Preston: "Not forcasting doom"

With the 2003 Students’ Union budget nearly complete, a number of changes will be in store for students. Funds have been allocated for more clubs space and the relocation of the copy centre and used bookstore, and students can expect to pay slightly more for food at the Den.

SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Gavin Preston said students can expect the same services as last year, despite increases in fees charged by the university.

“The university has hit us hard for occupancy fees this year,” said Preston. “Our building is on their land and they have increased occupancy by 10 to 15 percent.”

“I don’t like it at all,” he added. “It’s weird that the university is asking for more money from students in tuition and through their Students’ Union.”

In addition, insurance for the Den and Black lounge has doubled since last year, according to Preston.

Despite the increases, Preston said there is sufficient room in the budget to allow the SU to complete projects remaining from previous years, including third floor redevelopment, upgrading the used bookstore to a digital system, and finishing the clubs office business centre.

He added that finishing clubs offices will eliminate two problems at once. Four new offices will house approximately 12 more clubs (out of 177 clubs currently sanctioned), and the lunchroom nature of the business centre may be eliminated.

“The business centre hasn’t been used the way it was intended,” said Preston. “Students leave huge messes, browse porn on the Internet, and things are torn down.”

Preston said that the redevelopment was possible because of approximately $50,000 made available in the budget. In lieu of making an additional payment on their $10 million expansion loan, which costs the SU $66,000 a month, they decided to develop clubs space now.

“The benefit to is more immediate for students right now,” he said. “We’ll look for ways of generating more revenue throughout the year.”

Concerns earlier in the year that the university would stop funding the Safewalk program had the SU concerned about how it would support the program, but those concerns did not end up affecting the budget, according to Preston.

The budget will be presented to the Students’ Legislative Council for first reading on Tue., June 3, 2003.

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