ASUU overspends by $66,000

Last year’s spring concert festival, The Grand Kerfuffle, drew record-size crowds and brought a handful of A-list bands to campus, but in organizing the event, student government leaders went over budget by more than $66,000 and exhausted a $170,000 reserve.

Without a reserve for government leaders to fall back on, students now have to pay an entry fee to music festivals, said Kyle Hansen, Presenter’s Office director.

He said it would have been nice to have some surplus money as a safety net, but he holds no ill will against the prior administration.

“They laid a lot of the ground work to open up stuff for us to build on,” he said. “I think (the Kerfuffle) was one of the best things that’s happened on campus in a long time.”

The student government spent a total of $270,395 on the free three-day festival held last April, which featured the bands Yellowcard and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Former student officials who were in charge of the event and professional advisers in the Associated Students of the University of Utah said that while they didn’t intend to go $66,000 over budget, they made the decision to “go big” and make the event something students would remember.

“There was money within the broader ASUU budget to cover those expenses, and so the decision was ‘let’s put on this great event knowing that in future years we might not be able to do this again for a while,'” said George Lindsey, ASUU accountant.

Ali Hasnain, last year’s student body president, agreed with Lindsey that his intention was to make the Kerfuffle an event to remember and said much of the overspending came from unexpected bills that came in after the day of the show.

“I believe we did everything we could to make sure we weren’t over budget,” he said.

The concert was put on by the Presenter’s Office, a board within the Executive Cabinet of ASUU that manages all ASUU event programming.

In addition to the $66,000 it went over budget, the board exhausted the $170,000 reserve from previous administrations to pay the hefty price tag for the concert series.

While the massive bill for the Kerfuffle was unprecedented in ASUU history, the organization did not go into debt from the concert and even had a surplus from the 2005-2006 school year because the administration underspent in other areas and had a surplus in its general reserve.

“I think having the general reserve is for instances like this,” Hasnain said.

Former Presenter’s Office Director Andy Murphy, who was in charge of supervising the budget, said he intended to use up his board’s surplus, and while he didn’t intend to go over budget, he said he knew it was an option.

“We thought we had all the funds and then some; we did not intend to go over budget,” he said.

Murphy has an optimistic outlook on the concert despite problems with the budget.

“In terms of attendance, (The Kerfuffle) was triple and then some any other event (ASUU) has brought on campus,” he said. “It’s something we believed was worth it for campus life, and I think the 20,000 people that came to the Kerfuffle would agree.”

Hasnain said he thinks ASUU leaders ought to responsibly spend the money students pay in fees rather than letting it build up.

“That money is there for the students, and if it isn’t used, there is something wrong with that,” he said.

Ryan Perkins