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ASUO Senate Ponders What To Waste $1 Million On

In today’s ODE there’s a story about the $1 million in surplus incidental fees that the Senate now has in its possession. There’s probably plenty to talk about throughout the article, but I’d like to focus on a quote near the end:

[Sen. Jonathan] Rosenberg said the committee wants students to know about the funds.

“It’s not that we have a lot of money as the Student Senate,” he said. “We have a lot of money as students. The Student Senate, more than anything, wants student input on how to spend this money.”

I rarely attempt to speak on behalf of the majority of the UO student population, but in this case I will:

We want our money back.

If there currently isn’t a mechanism by which to reimburse students, then find a way to make it happen. Yes, even if it requires a constitutional amendment or referendum. If you ask the students of the UO directly what they’d like done, a vast majority will tell you that they’d just like their money back.

We don’t want it spent on bike racks or park benches memorializing the incredible sacrifices made by the brave men and women of the 2006-2007 ASUO Senate. We don’t want Pegasus Pizza and Track Town to feed every student union member for a year. We just want some of what you’ve taken from us given back.

And the thing is, the people who would benefit most from getting ~$50 back are those who have trouble affording tuition, books, food, rent, and all of the other expenses associated with going to college. The Senate would actually be helping people who need help.

So please, for the sake of the University and your own consciences, give a refund back to us students.

  1. Doomscheisser says:

    Freezing the fee world work fine. Personally, I’d just skim 20 grand off for myself and leave the Senate, laughing my ass to the bank.

  2. Andy says:

    Isn’t it the senate’s job to make proposals too? The hardest part is agreeing on the idea, which we’ve done, so now we just need to fill out the paper work to help out the students!

  3. niedermeyer says:

    because I’m too busy letting typos slip through… Oh, and I suck at finance. Look, I’d be willing to talk to anyone who has the time and expertise to give this a shot, but frankly between the magazine, classes and my real job, I’m simply incapable of doing it right now.

  4. Jacque says:

    I am interested in trying to make something like that happen why don’t you present a plan for the senate to look at?

  5. niedermeyer says:

    Freezing or cutting the fee over the next several years is the way to go here. A refund could be tricky (though manageable), and a freeze or reduction also proves that we’re not greedheads looking for a handout, but reflects the fact that we all want to make a university education easier to attain for everyone. Anyone actually interested in making this happen?

  6. andy says:

    I think the senators are having trouble grasping the idea of actually being able to save students on their cost of attendance. The morality of giving back the students money is the crux for them. Do not be confused wise leaders, there are many right ways to give it back. The discussion on which method is best can only come after the decision to give it back is made.

    But since it seems that we are already there, there are many fine accounting students at this university whom would be able to assist in presenting different options of refunds.

  7. Timothy says:

    Somehow Oregon manages the tax kicker even with probably greater problems in population dynamics (given that the state budget is on a biennium and that tax returns are filed yearly).

    Although I do applaud your moving of the goal posts*, how about this as a solution if a refund to the most recent crop of fee-paying students just doesn’t satisfy your inner pedant enough: Just slash the fee $50 a student or thereabouts next year, which will use up the over-realized funds instead of adding even more to them. Is that not good enough? Should they build more solar panels instead? Maybe a big statue of Axelrod, or a very small statue of Adam Petkun?

    *Akin, in its ingenuity, to the arguments of the good folks at the Discovery Institute. Being that the question of what to do with the money has been about how to materially benefit current students, suggesting that we have to go calculate the PV for every student’s contribution back to time immemorial is a particularly nice flourish.

  8. Woowza says:

    Jonathan is right. And as you have been stating that this money is being built on year after year more than just last year so we could refund some of last years money but I still don’t know what you think entitles you to a refund. It would be incredibly diffficult to say precisely who deserves a refund and of how much. The incedental fees has continued to rise for years, I am sure since before you started schoo here Tim so you can’t really just base it on last year’s incedental fee paying students…

  9. Timothy says:

    The UO has billing information for current and former students, even two years hence I have a PAC and can logon to Duckweb. The concrete answer would be to go through university billing to credit everyone who was enrolled in enough hours to pay the incidental fee last year. Jesus, do we have to solve all of your problems for you or only the bloody obvious ones?

  10. Jonathan Rosenberg says:

    It would be difficult to accurately pay back the entire student body, because many of the students who originally contributed to the over realized funds have since graduated (I think this is correct). But if you have a detailed suggestion, we definitely want your input – come to a finance meeting or email/call us.

  11. Timothy says:

    Actually this is more analogous to the menu price being $15, but the restaurant charging your credit card $50 and then refusing to give you back the difference.

  12. Andy says:

    Do senators actually care about the cost of college for students?
    That is the question. We will find out the answers soon enough.

    Right now the ASUO has extracted over one million dollars from students i.e. adding $1 Million to the cost of attendance here at the UO. Does anyone in the senate think that is helping students attend college? You can now help the students senators – what is your choice?

  13. Sensationalist says:

    You haven’t changed a bit, Ian. I love it. But I’d say add some decor to the Senate office. How about a big, blow-up dildo arching over the door of the ASUO. Next to it could be a sign saying, “we have $1million of your dollars.” That would attract students’ attention, and accurately portray the character of the Senate at the same time. It may, however, be an insult to dildos everywhere.

  14. Ian says:

    Nah see if you pay $25 for a steak at some fancy restaurant does that then entitle you to say well the actual cost of the steak is 15 so give me 10 back

  15. Woowza says:

    Sure it does. We

  16. Ian says:

    It is closer the price of your food being unneccessarily inflated- that doesn

  17. Woowza says:

    I like your analogy; however, there was no mistake in how your student fee was calculated. The PFC thought they were doing things properly whether they were wasteful is a matter of opinion (one that I share). It is closer the price of your food being unneccessarily inflated- that doesn’t automatically entitle you to a refund does it? And again I think the senate has the unique opportunity to do something huge for students it may come in the form of a refund but I don’t know if that is necessarily the best route…thats all I am saying 🙂 And I am sure Sara, as well as the entire senate would love to hear your ideas and ways to implement them so email the senate: [email protected]

  18. Doomscheissah says:

    Time to start beating down Sara Hamilton’s door.

  19. Ian says:

    I think this senate needs to be a little wiser than simply giving a refund back to students.

    How is spending money that has been overcharged wise? Would it be wise for a restaurant to overcharge your bill and then spend the proceeds on new decor?

    If the PFC has been wasteful, then why not correct their mistake? Why ensure that our money gets wasted?

  20. Woowza says:

    I think this senate needs to be a little wiser than simply giving a refund back to students. This surplus came from an incredibly wasteful PFC and I don’t think we will ever see this kind of money again…

  21. Marla says:

    Hear, hear!!!!

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