Handling a crisis

Paul Dexter, a substance abuse counselor in the University Health and Counseling services spoke to the Student Senate about what his office could offer beyond financial support to help the campus in this time of crisis.

“If you see a need, speak up,” he said.

He also expressed concern for USM’s decision to keep school open the day after the attack. Dexter said that he encouraged students and staff to do what they thought was right for them.

Responsible treatment of alcohol encouraged.

Dexter, who described himself as not a “just say no” person, also described the progress of the Twenty-first Birthday program. Students, on and off campus, receive a birthday card on their twenty-first birthday, wishing them a safe celebration and tips on how to drink wisely. The card also comes with a coupon for a free ARAMARK pizza and a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi. The program is sponsored by Seltzer and Rydholm, ARAMARK, University Counseling Services and Gorham Student Life.

Dexter also discussed the progress of Thirsty Thursdays, an event that occurs every Thursday night on the Gorham campus.

The program offers students such activities as karaoke, live bands and stand-up comedians. There is also free coffee. Dexter hopes positive response will lead to longer events on Thirsty Thursday. He also hopes its popularity might spread the program to other campuses.

How much do we have again?

Coordinator of Student Senate Operations Kathleen Pease approached the Senate regarding current information concerning Senate funds, but the Senate decided it didn’t want to know the estimated amount of money in its bank account.

Because the Senate is funded primarily through student activity fees, the Senate budget depends on enrollment. Pease explained that the account balance will change drastically after Sept. 17, when school officials know the exact enrollment.

Citing financial problems the Student Senate encountered last year, senators objected to being told the estimated unallocated amount.

“We need to wait and see what actually comes in,” said Commuter Sen. Benjamin Hoffman. “If we overspend, it can be very, very, very bad.”

Having spent all its money early in last year’s spring semester, the Senate resorted to taking money from its emergency funds.

Senate Treasurer Justin LaBerge said that there is no practical reason to know an estimated, unallocated amount of money when the Student Senate currently has other financial responsibilities that need to be fulfilled.

“We have funding responsibilities we need to consider before giving any more of our money away,” said LaBerge.

Comparing the estimated, unallocated amount to the existence of sweets in the presence of a dieter, LaBerge claimed knowing the amount might tempt a financially undisciplined Senate.

Commuter Sen. Tyler Stanley asked, “So there is no reason to know how much we might have?”

When LaBerge agreed, Stanley responded, “So there is no reason not to know either. Why don’t we put the amount down on the table and know what we might have?”

Senators then took an unofficial vote to determine whether senators cared to know the estimated, unallocated amount in their budget, which is comprised of student activity fees minus the budgets for student groups and organizations.

The amount was not disclosed to the Senate, but was available on a “need to know basis.”

Senate funds

The estimated amount of Senate funds: $14,000

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Student Senate will be at 9:30 a.m. Friday Sept. 21 in the Hastings Formal Lounge, Gorham. All are invited to attend.


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