Student Government forming Athletic Commission to explore athletic funding process

The Student Senate held it's regular meeting on Nov. 18.

Steven Cole, Student Government president, issued executive order 102-02 at the Senate Meeting Tuesday night in the Student Center, to form an ad-hoc commission to explore the process of funding Eastern Michigan University athletics.

Senators Joshua Starr and Sam Jones-Darling support the formation of the Athletics Commission to discuss the “complicated topic” and recommend best-spending practices of student tuition dollars.

Senator Joseph Pernicano said he thinks the commission is a great idea.

“I think this is something a lot of students, not just in Student Government, would definitely be happy that we are working to establish this,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot of questions in regards to some of the spending habits regarding athletics.”

Cole said there is an estimate from the Faculty Senate Budget Committee that roughly ten percent of what a student pays goes to funding athletics.

“We really want to address if there’s a better place for this money that you guys are paying into this pot of university revenue,” he said.

The committee, chaired by non-voting member director Kelly McDonald, will be comprised of: two voting members selected from the student senate by the student government president; three voting members selected from the student senate by the student senate; and non-voting members Perry Francis, student government advisor and Cole.

They will work with EMU administrators from the athletics and business and finances offices, review relevant literature and data and collect student body input.

The committee will have the following outcomes:

Analyze revenues and expenses for Eastern Athletics compared to other MAC schools and relevant peer institutions

Produce a written report with findings and recommendations which includes, at a minimum, a dashboard of key data regarding Eastern Athletics funding and a recommendation about whether Eastern administration should manage Athletics through an auxiliary budget

Issue other recommendations as appropriate

Cole said he would like to have the final recommendation for the February Board of Regents meeting.

Senator Aron Sandler brought up a recent article from the Huffington Post naming EMU as the seventeenth most subsidized school in the country, at 83 percent subsidized.

“This is the perfect time for us to be tackling this head on with that article coming out it’s just embarrassing that we’re doing that,” Sandler said.

Starr reminded the senate that Student Government is not trying to attack the athletics department.

“We have a lot of really engaged student athletes,” Cole said. “The GPA of the student athletes here is extraordinarily high compared to other institutions. We have some really excellent athletics teams. It’s a very successful program. So it’s not to be anti-athletics.”

Student Government vice president Anjali Martin said Student Government represent all students.

“With this commission we really want to focus on where does the university distribute funding, not what are the students doing with the money,” she said. “And there’s a difference.”

Cole and student government vice president Anjali Martin also updated the senators on the presidential search.

“It has been made very clear that the confidential process for candidates will not change,” Cole said. “[The Board of Regents] is sticking with that process.”

Francis said the Faculty Senate has voted to withdraw its representation but “also to offer an olive branch.” He said the senate informed the regents that they want to be involved but had conditions.

He said the Faculty Senate asked to have seven faculty members on the external search committee, which screens candidates to be sent to the internal committee, the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents is the presidential hiring authority.

He said the faculty also wants the committee to include two student representatives as opposed to one. And that the group of candidates the external search committee sends to the internal committee is the only group considered.

Francis said the regents did not agree to the conditions but said it would allow four faculty members from the senate, rather than one, on the external search committee; resulting in four faculty members, four regents, one student, one external member and the Foundation.

He said the Faculty Senate formerly voted to pull representation 17-10.

The senate discussed whether it would be better to part of the search committee and protest the process or to pull all student representation out.

The senate unofficially voted by raising hands 17-8 to stay on the committee.

The senate passed S.Res.-102-04, 13-4 to support the requirement of ECON 103L, Economics of Living, as a general education course for incoming freshman.

Starr authored the resolution.

“Freshman coming into college are not financially literate,” he said. “This would be an excellent step to move to fix that.”

The general education requirement would not replace another requirement, it would be an additional requirement.

“I acknowledge that this is a class for teaching students about managing money while taking their money from them by adding more requirements on to their plans already,” Sandler said.

Starr said he is looking at a test-out option.

“I think there’s a lot of logistical areas regarding general education that have not been thoroughly explored before we pass this resolution,” Pernicano said. “[…] I think it’s a good resolution and I think people do need to be more prepared when it comes to economics and personal finance but I also think that comes down to a level of personal responsibility and whether they feel that they need to take the class themselves.”

S.Res.-102-05 was passed 16-1 to urge EMU’s computer technology department to enact a rollover of printing dollars from the fall to winter semester. The system would not include the summer or spring semesters.

The senate also passed S.Res.-102-03 unanimously to fix typographical and grammatical errors in the student government bylaws.

The Student Senate will hold it's next meeting at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 1 in the Student Center Room 310B.

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