Further referendums a lost cause

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Proposed budget prepares for difficult year ahead”
March 12, 2009

To the editor:
Being aware of our current economic downturn, I was quite satisfied with the results of the referendum in regards to the renovations of the University Community Centre building.

No one will argue that the place resembles a prison, but due to the current economic climate, our current times call for spending conservatively and efficiently, not extravagantly. It came as no surprise to me when reviewing the proposed budget summary on page one of Thursday’s Gazette that costs will be going up and radical budget cuts will be necessary.

Understandably, this situation is an indicator of our tough economic times and I do not doubt that such budget cuts and the raising of costs is frustrating for all parties involved. Noting that student fees are to be going up by $14.52, although concerned, I understood the necessity and was about to flip the page when something caught my eye.

According to this article, the 2009-10 budget has allotted $90,000 to “prepare for the next renovation referendum.” This is where I’m confused. I thought it was quite clear when students, in the majority, voted down the renovations. Now our University Students’ Council, maintaining the fiscal irresponsibility that seems to plague student governments, is now once again irresponsibly budgeting money towards a lost cause.

Perhaps this $14.52 raise in student fees could go towards a better cause than hiring overpriced consultants and architects? Perhaps it should go towards reducing cuts to another department, for example, attempting to enhance retail services in an attempt to regain lost traffic " and by this I don’t mean a multimillion dollar renovation.

Better yet, why not take this $90,000 and put it towards reducing the student fee increase. I don’t know about you, but I certainly could use a little more money in my pocket. Running some numbers (ballpark) with our approximate student population, putting this $90,000 towards the student fees would reduce the hike by approximately $3 " making the student fee increase approximately $11.50. I know $3 doesn’t sound like much, but where does this irresponsible budgeting end?

My advice to the USC and our USC president is this: in economic booms, a multi-million dollar renovation to the UCC may perhaps make it more pretty and that isn’t a bad thing. But you do things like this when you are absolutely drowning in surplus cash. You do not do such irresponsible things when the world around you is going to hell in a handbag, at a university that is arguably in a pretty tough economic position at the moment. I wish they would quit trying to simply be the council that renovated the UCC during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. You want to build legacies, do it on someone else’s back, not ours. Let the council five years down the road be responsible for that problem. Because then, perhaps " I certainly hope " that the financial climate will be quite different.
" Marshall Lang
Political Science II

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