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Student Council debates budget

Proposal to repave Phi Psi sidewalk voted down

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Student Council met Tuesday to discuss community concerns and their newly proposed fall budget.

Council viewed two versions of the budget, one with revisions and one without. Committees submitted individual budget proposals and the executive board cut down allocations deemed less important for a final proposed budget of $100,624. Revenues come both from Student Activity Fees and non-SAF sources.

Council President Jalen Ross, a fourth-year Engineering student, said a final budget will be voted on next Tuesday.

“What we did tonight was meet … and ran debate about the budget,” Ross said. “The executive committee proposed a budget that was a significant cut from the proposed budgets out of committees. Committee chairs could try to defend the cuts, and on total [there were] between four and five changes from the [executive board] proposal.”

Council went through the budget by committee and opened the floor for comments, questions or amendments from councilmembers. Some budgets went without opposition while others provoked more conversation.

Allocating funds to the repaving and redesigning of the sidewalk in front of the fraternity Phi Psi, which directly faces Mad Bowl, garnered much discussion among councilmembers.

Building and Grounds Committee representative Chris Collins, a fourth year in the Engineering school, brought up the item, as its requested budget was cut down in the executive committee budget. He argued that the path in front of Phi Psi is very dangerous at night for students, and even though it is on Phi Psi’s property, it has been a significant student concern.

The proposal was met with opposition and questions from many councilmembers who questioned whether Council should be responsible for partially funding such a project. Some even asked if the National Fraternity Chapter of Phi Psi or even the city of Charlottesville should be addressing the issue.

Law School Representative W. Andrew Lanius, a third year, moved to amend to cut the funding from the budget entirely, saying he did not think it would be reasonable to task every student in the University with funding the project that may only impact a small subset of the population.

“[I have] never seen pork like this in the budget,” he said.

Council voted to remove the renovation project from the budget.

Other divisions of the budget underwent changes, including moving money out of the University Community Garden budget from the Sustainability Committee and changes to projects proposed by the Academic Affairs committee.

The Student Council Membership Committee reallocated money to the Graduate Affairs mixers budget and discussed changes to funding and policies regarding Council’s Foxfield plot.

Representative Body Chair Abraham Axler, a second-year College student, proposed to reallocate funds away from the Foxfield plot budget due to hesitations about the relationship between Council and Foxfield, an event associated with high alcohol consumption.

After discussion and the reasoning to have a central location for Student Council members at Foxfield, Axler changed his motion to formally state in the budget that the Foxfield plot be “alcohol free,” and the motion passed.

Council also heard from University Bookstore Marketing Manager Jeff Kennedy, who spoke about it’s recent initiative to donate profits to AccessUVa, the University’s financial aid program.

“We are the only department of the University that does not receive funding from the University,” Kennedy said. “The more students, (families) and fans buy, the more we can give.”

Last year the University Bookstore was able to donate about $319,000 to the University, and their eventual goal is to be able to donate $1 million.

Correction: Charlottesville Community Garden has been changed to University Community Garden.


Published September 3, 2014 in News







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