The UA student government passed part of a yearly budget last night that included thousands of dollars in cuts to pay off the losses from last April's failed stadium concert.
The most noticeable and drastic cuts came from the special events budget, which sustained a $93,000 cut - from $108,000 to about $15,000 — at the student leaders' weekly meeting at the Student Union Memorial Center last night.
The Associated Students of the University of Arizona saved $35,000 when the university took over financial responsibilty for the University Activities Board. The board has been moved outside of the ASUA offices to the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership.
Despite the new savings, the student government will spend the next several years paying off the $900,000 that was lost last spring on the Arizona Stadium concert, sponsored by ASUA, that featured Jay-Z, Kelly Clarkson, Third Eye Blind and The Veronicas.
ASUA had spent over $1.5 million on the concert, and brought in just $317,000 in merchandise and ticket sales.
With its remaining funds frozen by the university, ASUA used its $308,000 in emergency funds to help offset some of the losses.
In order to prevent the student government from being crippled by the remaining losses, ASUA has taken out two loans from the UA Bookstore — a five-year loan of $20,000 per year, and a six-year loan of $150,000 per year.
Because of the 80 percent funding cut, the special events section will take new approaches to bringing events such as concerts to the student body this year. They plan on entering into partnerships and sponsorships with non-university entities to pay for events, rather than attempting to pay completely out-of-pocket, said Clifton Harris, ASUA treasurer.
""We just don't have the room to take on that risk this year,"" he said. ""Hundreds of hours were spent … forming this budget.""
Executive budgets split Senate
While the ASUA Senate passed the majority of the 2009-10 budget, expense amounts tied to the executive operations budgets caused significant dispute among the senators.
The executive operations budget, which was $9,000 per executive last year, was cut to $7,000 per executive in this year's proposed budget.
The president, executive vice president and administrative vice president have typically used the funds to pay for unforeseen expenses, such as last year's budget protest at the State Capitol.
Sen. Daniel Wallace said that having one individual in charge of $7,000 was fiscally irresponsible, especially since the money would be spent at each executive's individual discretion.
""I want to go back and see what money was spent on what, to see what you guys actually need,"" he told his fellow senators. ""Just throwing money around is not fiscally responsible. You could spend it on anything, theoretically.""
The Senate chose to table the executive operations budget amounts for next week's meeting by a vote of 9-1. Sen. Stephen Wallace was the lone dissenter.
""I love you guys, but I want you guys to know I do not agree with the decision made today,"" he said.
Stephen Wallace also attempted to discredit Daniel Wallace's concerns by stating that since the treasurer was an Eller College of Management student, he knew more about financial situations than Daniel Wallace, a biology major.
""You do not have the experience he has,"" Stephen Wallace told Daniel Wallace.
Sen. Tyler Quillin stepped in to suggest that tabling the executive operations budget would be beneficial to all parties, as it would give everyone a week to reflect and contemplate which course of direction would be best for the budget, Quillin said.
""I see no harm in giving them another look,"" he said. ""I only see benefits.""
ASUA President Chris Nagata was open to the suggestion, barring any unexpected situations over the next week that would need the executive operations expenses. He did warn the Senate that they could be doing more harm than good if the executive operations budgets were adjusted.
""In the end, entities will suffer,"" Nagata said.