The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Senate approves activity budget; segregated fees will increase 6.7 percent

On Monday, Student Senate approved the 2001-2002 organized activities budget with relatively few amendments to the proposal introduced two weeks earlier.

After Monday’s changes – the largest of which was an additional $14,000 given to Health Services – student segregated fees will increase about 6.7 percent this year to $239.50 per student.

“I was very pleased to see that the debate went well,” Finance Director James Hanke said. “Normally this process lasts longer than it did (Monday).”

Hanke said senators came to the meeting prepared to represent students’ interests and credited the work of the Finance Commission in preparing the budget as one of the reasons it went so smoothly.

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The Senate meeting lasted about three hours, most of which was spent debating the budget and, more specifically, the allocation to None Of The Above.

NOTA has traditionally been an organization that draws contrasting opinions from different senators when it comes to their budgetary requests.

On Monday, an amendment cutting its allocation by $500 to $10,550 passed while two others failed, one proposing an additional cut of $430 and one proposing an increase of $2,000.

The organization expected to be the hot topic on Monday was Health Services. Director of Health Services Laura Chellman voiced her concerns about the proposed budget during the open forum preceding the debate.

Health Services initially requested $850,000, $100,000 more than they received the previous year. The request was due to increased costs in the health-care field and was not accompanied by any additional services to students.

The budget created by the finance committee suggested $817,521 be allocated to Health Services, but Chellman and two others who spoke on behalf of Health Services helped convince Senate of their need for additional funds.

“We are very concerned with the level of support,” Chellman told the members of Senate.

She said if Health Services’ allocation was not increased, it would be forced to make changes that could have included not being open during the summer of 2002 and/or making staff cuts.

“We knew that we couldn’t cut all of the money (that the Finance Commission suggested) out of their request,” UAC Director Ben Licht said.

Licht said conversations in the Senate office during the previous two weeks along with the testimony offered in support of Health Services helped convince Senate to increase its funding.

“I’m certainly pleased they gave us enough funding to function at the level we’re currently at,” Chellman said Wednesday.

Chellman said salaries for employees increased substantially in the last biennium, as did fringe benefits. These rising costs are part of Health Services’ needs for more funding, she said.

Some concern was voiced during debate that money to be used for buying a blood analyzer in the past was not used for that purpose.

Chellman said it was her understanding that when Health Services’ budgetary allocation fell short of its request, it wasn’t supposed to buy the machine.

A review of Health Services will take place to evaluate how funds are being used and whether the organization is meeting students needs.

Two other amendments passed during the debate affected Senate itself. Senate voted unanimously to cut $1,000 from its general operations and place it in the special reserve; it also voted to take $1,000 from the special reserve and place it in its legal services department.

The special reserve increased to $8,349.

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Senate approves activity budget; segregated fees will increase 6.7 percent