Editorial: Vote 'no' on Major Project Fund

By The Beacon | November 1, 2011 9:00pm

By The Beacon Editorial Board

ASUP is jumping into bed with the Campus Program Board (CPB) and trying to reassure everyone that it's OK.

On Oct. 24, the ASUP Senate voted 27 to 2 in favor of allowing its Capital Improvement Fund (CIF) – $20,000 a semester – to be used for campus events in addition to capital improvements.

Resolution 11-07 would change the CIF to a Major Project Fund (MPF), which would expand its use to include funding for events such as speeches and concerts. However, because Resolution 11-07 violates ASUP's constitution, which limits the CIF's use to physical improvements only, ASUP must have the student body's and the University president's approval before the resolution can go into effect.

ASUP President and senior Zack Imfeld does not view this resolution as giving more money to CPB, but "giving students more opportunity to do great things with their money."

Sorry, ASUP, we're calling your bluff, and The Beacon gives Resolution 11-07 a resoundingly firm no.

ASUP exists to lead and govern the student body, while CPB exists to entertain. Resolution 11-07 would, in effect, join two organizations that should function independently.

Though the $20,000 may not be allocated directly to CPB, the program board is in charge of planning campus events. Thus, CPB would most likely be using the money. It is unlikely that ASUP would plan this major event without CPB or form a new committee to do so, especially because CPB already exists for this purpose.

According to ASUP Treasurer and junior Caitlin Chu, CPB received around $66,000 from ASUP funding this semester and is expected to get roughly the same amount next semester. Part of CPB Director and junior Sean Ducey's campaign platform was to bring a major event to campus and CPB has already planned to host a concert in the spring – before ASUP voted to change the CIF to a MPF. If CPB believed it had sufficient funds to a hold a concert with its current budget, why does ASUP think more money should be designated for a major event?

Resolution 11-07 would give immediate gratification to the student body. However, it is not in the best interest of the student body. Sure, a concert might be more memorable for some students, but an actual physical contribution to the campus has greater longevity and ultimately benefits more people in the long run. Past improvements, such as a water bottle refill station, TVs in Howard Hall and the crosswalk in front of the University's main entrance may not have the same glitzy in-your-face impact as a "bomb Lupe Fiasco concert," but they are dependable improvements that students use every day.

Moreover, the City of Portland already has a steady stream of concerts that students can attend. UP does not need to host a concert for students to get their music fill.

Finally, the vote to change the CIF to a MPF shows a lack of creativity on ASUP's behalf. If ASUP is unhappy about past physical improvements made with the CIF, perhaps it should devote more time to finding improvements worth spending money on. The CIF could go toward improving St. Mary's, which would give students the student center we deserve. The CIF could also be spent on putting in more bike and skateboard racks around campus.

According to KDUP General Manager and senior Sal Liotta, KDUP is also in desperate need of a new website. Helping KDUP attain this goal would not only add to the value of the radio station but to the University in general.

The student body should undoubtedly vote against the change of the CIF to a MPF and reserve the funding for physical improvements. It is difficult for smaller schools like UP to receive funding for small physical improvements to campus. These smaller improvements are even more overlooked when the University has problems like toilets falling off the walls in Corrado and Shipstad Halls. Also, students have different priorities than the administration on what would be useful capital improvements, like the 30-minute parking in front of The Cove.

Over the next two years the fall CIFs are already designated for the RISE Campaign, specifically to the new fitness center. Because of this designation the Senate has only $20,000 a year for capital improvements rather than $40,000. If the spring CIF is turned into an MPF, it would further limit the physical "footprint" ASUP could leave on campus, and many much-needed capital improvements will fall to the wayside.

Just because 27 ASUP Senators want a "memorable event" does not mean it's in the best interest of the University and its students. Students should vote against ASUP and its lackluster decision on the PilotsUP portal Nov. 15-16.