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

Seg fees on way to groups

Student Senate’s Finance Commission continued its responsibility of allocating student segregated fees Wednesday as it approved preliminary organized activities budget requests.

While the commission usually takes two days to allocate amounts, this year members were able to finalize their preliminary numbers in one day, said Finance Commission Director Tom Holtan.

“They were the best deliberations so far,” Holtan said. “Everyone was willing to compromise.”

Only five received the full amounts they requested – the Children’s Center, intramurals and University Recreation, Legal Services, visual arts and Athletics and Recreational Facilities improvements.

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The 16-member commission distributed the $2.9 million in student segregated fees to a total of 22 organized activities or academic departments, with the highest allocation amounts of $1 million and $700,000 to Health Services and Athletics, respectively.

While Health Services had requested $1.2 million for 2008-2009, the commission decided it was not going to fund the facility’s request for an extension of hours, Holtan said.

These allocations are only recommendations, Vice Chancellor for Business and Student Services Andy Soll said. Each individual activity or department will have the chance to appeal its allocation amount before the budget goes to the full Senate and then to the chancellor for final approval.

Soll also said once the chancellor approves the final allocations, each activity or department is not required to stick to the itemized allocations for its respective budget request, but rather it is free to spend the funds how it wants.

When faced with allocating the amount for Student Senate itself, the commission voted three times, eventually coming up with what many called a “compromise” allocation.

In a final vote of 8-5-2, the commission voted to allocate Senate $101,000, which members said reflected a disagreement surrounding the inclusion of a $17,400 collective pay raise for the body’s 18-member executive board.

Senator Dylan Jambrek was one of four Senate members who opposed the increase when the entire Senate voted on whether to include the raise in its budget request. He said he didn’t think it was fair to other organizations to allocate more money to Senate.

“We are different; we should hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Jambrek said of Senate. “We should take care of other organizations before ourselves. I think Student Senate officers can work part-time jobs like other people do.”

Other members of the commission disagreed, however, saying that executive board members are spending so much time working already they don’t have time for anything else. They said salaries need to become competitive with those offered to students in UW-Madison’s Student Government Association.

“I know students who can’t afford to be in Senate,” Holtan said, calling Eau Claire’s Senate “one of the most powerful student governments in the country” with the power to allocate $2.9 million of student segregated fees each year.

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Seg fees on way to groups