$140,000 more in cuts to Res Life

Auxiliary Services will cut the housing budget an additional $140,000 for the 2006-07 fiscal year, along with an additional undetermined amount to Portland State Residence Life, where cuts were previously proposed at $300,000.

The additional cuts are in direct response to an increase in overhead costs from 10 to 12 percent in all self-supporting units, such as Auxiliary Services, because of the $4.2 million in budget reductions campus-wide.

John Eckman, assistant director of Auxiliary Services, said it is still uncertain where any of the cuts will take place.

“We’re really in the analysis mode,” he said.

Residence Life Director Don Yackley and Auxiliary Services look to bring weeks of conversation over the proposed $300,000 in cuts to Residence Life to a close, along with the new $140,000 in cuts.

Though exact numbers are currently unknown, decisions concerning the fate of the Residence Life program and campus housing should be finalized as early as Friday, according to Eckman.

“I don’t think it will be the same number,” Eckman said, referring to the $300,000 proposal, “but we’re in negotiations still.”

After two consecutive weekday meetings in early March, during which students hurled complaints about the proposed drastic cuts at Eckman and Auxiliary Services Director Julie North, Auxiliary Services met with both Yackley and Residence Hall Association (RHA) members to discuss the situation.

Early last week Yackley posted a list of possible alternative solutions to the cuts, but removed them, as the two groups continued to look for solutions.

“We’re trying to see what we can do to maintain the values of the department,” he said.

Yackley said they are looking at a reconstruction of the entire Residence Life department, of which no one area will be left unaffected.

“I think the goal is to recognize this is a valid budget crisis,” Yackley said.

The original cuts to Residence Life were in respect to the budget crisis challenging the entire university. With the current $4.2 million proposal for the university budget calling for the raise in overhead costs, the problem to Auxiliary Services and Residence Life is amplified.

“It impacts the entire housing budget,” Eckman said. “It’s been a tough budget season.”

Eckman said that originally there was a lack of transparency about the cuts to Residence Life because Auxiliary Services was contractually restricted due to the contract termination they were navigating with College Housing Northwest.

Eckman said that until they finally terminated the contract on Feb. 28, they could not discuss budget cuts because the fate of College Housing was still uncertain.

More will be known about what the budget will look like Friday, after Eckman and Yackley finalize negotiations about the budget.

“There’s always options of alternative fund sources,” Eckman said. “Nothing has been finalized.”

He said there will be a joint announcement of what the department will look like by the end of the week.

The meetings in early March allowed Auxiliary Services allowed them to see how important the program is, Eckman said.

Auxiliary Services will now meet with the Residence Hall Association every second Wednesday in one of the 11 housing buildings. Residence Hall Association Vice President Maureen Pointer said this would allow students to express any concerns to Eckman and the individuals in Auxiliary Services.

“They can get to know student problems inside and out,” she said. “Auxiliary Services is reaching out and trying to make a difference.”

Funding for RHA will go down, according to Pointer, but she said it will still be around.

Yackley said he has been having the meeting with Residence Life staff, taking e-mail suggestions and meeting with RHA and Auxiliary Services.

“It has been real inclusive,” he said. “The question is: will we meet cuts? The process is in place; time will tell in the next few weeks.”