USU approves renovation funding

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The University Student Union Board of Directors met Tuesday and approved funds to paint the exterior of the USU, discussed continuing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, and debated when and how the board’s bylaws would be revised.

Executive Director Debra Hammond expressed her pleasure that the improvements on the USU buildings can now commence.

“The effect will be tremendous,” she said. “A lot of people do not like the salmon color the buildings are painted now. It will make it all look more uniform.”

Hammond said the approval of the painting and renovations budget is a part of opening the new areas now under construction.

“Painting is just part of it,” said Hakim Chambers, Facilities, Projects, and Services Manager, adding that a priority is making sure to provide lounge spaces and places for students to hang out and study.

Chambers said that in addition to the renovations and painting of the existing buildings, a new USU building should be finished and ready for student use by Spring 2006.

“We’re building a coffeehouse, (a) new Mercantile Exchange, a new television lounge, a new computer lab with 70 computers. There will also be meeting rooms, study rooms, and a new performance plaza” in the yet-unfinished building, he said.

According to Chambers, the project is nearing completion.

“We’re working out details and fine-tuning,” Chambers said. “It’s like a puzzle. We have all the pieces, we just need to finish putting them into place.”

In other areas of discussion, the board commended collection teams for the university’s Hurricane Katrina fundraising drive, and announced that more than $84,000 was raised for the disaster victims.

Bobby Rodgers, USU board chair, said an event would be held to recognize all the students and staff that contributed to the campaign.

“There will be some kind of university-wide marketing effort to let people know when the recognition event will occur,” he said.

Rodgers also said that some members of the board donated parts of their stipends to the relief efforts. To date, board members have donated more than $1,000, he said.

Board Vice Chair Jason Gray announced that students will receive a free plate of food if they bring canned goods for Hurricane Katrina victims on Sept. 28 between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Park West pool in the University Park Apartments.

The board also heard from representatives of the organization’s external auditors, Vicenti Lloyd Stutzman, LLP.

Renee Graves and Kristin Rothweiler gave the board copies of their audit reports and gave brief explanations of the documents and procedures. Graves said that the audit had gone smoothly.

Hammond said the body had received an “unqualified audit, which means a clean audit, which is very good,” she said.

New appointees were also voted into the USU board.

Brandon Robinson was appointed student representative to the board

“I’m really excited,” he said. “Hopefully, I can make a great impact.”

The meeting was delayed as board members disagreed over when to discuss revisions to the group’s bylaws, which determine how long a person can hold a position on the board.

“The bylaws are the rules, the formal way of doing things,” said Student Representative Joseph Pourshalimy. “You need a minimum of 12 people to amend the bylaws. The turnout today was too low.”

Rodgers proposed postponing the revisions to Jan. 23, but Pourshalimy opposed him during the meeting, wanting to postpone discussions to next month’s meeting instead.

He later said a committee worked hard developing the revisions, and that it wanted some closure.

“If you don’t have 12 now, what makes you think you’ll have 12 in January?” he said, citing his concern that revisions could be put off indefinitely until there are enough board members present to revise and finalize them.

“It’s not an immediate concern, but it could be,” he said.

The board voted against Pourshalimy’s motion to have revision hearings at next month’s meeting, and hearings are now scheduled for January 2006.

Bethania Palma can be reached at bethania.palma.45@csun.edu.