A.S. senators approve annual campus budget after vetoes, recommendations

Dessiraee Eleby

The Associated Student Senate approved the 2008-09 A.S. budget for the second time at the June 24 Senate meeting.

University President Jolene Koester recommended 13 item changes to A.S. budget and the Senate voted in agreement, but made two modifications to Koester’s recommendation in her June 16 memo.

The modifications to Koester’s recommendations were to not fund the intercollegiate scholarship at the 2007-08 level and to stipulate funding for the Student Development International Program (SDIP) Graduate Assistant position.

“It was a great and amazing meeting,” said A.S. President Miguel Segura on what was the Senate meeting was the longest one in years.

Segura did not veto any part of the A.S. budget. He sent it to Koester on June 25 for approval. President Koester has 10 days to approve the A.S. budget, said Segura.

President Koester’s Executive Assistant Randy Reynaldo said, President Koester received the A.S. budget and has sent a letter regarding the budget to A.S. He would not comment on what the letter pertained.

A.S. Attorney General David Crandall said that President Koester approved the 2008-09 A.S. budget in her letter to A.S., however, in her letter Koester stated that she was “gravely concerned” about the lack of funding in the budget in the amount of $53,600 to fund scholarship for student athletics.

A.S. Senator At Large Abel Pacheco said that the athletics teams are the most visible representation of CSUN.

Pacheco voted in agreement to fund intercollegiate athletics scholarships with the original funding of $1,417,500 for the 2008-09 school year, which was the recommendation of the Student Finance Committee.

One increase is fair because of the current budget, said Pacheco in reference to not voting to restore it to the higher 2007-08 funding level, which was Koester’s original request.

However, if there is a surplus, Pacheco said there is a chance to increase funding for intercollegiate athletics scholarships by $36,000 in the Fall 2008 semester. He would vote for the fall increase, if it occurs, because athletes do a great job of representing CSUN.

The Senate also funded $17,200 for the SDIP Graduate Assistant for the Fall 2008 semester, about half of Koester’s recommendation of $34,333 for the entire year. A review in October 2008 would decide if the SDIP Graduate Assistant position would continue to receive the rest of its funding for Spring 2009 semester by A.S.

The SDIP Graduate Assistant is an entry level full-time position, said Vicki Allen, associate director for student involvement.

The position’s job description includes assisting students in forming new clubs and organizations as well as facilitating new clubs workshops, acting as a liaison between the Matador Involvement Center (MIC) and A.S. Recreation Sports team, overseeing the Clubs and Organization Suite in the USU, supporting the leadership program, and managing resources that include the equipment library, the leadership library and supporting technical matters such as email and other Web accounts, said Allen.

The position is very important for students because it increases the longevity of a student club, said Allen.

The review of the SDIP Graduate Assistant position will be to increase the accountability and transparency of the position, said Pacheco. “I’m confident that they will receive full funding.”

The additional 11 items that were funded as recommended are: MIC Programs, Center of Achievement, Aquatic Center, Discover, Inquire, Grow in LA; Public Safety Escort Service; Science and Math Retention; Science and Math retention tutors; SDIP Leadership Institute; SDIP Student Panels for an International Curriculum and Education; SDPI and MIC Programs and a board service position.

Segura said the A.S. budget benefits the students in the long run, although he could not be reached for further comment. A.S. Vice President Nicole Umali could not be reached for an in person interview.