Student government hears budget presentations

James Trotter, News Contributor

At the September 26 Associated Students of Oregon State House of Representatives meeting, the House then heard presentations from Director of Orange Media Network Candace Baltz, and Nicole Hindes, the Human Services and Resource Center coordinator. These presentations served as a platform for ASOSU to become familiar with student fee-receiving organizations and their purposes.

 

Baltz spoke on the importance of student media and the press as a whole, emphasizing its role as the fourth estate, or a check-and-balance for the three branches of government.

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“Healthy free press is critical to a healthy free democracy,” Baltz said. “Democracy functions with free-flowing information and when people vote. People vote poorly if they don’t know what’s going on.”

 

According to Baltz, all outlets of OMN are completely student-run, and each have a widespread influence in the community. KVBR TV has four weekly live shows and a 24/7 narrowcast on Channel 26, and 9506 print copies of the Barometer are picked up per week on average, Baltz said.

 

Current student fee dollars employ 135 students, provide opportunities for 226 volunteers, teach 68 practicum students and offer free workshop trainings, according to Baltz.

 

OMN is in the process of working to increase client work. This entails making creative videos, underwriting, renting out studios and more, and the revenue from increasing these ventures would help fund the costs of gradually replacing equipment at OMN as those needs arise, which would offset student fee funding needs and make OMN more self sufficient, according to Baltz.

 

Hindes then took the floor to speak to the house on the need for additional employees and resources for the HSRC. According to Hindes, the HRSC is understaffed to efficiently serve the students that come through their doors.

 

Hindes went on to speak about the difference that one additional employee makes at the HRSC.


“There was one night where we had a student come in, which usually means I’m there until 9:00 p.m.,” Hindes said. “But this time, I was out of there at 6:00 which never happens, and that was with just one employee.”

 

According to Hindes, the HSRC serves students who are struggling to make ends meet financially through the operation of a food pantry for those in need and money that students can apply for.

 

“The worst days at this job are when a student walks out of my office at night to go sleep in their car,” Hindes said.

 

Additionally, the HRSC runs a textbook lending program that allows students in need to borrow textbooks for the term. However, with the HRSC’s current budget, they are only able to buy a limited amount of textbooks a term, and they are ill-equipped to store them, according to Hindes.

 

When asked by a student representative what the House can do for the HRSC as a governing body, Hindes spoke about the need for more student emergency grants for students, stating that life is unpredictable for college students, and things like getting a car towed or higher monthly bills can put some students in a sudden financial crisis. Increased emergency grants would alleviate these problems for students, Hindes said.

 

Speaker of the House Carol Moreno went on to accept nominations for a new Speaker Pro Tempore. According to Moreno, the position would involve assisting the Speaker of the House in all duties and running House meetings in the event of the Speaker’s absence. Representatives Ian Walker and Laura Rathbun were nominated for the position, and the House will officially elect one of the two to the position at next week’s meeting.

 

Moreno then tasked representatives to think about questions to put on the upcoming budget rationale document, a list of questions that is sent out to organizations regarding how they would use the student fees allocated to them.

 

The answers from the Budget Rationale Document (BRD) will then be sent to the Student Fee Committee. The committee will then use these questions to help decide whether to recommend or not recommend fee levels within the student fee process. The proposed budget is then sent to the House, who votes on whether or not to accept it for the upcoming year in January.

 

Moreno closed the meeting by briefly going over the House handbook provided to all representatives, as well as providing the House and gallery with the chance for comments.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:42 p.m.

 

Editor’s note: The Daily Barometer is a part of Orange Media Network, and is funded from the student fees mentioned in this article. A previous version of this article contained errors that have since been corrected.