Several topics have come into recent attention involving the Lawrence University Community Council, including the discussion of a possible campus-wide smoking ban, the proposition of an Environmental Sustainability Fund to the Student Activity Fee and a noticeable change in the budget allocations for the 2011-2012 academic year.
“This has been an exciting term for LUCC, our committees have gone above and beyond their call of duty,” said LUCC President J.R. Vanko. “I cannot express how great it is to see so many Lawrentians coming to LUCC to express their views and to work to improve the University as a whole.”
The proposed legislation that would ban smoking on campus was presented by the Student Welfare committee, which had been given a resolution from the General Council charging them with the investigation of a possible smoking ban. At a recent General Council meeting, the council made the decision to table the legislation indefinitely, meaning the legislation has not been passed or struck down.
“This legislation created the arena for some very insightful commentary to take place,” commented Vanko. “We had over 30 people attend our General Council meeting when the legislation was introduced.”
The Environmental Respon-sibility Committee proposed that the council make a formal recommendation to the Board of Trustees regarding a proposed Environmental Sustainability Fund. The fund would add five dollars per term to the Student Activity Fee, which is currently legislated at $27 per student.
After an equal show of interest from the Lawrence community at two General Council meetings, the general council approved a slightly amended version of the proposal. According to the minutes of the April 11 General Council meeting, “All allocations of these funds would have a 12-year return… energy efficiency changes would help to make the school money in the long run.”
The amended proposal will charge the Steering Committee, the LUCC standing committee responsible for maintaining and drafting legislation, to begin drafting a formal recommendation to the Board of Trustees in the fall.
The financial allocations for student groups during the 2011-2012 academic year are determined Spring Term of every year by the Finance Committee, chaired by LUCC Vice President Carl Byers. The committee was charged this year with allocating $341,000 to student groups that apply for funding. The groups, that apply for funding based on their various activities, requested $441,477.68 this year, and the committee made various cuts to balance the overall budget.
Finance Committee retained most of their traditional rules and policies regarding allocation requests. A few adjustments were made regarding equipment requests. In addition, groups that did not show up to their hearing were not given funds, and are encouraged by Byers to apply for a budget next fall.
The most noticeable change to next year’s budget was the decision not to allocate any of the requested $44,826 towards The Ariel, the organization that designs and prints Lawrence University’s yearbook.
“There have been issues with The Ariel going over budget in the past, issues with yearbooks not getting in on time and we’ve all seen the tremendous amount of undistributed yearbooks in the publications room,” said Byers.
“While we could not justify allocating [any of] the amount The Ariel asked for,” Byers added, “the Finance Committee is very well committed to seeing a digital edition of yearbook. We understand that there’s a huge history with the yearbook, and we did not take the decision lightly.”
After a unanimous vote of the Finance Committee to bring the budget to General Council for approval, the council raised a few questions and concerns before tabling the proposal, which will be voted on at the May 16 General Council meeting.
Questions and concerns about the budget were raised at an informational meeting May 11. Further questions can be directed towards Byers, and as always, General Council Meetings are open to any member of the Lawrence Community.