Hot-Button Funding Issues Push Council Past Eighth Hour

    Last night’s A.S. meeting was a true test of endurance, but it commenced innocently enough with special presentations. Eleanor Roosevelt College senior Carol-Irene Southworth, representing the Free Speech Coalition, was the trailblazing presenter of the evening, with a report on the status of the free-speech policy the coalition is currently drafting.

    “Our goal now is to get a policy proposal of a brand new free-speech policy finished by the end of this quarter and out hopefully by the end of Winter Quarter,” Southworth said.

    Paul Terzino of University Centers came forth next to clarify any misunderstandings regarding renting University Centers for student organization events.

    Next up was Melissa Ewart, the A.S. senior graphic artist, who updated the council on the happenings of the A.S. Graphic Studio and promised uniquely designed T-shirts that advertise the studio’s services for councilmembers next week.

    The last presentation consisted of University Events Office Director Martin Wollesen’s update on the financial status of the Loft and included a line-itemized budget to clarify the running of the space and some of the statements Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue made last week regarding the Loft’s survival.

    “I think they want to make sure they can keep [the Loft] going,” Wollesen said. “But I don’t foresee ongoing operating costs coming from the vice chancellor’s office.”

    Although nearly half of the council was in favor of helping bail out the Loft, some of the line items on Wollesen’s budget raised eyebrows.

    “I really want to make sure that the money is not devoted for BlackBerrys for all the interns,” Associate Vice President of Athletic Relations Peter Benesch said in reference to a line item for such services.

    During committee reports, the council passed a motion to move $80,000 from its mandated reserves to the programming office for Sun God plans, but with the stipulation that the proposed activity fee referendum is passed by the student body.

    Three hours into the meeting, the council’s attention finally turned to the proposed activity fee referendum. Conversation took a turn for the fierce following mention of a $2.65 quarterly addition to the referendum to keep the Loft afloat.

    “I am not comfortable being yet again the student that has to pay for something without the guarantee of oversight,” President Donna Bean said.

    The discussion moved around in circles among Loft advocates, Loft dissenters and people who wanted to table the voting for yet another week. After making an impassioned statement on the lack of student control over where their fees go, Bean stormed out of the forum to regain her composure.

    At the stroke of eleven, the council was forced to resume conversation across the hall, where tempers and patience continued to flare over the language and numbers on the referendum as the clock ticked away.
    Councilmembers finally unanimously passed the referendum after spending more time in the fourth floor of Price Center East than most people do in class on a given day.

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