UPUA Discusses Penn State Budget, Club Sports
UPUA Rep. Tim Rinehart summed up last night’s meeting perfectly in one tweet:
One of the first 2 hr @UPUA Assembly meetings that didn’t actually feel like 2 hrs long. Extremely good meeting.
— Tim Rinehart (@TiMakeItHappen) November 7, 2013
Sure, legislatively, the meeting was a bit of a drag, with only one easy unanimously approved resolution to hit the floor. But both of the special presentations — one from Finance and Business VP David Gray and another from members of club sports — proved to be enlightening.
Gray went first and gave his 10-minute pitch on what makes up Penn State’s budget and why tuition continues to increase. Of course, Gray blamed the consistent tuition increases almost entirely on the state appropriations — which he called “abysmal” — not on any sort of administrative bloat.
“Republicans and Democrats in PA are equal-opportunity ‘slighters’ of higher education,” said Gray. It’s hard to argue. Since 2000, Penn State has seen a 15.8 percent decrease in state appropriations.
The question and answer session proved to be robust. Rep. Ted Ritsick asked Gray, point blank, to reveal the cost of the infamous ‘Penn State Lives Here’ campaign.
“If I knew, I would tell you,” replied Gray.
Rep. Kevin Horne persisted on the question, first asking Gray about Penn State’s Right to Know status and following up with, “Do you believe tuition payers — like myself and other students — ought to know how much Penn State is paying for controversial initiatives like PulsePoint’s marketing campaign and the Values and Culture survey?”
Gray said that he “didn’t see why it would be a problem for [us] to have that information” and that he would relay it if he got further approval (Spoiler: He won’t get further approval).
The next presentation came from Shannon Harrop, the president of women’s water polo. Harrop spoke to the assembly on behalf of all club sports and discussed several problems with how club sports are funded. It’s an interesting dilemma, considering all club sports are currently funded under the intercollegiate athletics umbrella.
The entire 75 club sports teams representing 5,000 students received a whopping total of $220,000 this year, or just about $44 an athlete. Of course, that money isn’t allocated evenly — expensive sports like hockey require more equipment and a bigger budget. However, all of the club sports are running into budget problems.
Each club sport needs to pay to use the on-campus facilities, despite many of those facilities being built with student facility fee money. Club swimming alone pays $10,000 to use the pool, while the men and women’s water polo team dishes out $15,000 annually for facilities.
Club sports came to UPUA asking for any help it could provide, and for $30,000-$45,000. The money won’t come easy — in fact, it’s unlikely something that costs that much would ever make it to the floor — but several UPUA representatives suggested that the club sports programs should look into securing funding through UPAC and the student activity fee, which they are currently barred from requesting.
As Rep. John Wortman put it, referring to Movin’ On, “If UPAC can give $350,000 for a one-day concert, then they should be able to help you guys out somehow.”
After the presentations, UPUA only had one measly piece of legislation to discuss:
Resolution 12-08: Support of Engaged Scholarship
The resolution describes an engaged scholarship as “out-of-classroom academic experiences that complement classroom learning.” Penn State has been involved with this program since 1996 and there has been continuous work through the University Council of Engaged Scholarship.
Through this legislation, UPUA supports the efforts of the Council of Engaged Scholarship to get more students involved.
The resolution passed unanimously. No one cared.
Tie of the Week: Tim Rinehart
The tie just jumps out at you, which is surprising considering Rinehart’s history of conservative ties. The bold patterns and colors make for a very visually appealing tie, and the matching handkerchief seals the deal. Good work, Mr. Rinehart.