First come, first serve at ASUW trough

By Adam Lederer
BI Columnist

Our student government is spending our money at an amazing rate this year with what appears to be little student input.

According to my calculations, ASUW has committed, or already spent, $929,400 of our money. Most of it appears to have come from the recently discovered Student Loan Fund that had more than $2 million.

Our decision-making process for spending the money appears to be a “first come, first serve” method of thinking — and only one of these ideas actually appears to have been any good.

I certainly appreciate ASUW funding the purchase of the new UNIX server for campus. It was much needed and will be, over time, much appreciated.

However, I do question the naming of the server. Was it absolutely necessary for ASUW to name it ASUWlink?

Before Plains came to campus, students used computers named Outlaw and Posse. Other major computers on campus have embraced the western theme.

ASUWlink breaks that tradition and glorifies an organization that does not need any more glorification.

At a cost of $253,000, I’ll overlook the egotistical nature of ASUW and say thanks.

However, when it comes to the $626,400 ASUW is committed for renovations to Half Acre, I’m a little bit more leery.

I’ve read a lot about the proposed renovations, but I have never seen justification for the tremendous changes that are proposed.

The proposal calls for moving the entrance of Half Acre so that it faces Prexy’s Pasture — expand the women’s locker room, add a rifle range, and move some other facilities around the place.

Realistically, I understand expanding the women’s locker room — it probably needs it. Women deserve equivalent facilities. I’d also support moving other facilities around until the improved women’s locker room fits in.

However, I don’t get why we need to move the entrance.

I don’t get why students are being asked to fund a rifle range that will be used primarily by the ROTC. Can’t ROTC fund its own facilities?

I don’t understand why we need to move stuff around. Is it necessary to move free weights to the first floor and the nautilus weight room to the second floor?

We’re also going to purchase televisions at the cost of $4,000. With cable, of course, so it’s OK.

Near as I can tell, about the only real reason being given for the renovations is because Half Acre hasn’t been renovated since 1979. I guess we haven’t been maintaining the facility.

The good news is that students are not the only ones shouldering the cost of these nifty renovations. Unexpended employee benefits totaling $175,000 will also be used. The administration is also looking for an additional $25,000 to fund its commitment of $200,000.

Of course, the money really does come from the student’s pocket, but it’s more palatable when it comes from tuition, taxes and donations.

ASUW is also spending $50,000 to fund a project yet to be determined.

I’m willing to guess that the senate is going to fund the first project that comes along. That’s what they appear to have been doing all along.

Senate should realize that the first proposed projects are not necessarily the best projects to fund.

Adam Lederer is a graduate student in political science minoring in environment and natural resources. He earned his bachelor’s from UW in 1996.

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