After the dissolving of the university budget commission on Aug. 29, UPUA President Courtney Lennartz, Vice President Katelyn Mullen and Chairman of the Assembly Spencer Malloy are preparing for the formation of a new budget commission that will be overseen by the executive committee.
The University Park Undergraduate Association Commission on the University Budget was originally created to research the university budget in order to see where the student and taxpayer money was being spent.
At-Large Representative Elias Warren and Off-Campus Representative Anthony Christina were in charge of the commission, but they lost their leadership positions when the commission was dissolved because of communication issues.
“The main issue we found over the summer was not being able to keep close ties about what was going on within the commission,” Mullen (senior-supply chain and information systems) said. “With having the commission within our direct oversight, we would be able to eliminate those communication errors because we would have our hands on the research and in making the recommendations versus them coming through another person.”
Lennartz said the executive committee is thinking the commission will be formed by the end of the semester.
Mullen said that she, Malloy and Lennartz decided she would be in charge of it, as of right now, to take care of outlining what is going to happen.
“[Mullen] is going to be the new chair of the commission, but we would like some of the same people on the commission as well as a more diverse group of people from the different colleges,” Lennartz (senior-health policy and administration) said.
Mullen is planning on retrieving information from Christina and Warren to help launch the new commission.
“I plan on reaching out to [Christina] and [Warren] to figure out what information they’ve handled this summer,” Mullen said. “It would be ridiculous to get rid of their work because they spent a lot of time on it, so we are going to use that information and figure out where to go from there.”
Although Warren plans on sharing the information he has from his experience as chair of the budget commission, he is not planning on having a position on the new commission.
“I am not going to sit on the commission because I feel most happy with how it was originally formed, however I would be happy to help them transition and share information,” Warren (junior-management) said.
There are three main goals the executive board is looking to accomplish –– one of them aiming to make the university budget website more reader-friendly.
“I think we will be focused on coming up with a concrete list of what students deserve to see on the budget website,” Malloy (senior-philosophy and agroecology) said.
In addition to containing information about the university’s budget, the multipurpose website contains data that is and is not budget related, and is intended to show the sources and the uses of the various funds that the university budgets.
University Budget Officer Rachel Smith said that she did a major overhaul of the website in January, so, currently, she doesn’t have any particular plans to do major alterations to it. However, Smith is still open to making changes.
“In January, we tried to reorganize some things and change some links around to lead people through the website in a more logical sequence, but we are always looking for ideas from people who view it,” Smith said.
Other goals that Mullen said they have include looking at what information for the budget is readily available, looking to see what information is missing and asking to see it placed within the next budget.
“We want to find what is missing from the budget and we want to work with the administration to get these answers,” Lennartz said.
Despite the large amount of commitments that the executive board handles, Mullen said she has no doubts that they will be able to handle overseeing the budget.
“I think a huge reason why [Lennartz] and I were elected was given the fact that we have other commitments but we still know how to time manage,” Mullen said. “We are a very strong executive board and assembly, so I have no doubt that we will be able to complete the goals as well as fulfill the other tasks at the same time.”