SA organizations oppose BTE

By Sara Blankenheim

The Student Association’s Big Time Entertainment committee had made its way through the senate with little opposition – until Sunday night.

At the SA Senate meeting, members from more than 10 SA-recognized organizations attended to express disapproval of the new committee.

“I’m here to voice my organization’s opposition because BTE is getting the reserve money other organizations could be using,” said Jason Magnuson, vice president of the lacrosse team.

Other organizations present included Campus Activities Board, the rugby team, El Fuego Del Pueblo, the Northern Coalition for Peace and Justice, Habitat for Humanity, the Pre-Professional Association, the Honors Student Organization, Lambda Sigma and the Northern Leadership Institute.

SA President Kevin Miller did not attend the meeting because of a prior engagement.

“I was out speaking at the Residence Hall Association,” he said. “I was just giving them an update – it’s my job to keep them in the loop.”

Organizations in attendance were disappointed at Miller’s absence.

“Unfortunately Mr. Miller isn’t here, because he rants and raves about how he talks to student organizations,” said Gema Gaete-Tapia, treasurer of El Fuego Del Pueblo and a former SA senate speaker. “He’s supposed to report to us, the students, and he’s not even here to answer our questions.”

CAB representatives spoke mainly about the effect the BTE will have on their organization.

“We are not the same CAB we were 10, five or even one year ago,” said CAB Travel Coordinator Nicole Weber. “We are stronger and better able to serve the students. As you can see, our goal has not changed – even without an increase in our budget within the last 10 years.”

CAB Concerts Coordinator John Ugolini seemed offended by the committee’s purpose.

“We already have organizations coordinating entertainment,” he said. “It’s just like saying that we aren’t doing our job good enough.”

The flood of complaints continued as Anna Schaber, a member of the Northern Coalition for Peace and Justice, supported Ugolini’s statement.

“The CAB (Concerts) committee has over 30 members and twice as much money,” she said. “This (BTE) committee has half as much money and only a sixth of the representation.”

Ugolini tried to put the situation in further perspective.

“Who has a better chance of representing the students, 125 or five?” he said.

In the SA’s defense, Treasurer Shaun Crisler explained the process in which students express discontent.

“When people have problems, they come straight to Campus Life Building 180 [the SA office] and that’s how I know,” he said. “If you were in my position, you’d understand.”

Peggy Keiner, a representative from CAB’s Habitat for Humanity, disapproved of the amount of money.

“It takes one organization approximately two years to acquire $400,” she said. “You’re giving five people $37,500. How does that work?”

Crisler commented on CAB’s request for a budget increase.

“CAB asked for close to $1,000,000,” he said. “Now, to me, that is interesting.”

The group requested $856,000.

“CAB had over 70 pages of a document to justify the increase,” said Sen. Laisha Fox, who’s also the CAB president.

Crisler concluded by saying that anyone is welcome to come by the SA office and he will answer additional questions.