department Director Bill Chase defended it at every point.
“It’s important for you all to understand the thought process of our funding and how it makes it function,” he said. “It really allows us to run a Division I program.”
Chase pointed out the fact that sports games draw the highest attendance of students for any kind of event at Eastern. Six of them drew more than 1,100 students, about 11 percent of the entire student population.
“It’s a big enhancement to student life,” he said. “It’s a platform for students to connect outside of the classroom.”
Chase also pointed out that Eastern students have free admission to sports events and that the SA fee represents 20 percent of the athletic budget.
In an effort to respond to qualms about the department’s funding, Chase compared Eastern to other universities in regard to their program’s allocations. In the Big Sky Conference, Eastern was the lowest at $7.5 million, while Montana State had the highest at $15.2 million.
The possibility of ending Eastern’s football program was raised during the meeting. Chase commented that it was plausible, but it would require another sport to replace it. Even then, he said, it would be hard to remain in the Big Sky Conference.
“It wouldn’t be a simple decision,” he said. “You could do it, but then there would be things that you would definitely have to work through. I personally think football brings a tremendous benefit to the students here.”
An athletic fee was also suggested.
According to Patrick Spanner, the ASEWU vice president of finances, the fee would be roughly $60 per student, which would allow for a 50 percent reduction of SA allocations money for the athletic department.
“It’s up in the air,” Spanner explained. “We stopped discussing it after ideas came about of other fees. The discussion is still out there. We don’t know if the students would want to approve it.”ASEWU seeks more fundingPatrick Spanner, finance vice president for the ASEWU, spoke on behalf of the organization’s budget for the upcoming year. Spanner explained that the SA fee comes out of student tuition and is then distributed throughout campus for various programs and clubs.
“We got [an increase] of $156,000 this year due to record enrollment and raised tuition,” Spanner said.
ASEWU requested that some of the SA fees stay at the ASEWU rather than being dispersed as they have been in the past.
“We usually just get what’s leftover, but since we provide services to the largest range of students, we don’t think that’s adequate,” said Spanner.Spanner explained that it was difficult to create a balanced budget because the money from the budget goes to various organizations.
Ryan Eucker, ASEWU president, said, “The annual budget basis doesn’t need a percent increase, but if we don’t get it, the S and A fees will have to be increased.” Eucker elaborated and said that the ASEWU doesn’t need an increase, but “there is always somewhere to put it.”
The final meeting in which the fees will be allocated will be held Dec. 1. Each group will learn how much of an increase, if any, they will receive for the 2010-11 school year.