Student Body Vice President Lexi Hanson and Chief of Staff Matt Kopp discuss the budget at Student Senate. Photo by Chester Beltowski/The Dakota Student.
UND’s Student Senate passed its budget for the fiscal year 2015 on Sunday.
The meeting attracted a crowd of approximately 50 people, including UND Provost Thomas DiLorenzo, Vice President for Student Affairs Lori Reesor, Vice President for Finance and Operations Alice Brekke and Vice President for University and Public Affairs Susan Walton.
Time-out for Wacipi
The most contentious budget item of the night was $20,000 in funding recommended for events hosted by the University of North Dakota Indian Association.
About 30 members of UND’s Indian Association came to show their support for UND’s annual Time-out Week and the Wacipi Native American Powwow. The group has hosted the event for the past 44 years; last year’s powwow took place at the Hyslop Sports Center.
Six UNDIA members spoke of Time-Out Week’s importance in front of senate, each opening with a greeting in their tribe’s language.
“It gives students the opportunity to be really immersed in diversity,” UNDIA member Pearl Walker said. “You can read about diversity in a book, but when you attend an event, it takes on a whole new meaning.”
UNDIA requests funding for Time-out Week every year from Student Government, which its members argued they shouldn’t have to do — that the funding should just be provided every year because it’s the “biggest cultural event UND hosts.”
Some senators disagreed.
“They should have to provide us with a written budget for their event when they are being allocated that much money,” Off-Campus Sen. Sean McClain said. “It’s looking like I live in a day and age where I have to allocate $20,000 to an organization just to look like a good person.”
At first, senate voted to leave the amount at $20,000, but this was followed by efforts to consider the vote and cut it down to $10,000.
After extended debate, senators voted to approve the full $20,000. Some members of the opposition wanted to wait on funding UNDIA until later in the year, in order to have more spending flexibility.
“Three times, we voted to keep the UNDIA budget as is, so I ask that you please honor us as a senate body and not veto the budget because of that,” Sen. Kyle Thorson said, addressing Student Body President Nick Creamer.
Time-out Week and the Wacipi Powwow also used to get funding from Grand Forks city government but won’t be receiving any aid from the city this year. The event brings in a lot of tourism from outside the city, causing a temporary boost to the local economy.
‘One Stop Shop’
Senate also heard from university administrators, who discussed the proposed “One Stop Shop,” which would consolidate basic administrative services into one location.
“One of the common things I heard while promoting the idea among students was that there was a lot of bureaucracy, and they had to run around a lot,” Vice President of Student Affair Lori Reesor said. “Never once did I hear a student say, ‘Why are we doing this; this is a terrible idea.’”
The first student to express confusion in front of Reesor was McClain, who claimed he had no problem with the services already provided in Twamley Hall, and the One Stop Shop wasn’t a necessary use of funding.
The idea of the shop was originally thought up in 2011 by Memorial Union Director Tony Trimarco and 2011-2012 Student Body Vice President Nate Elness. Similar arrangements can be found in other schools throughout the country, including North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Services provided will include student financial aid, student account services, the registrar’s office and parking services.
The debate centered around where to put the shop and how much funding should be dedicated to it.
Last year, senate allocated $1.5 million to construction projects such as the One Stop Shop and moving the Women’s Center and the Multicultural Center into McCannel Hall. The money was originally meant to be used only on McCannel hall, but Reesor encouraged them to use it for projects outside McCannel Hall, too.
Possible locations for the shop include McCannel Hall and the current location of Sign and Design on the Memorial Union’s main floor. Twamley Hall would still be used for back office space.
“I don’t know how much it will cost since I don’t know where it will go yet,” Reesor said.
UND Concert Choir trip
The choir is planning a trip to Cuba to perform at a festival with local musicians and learn about Cuba’s musical and social culture. Approximately 50 students are planning to go.
They’ve been fundraising for the last 15 months to pay for this trip, before requesting another $25,000 from senate. Assistant Concert Choir Director Sara Otteman Bray and Concert Choir President Justin Wright came to speak.
Although the choir is affiliated with UND’s Music Department, they are not an official student organization because members must audition to join in. This means they are unable to get funding from the Student Organization Funding Association.
After initial hesitation and a lengthy discussion, Senate agreed to allocate $15,000 for the trip, then later upgraded it to $20,000.
The decision was based on the choir’s already extensive fundraising, the trip’s ability to “put UND on the map” and “make the school look good for prospective students.”
“The money’s already here, so why not use it for something good and beneficial,” College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines Senator Cyndi Burich said.
Jaye Millspaugh is the multimedia editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]