ASUU to post budget details online

By Chris Mumford, Staff Writer

Students might not know that before the previous student government administration left, it shelled out almost $1,300 for the spring carnival and almost $10,000 for the UBike program.

But that’s all going to change. Beginning Fall Semester, U students will no longer be left in the dark when it comes to how the student government spends its money. Although some final details have yet to be worked out, the Associated Students of the University of Utah president’s budget will be posted online, covering this past Summer Semester, just before Fall Semester commences and will be updated a minimum of three times a year at the end of every semester.

ASUU President Tayler Clough hasn’t ruled out the possibility of posting it even more often than that.

“It’s one step in the right direction,” Clough said, though he said his administration must still convert words into action.

The budget will be posted on ASUU’s website and will include information about the way student fees were spent8212;which board spent them and on what they were spent8212;as well as ASUU’s income and expense figures.

The layout, although simple, is open to becoming cryptic with short descriptions of the items which student fees would be spent on, an issue Clough readily acknowledges.

“There are words like “development.’ What does that mean?” he said. Clough said he encourages students to e-mail similar questions to ASUU staff for answers.

Clough expects students to take advantage of the online budget. The idea of posting the budget online developed amid the recent financial crisis, Clough said. He stressed the importance of providing students with information about how their tuition money is spent and keeping them up-to-date on changes in student fees.

To that end, Clough’s administration plans to provide a link to a site where tuition is broken down so students can see exactly how their money is used. A new student fee committee is also coming together to monitor fee changes and address related concerns from students.

The measures are designed to foster dialogue between students and their representatives about fiscal policy, Clough said.

He did caution, however, that the numbers students will encounter could seem more exorbitant than they truly are. He urges any concerned students to consider the context of an expenditure before jumping to conclusions, but said he welcomes questions and criticism. The cost of the U bikes, for instance, appears less staggering when factoring in the $6,824 contribution from the senior class.

“It’s worth it to have more questions and be forced to explain (what a particular expenditure) is for,” he said.

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