A joint session of the ASOSU Senates and the Student Incidental Fees Committee took place Tuesday in the MU Lounge to approve student fee budget proposals for the upcoming school year.The issue of a unified senate, brought up at past senate meetings, was discussed again. ASOSU President Mike Olson agreed that a move to unify the Undergraduate and Graduate Senates was necessary, however the current bill proposing such action has a few problems.
"At this point, throwing all senators together just isn't a good idea," Olson said. Olson vetoed the bill, which will now go back to the student government committee for revision.
New business Tuesday included six budget proposals for the 2007-2008 school year, already reviewed by the Student Incidental Fees Committee and the Appropriations and Budget Committee.
The budgets discussed were Sustainability, Student Involvement, Corvallis Transit, Our Little Village/Student Parent Advisory, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Athletics.
All budgets were approved by the Senate, but the most debated proposal was the Our Little Village/Student Parent Advisory budget.
The Appropriations and Budget Committee voted 3-0 against the budget and recommended the that the Senate reject the current fee of 50 cents per student per term that would help to fund the creation of several new programs and a new position.
Their rejection was based on the surplus of $642,317.66 in Our Little Village's funds.
"The funds from the budget will be used to cover costs for a parent student advocate position, assessment of student parent needs, any operational expenses and a drop off center at The Valley Library," said Stephanie Duckett, student parent advocate.
The library drop-off day care center is set to begin operating during the summer.
The Appropriations and Budget Committee defended their decision by saying that the rejection of Our Little Village's budget is a matter of where the money for Our Little Village services should come from, and not a question of whether their services are needed.
Our Little Village has had the 50 cent per student per term budget for the past four years. The Our Little Village program plans to use their surplus to construct another day care center on campus.
"In the past we had no way to assess student parent needs on campus, that's part of the reason why the surplus exists, but we are in the process of starting assessment and we need this money for construction of a new day care center," Duckett said.
Discussion took place among the senators, and the issue of necessity was brought up by several senators.
"We're paying 50 cents for something that's in the process of being assessed," Sen. Dennis Lane said.
Others voiced support for the budget. "I think that it's important to say that [Our Little Village] has started to use the money, and this is an investment in the futures of student parents," Sen. Jerred Taylor said.
"I just want to stress the importance of this fee to student parents such as myself," said Angela Baxter, ASOSU's director of queer affairs. "My kids are above normal day care age, for parents like me this new drop off center and the future day care will be a tremendous resource."
Annette McFarland, ASOSU director of non-tradition affairs, said that rejecting the budget would deplete Our Little Village's funds.
"Think about how much harder it will be to approve this budget two years from now, and how much effort it will take to build up funds again," McFarland said.