ASUU gets an A-plus in open dialogue

By By Anne Looser

By Anne Looser

L ast year the ASUU GeneralAssembly amendedRedbook, the U’s constitution.The amendment’s purposewas to keep better tabson where the money went.The amendment prohibiteddepartments from receivingspecial funding.Unfortunately, this led to asubstantial budget shortfallfor the Lowell Bennion CommunityService Center.Historically the BennionCenter received fundingthrough the departmentalprocess, which sponsorsstudent-directed communityservice programs.Students in the centerrecognize the rationale forthis amendment, but wereconcerned about the implicationsfor the center. Havingstarted looking for alternatesources of funding throughASUU, Senator Brandon Leehelped propose a bill to getdedicated funds for the student-led service projects.President Alex Lowe andVice President Bobby Harrington,holding true to theircampaign promises, could notsupport favoring one studentgroup overanother.So theycalled ameeting withBennion Centerstaff andstudent leadersto explaintheir position,and to discussother ways tosupport theservice programs.At the meeting Lowe andHarrington explained severalfunding options to thecenter’s representatives. Themost appealingoption was a50 cent dedicatedstudentfee specificallyearmarked forBennion Centeruse.Lowe andHarrington,again holdingtrue to theircampaignpromises, cautionedagainstthe new fee.We applauded their stewardshipof student fees, butstill felt the pressure of largebudget shortfall. Center leadersthen sought advice fromother university officials.Soon, the center realizedthat increasing studentfees would be difficult, butseemed the best option.Out of the frustration createdby trying to fill the budgetshortfall, a series of discussionstook place, and revealedhow well our student governmentworks. Another sourceultimately stepped in to fillthe funding gap.Although the center did notagree with ASUU’s decision,we appreciated the processthey went through to help usfind a solution to the budgetshortfall.Lowe and Harrington stoodfirm on their principles andchose to have an open dialoguewith Bennion Centerstudents. This could have becomea heated and emotionaldebate, but it wasn’t. It wascivil and a true attempt tofind middle ground. This is ashining example of what civicengagement can and shouldlook like.The Bennion Center wouldlike to say thank you to thoseinvolved in the [email protected]