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Confusion over ASUH’s budget

Veterans, textbooks and budgets

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ASUH meetings are open to the public and occur every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in CC 310.

Confusion about their budget took over part of the Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i (ASUH)’s general senate meeting.

While reviewing a bill to give $4,000 to a speed reading workshop, there was uncertainty over how much money was left in ASUH’s account. ASUH Secretary Scott Nishihara and Senator Eugene Lao tried to estimate how much money was left, their estimates ranged from $27,000 to $20,000.

After contacting interim Treasurer Jessica Chen, Nishihara calculated it to be $15,950.30. 

Given the  calculated amount of money left in their account, ASUH did not pass its bill to fund the workshop.

$560.62 was appropriated to cover the costs of ASUH’s finance committee’s interviews for their Spring 2017 Registered Independent Organization (RIO) funding cycle. 

Other ASUH news

Billy Meinke, a technologist from Outreach College, presented to ASUH on Open Education Resources (OER) in order to spread awareness on the subject. OER make classroom materials like textbooks free for students. 

Meinke said that textbook costs cause students to buy fewer books, withdraw from courses or not sign up for a course.

Meinke also claimed that when it comes to the textbook industry, five publishers control 90 percent of the market.

He added that textbooks contain more than what a student needs, with chapters and sections of textbooks going untouched.

Meinke also said he conducted his own analysis of textbook costs which concluded that students spend “$2 million every semester” on textbooks.

“[OER is] not an impossible nut to crack, it’s something we can do,” he said. 

Meinke’s office has a grant program which offers up to $5,000 for faculty to develop an open textbook for their courses. 

ASUH also tabled a resolution calling for University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa administration to recommit to student veterans. Tabling a bill means that ASUH will delay voting on it. They will be convening a special general senate meeting on March 22, 2017 to vote on the resolution. 

Debate over the resolution centered around its wording, with Lau calling the resolution “vague.”

“By keeping it vague, by throwing the ball in their court and seeing what they’re willing to do, it gives us the opportunity to react,” Senator William Arenivas, the resolution’s introducer, said. 

Terrence McDermott, a sophomore majoring in Botany and a member of the student veteran’s association, spoke before ASUH to advocate for this resolution

He said that student veterans do not feel as though they are being “properly represented” and that their “needs are not being met.”

McDermott claimed that there are no psychological or academic services on campus. 

While there are no such services only for veterans, there are the Counseling and Student Development Center (CSDC) and tutoring services like the Learning Assistance Center.

McDermott also claimed that most campuses have veteran’s centers, which the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa does not.