Juan Gonzalez

UT pays former deans who now serve as professors in the School of Social Work and the School of Architecture at higher rates than the schools’ current deans.

From data obtained through a public information request, The Daily Texan found the pay rates of four former deans and one department chair increased or remained the same after they resigned from their administrative position to teach and research full time. The Daily Texan also found that a vice president who stepped down from his position saw a smaller salary decrease than a dean who stepped down from his position two months later. Out of seven administrators The Daily Texan looked at, only one saw a decrease in monthly pay.

One of the former deans, social work professor Barbara White, earns $237,250 annually, the same as her salary before she stepped down as dean in August 2011. In 2011-2012, current social work dean Luis H. Zayas’ salary was $183,333 — $53,917 less than White’s, according to The Texas Tribune government employee database.

Another former dean, architecture professor Lawrence Speck, earns $948 a month more than current architecture dean Frederick Steiner.

Speck, who served as architecture dean from 1993 to 2001, had a $140,000 salary in 2001 and earned $138,000 as a professor the following year. As dean, Speck was paid for 12 months of work, but as a professor, his professor’s salary is paid for nine months of work from September to May. As dean in 2001, Speck earned $11,667 per month, and as a professor he earned $15,333 per month.

As a professor, UT now pays Speck $204,151, or $22,683 per month, for the nine-month academic year. In 2011-2012, current architecture dean Steiner earned $260,820, or $21,735 per month, for 12 months.

Steven Leslie said as UT executive vice president and provost, he oversees all deans and makes adjustments to a faculty member’s salary if they step down as a dean. The University pays professors on a nine-month academic schedule and deans on a 12-month administrative schedule, Leslie said.

“If an administrator has been in a higher position for many years, sometimes the circumstance is that the academic rate is too low,” Leslie said.

Marketplace-related issues that vary across fields drive faculty salaries, and the University makes salary decisions to recruit and retain faculty members, Leslie said.

Leslie was not at the University when Speck’s salary was reappointed after Speck stepped down as dean and said he is unaware of the specific measures taken into consideration when deciding his salary as a professor.

Juan Gonzalez’s salary went from $232,456 for 12 months to $204,164 for nine months when he stepped down from working as vice president for student affairs. During his last year in that position, UT also paid Gonzalez for working as a research fellow. UT now pays Gonzalez for working as a senior lecturer and a research fellow.

UT president William Powers Jr. oversees salary reappointments for vice presidents who step down.

Former School of Undergraduate Studies dean Paul Woodruff, who was paid $253,575 on an administrative schedule during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, also saw a decrease when he stepped down. Woodruff now serves as a professor and earns $164,172 on a nine-month academic schedule.

Gonzalez’s monthly pay increased to $22,685 from $19,371 while Woodruff’s monthly pay dropped to $18,241 from $21,131.

Public affairs professor Victoria Rodriguez and finance professor George Gau, saw higher monthly pay rates as professors than they received as deans. During Rodriguez’s last year as dean in 2009, she earned $219,300, or $18,275 a month. In this fiscal year, UT pays Rodriguez $165,000, or $18,333, per month for nine months. In 2008. Gau earned $332,500 as a dean, or $27,708 a month. UT now pays Gau $257,500, or $28,611 a month, for nine months.

Engineering professor Joseph Beaman stepped down as chair of the mechanical engineering department in January. Beaman’s salary for 2012-2013 is $224,129 — $11,000 more than his previous nine-month academic rate of $213,129 for 2011-2012. In 2011-2012, current department chair Jayathi Murthy was paid $120,556 — $103,573 less than Beaman.

UT spokesperson Tara Doolittle said salary changes for a department chair who steps down to become a professor are handled by the dean of the college or school.

Maria Arrellaga, spokesperson for the Cockrell School of Engineering, said Beaman’s salary increased because of a standard stipend given to faculty members after they serve two terms as a department chair. Chair terms are typically four years, and Beaman served for 11 years.

Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News columnist and co-host of “Democracy Now!,” a national independent news program, discussed his book “News for All the Peo

Photo Credit: Batli Joselevitz | Daily Texan Staff

The history of portraying members of minorities in colonial America from the perspective of the upper-class white culture has stuck with the media through the past four centuries, said investigative journalist and author Juan Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, New York Daily News columnist, and co-host of the national independent news program, “Democracy Now!,” discussed his book, co-authored with journalist Joe Torres, “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media,” on Monday.

Gonzalez discussed the forces at play that created the current media system, which is filled with so much content and little knowledge, and does not represent minorities well.

“The American people continue to have less and less confidence in news that they receive, and this is especially true among people of color who feel assaulted on an almost daily basis by the industry,” Gonzalez said. “They feel marginalized, misrepresented, their lives distorted and their contributions ignored.”

Gonzalez said that race has been a subject of the American press since colonial times and with the first newspapers in the country, and it has returned to the media spotlight with the coverage of the Trayvon Martin case.

“The Trayvon Martin tragedy has reignited the discussion all around the country, and one of the things that commercial media had propagated after the Obama election was that we were now a post-racial America, which is far-fetched and lucid,” Gonzalez said. “We have a long way to go in terms of being able to have more understanding about racial issues in the country, and having that in the American press was not the end-all-and-be-all of racial conflict in America.”

Associate journalism professor Maggie Rodriguez said she hopes people will start to consider the news media in a different way.

“The book that [Gonzalez] wrote turns a lot of what’s in the traditional journalism textbooks on its ear,” Rodriguez said. “Those of us who think we know a little bit about journalism history, we don’t know that much.”

Gonzalez discussed minority journalists throughout American history who have challenged racial aspects of the dominantly white media.

“All of the first generation of African-American and Latino news reporters came about as a result of this enormous pressure by local communities and by court decisions and government policy decisions that forced the media companies to become more diverse,” Gonzalez said.

Government junior Alma Buena said it was important that he covered the minority reporters in history, who were a part of the development of the media.

“He didn’t cover only African-American and Latino newspapers, but he went as far as talking about the Cherokee reporters and indigenous people who often are overseen,” Buena said. “It was important that he gave a voice to them.”

The season started long ago, the stakes as high as ever. The month of March embraced the nationwide competition and whittled the field of more than 64 down to the Final Four. Now we wait to crown a winner.

While the search for the University’s next vice president for student affairs lacks the sky-high television ratings, intractable school pride and betting pools as high as G.D.P.s of small countries surrounding Monday’s game between Kansas and Kentucky and tonight’s matchup between Baylor and Notre Dame, UT students have plenty of reasons to pay attention.

The Daily Texan obtained a list of the finalists for the position last month, and the search committee, composed of faculty, administrators and students, released the list to the public last week. The finalists, selected from a pool of 77 applicants, will all hold individual open forums. The first forum will take place today from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Main 212 and will feature Christopher Miller from Marquette University.

The other finalists are Ajay Nair from the University of Pennsylvania, Francisco Hernandez from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Gage Paine from UT-San Antonio.

The tentacles of the vice president for student affairs reach dozens of entities across campus ranging from Student Government to Gregory Gym and from Kinsolving Dining to, yes, even The Daily Texan. The position opened up after Juan Gonzalez, the current vice president, announced that he will return to teaching in July. His move, despite valiant efforts by the University’s public relations staff, was hardly interpreted as a promotion in what has been a less-than-lustrous tenure for Gonzalez.

Part of Gonzalez’s legacy will be tarnished by how he handled the near-closing of the iconic Cactus Cafe. Though not his decision, Gonzalez’s part in controlling the fallout contributed to the damage spiraling out of control, perhaps exemplified by an embarrassing interview with the Austin Chronicle titled, “Juan Gonzalez answers to no one.”

There are also lingering questions after Gary Borders, former director of Texas Student Media (TSM), said that Gonzalez forced him to resign in February. Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer who was put in charge of managing the controversy, said there was a “flat-out failure in communication” between the TSM Board of Trustees and the Office of Student Affairs, according to The Daily Texan.

But Gonzalez’s tenure also included the construction of the Student Activity Center and the Almetris Duren Residence Hall. His prioritization of health and wellness programs in the face of University-wide budget cuts in early 2010 proved to be vital when mental health came into the spotlight after a student died by suicide in the PCL later that year.

Ultimately, the new vice president for student affairs will have his or her efforts guided by the Division of Student Affairs’ Strategic Plan 2011-2014, which was released in August. The top two strategic goals outlined in the plan are to enhance the first-year transition and to improve student progress from enrollment to graduation.

The push for increasing four-year graduation rates will be a defining feature of the next few years at the University. Administrators know very well that increasing graduation rates goes far beyond a simple academic problem. It encompasses social, cultural and financial realms as well. The vice president of student affairs position will be charged with overseeing the non-classroom components to make the target a reality. It’s no wonder that the position’s Final Four all spoke explicitly about supporting and enhancing the academic mission of the University in their interviews with The Daily Texan.

Students have an opportunity to influence the University’s hiring process, as the finalists will hold their open forums throughout this month. Getting a return on a March Madness bracket investment is somewhat out of our control, but students have a much more active role to play in the vice president for student affairs selection process.

The Daily Texan and Texas Student Media, the organization that oversees the paper’s budget, confront a projected budget deficit of $175,000 for 2012. Former TSM director Gary Borders resigned Feb. 8 after meeting with Juan Gonzalez, vice president of student affairs, who announced in July that he will step down as an administrator and return to teaching at the University. Borders said Gonzalez told him he could either resign or be fired.

Gonzalez and Jennifer Hammat, assistant vice president of student affairs, began discussing their dissatisfaction with Borders’ job performance on Jan. 25, according to The Daily Texan, but neither discussed their concerns with the TSM Board of Operating Trustees before Borders’ resignation.

University administrators attempted to sanitize Borders’ resignation by calling the episode a “failure of communication.” Because the University did not consult the TSM board, it impinged on The Daily Texan’s independence and took an initial, heavy step on the path to exerting undue influence that could ultimately lead to censorship. At the same time — and probably not coincidentally — the deficit has thrown the Texan’s institutional connection to the University into high relief. All this unfolds at a moment when the organization is struggling to close a budget gap without discontinuing the paltry wages it pays its student employees — wages which, in recent decades, have failed to keep up with inflation.

UT owes TSM a deception-free explanation for Borders’ resignation, and TSM owes it to itself to right its ship before the opportunity to maintain and even strengthen its independence is lost.

The Texan is not the first student newspaper to grapple with financial challenges and face questions about its independence.

The Daily Illini, published and serving the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, recently moved to charge students $3 per semester in student fees to maintain its rate of publication. The Red and Black, published independently and serving the University of Georgia, went to a weekly print product but publishes online daily.

Jill Disis, current editor of The Daily Illini, commented, “Editorial independence is important. If a newspaper ends up in a position that compromises it, it’s not doing its job as a watchdog and a check. You’re not providing the students with the opportunity to do good, solid, correct, faithful journalism if you’re censoring the kinds of things they can do.”

In order for the Texan and TSM to continue their tradition of serving UT by producing journalism with students’ interests in mind, the paper and the organization must be forward-looking. A technologically savvy way to deliver the stories made here to an audience of mostly college-aged students is not unthinkable. But if the news organization fails to make itself sustainable and profitable, another possibility looms: a long spiral of dwindling circulation and relevance, ending when the Texan ceases to exist at all.

Kevin Hegarty, University vice president and chief financial officer, admitted a “flat out failure” in communication between the University and Texas Student Media Board of Trustees prior to former TSM director Gary Borders’ Feb. 8 resignation.

Hegarty, who was appointed to replace Vice President of Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez in dealing with the matter of Borders’ resignation, discussed the situation during a TSM board meeting on Feb. 27. During the meeting, the board met with Hegarty and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Jennifer Hammat to discuss events resulting in the resignation, which Borders said was forced by Gonzalez because of his proposal suggesting the sale of the broadcast licenses of TSTV and KVRX as one option to balance the TSM budget.

Gonzalez and Hammat began discussing Borders’ termination on Jan. 25 due to disatisfaction with his leadership and lack of clarity and direction in his budget setting plans.

TSM board president Lindsey Powers said board members were not notified about the vice president’s office’s disatisfaction with Borders’ performance or his proposal to sell TSTV and KVRX.

“There was a failure in communication not just between the University and the TSM Board of Trustees, but it sounds like there was also a failure between the trustees [not involved] and the trustees involved,” Hegarty said. “There was a flat-out failure in communication.”

The TSM Board of Trustees and the Office of Student Affairs jointly oversee TSM decisions, and Powers said many TSM board members are frustrated that a proposal was discussed without their knowledge, after which Borders was allegedly forced to resign without consulting the TSM board.

“I understand decisions like this require an official discussion, but that’s why we have meetings,” Powers said. “If there are any issues that need to be brought up, they need to be brought up immediately at the meeting so we know what to expect. We need to get that information out there.”

KVRX station manager Travis Bubenik said it is imperative that students have a say in an enterprise which claims to be run by students in its title.

“I want to stress that the desire for full communication extends from our vice president’s office all the way down to our offices and our staff,” Bubenik said. “It’s TSM for Texas Student Media so I do think it’s important that these kinds of ideas should be talked about and discussed at board meetings, especially because they will be affecting us.”

Hammat said there was a lack of communication because she and Gonzalez gave Borders a day to make a decision to resign or be terminated, so they were unprepared when he resigned during the meeting. Hammat said the quick decision left no time to inform the TSM board.

“I’m sorry we didn’t hold a meeting [with the TSM board],” Hammat said. “That was my mistake. When we held the meeting with Gary on Feb. 8, I genuinely believed we were going to have a meeting the next day. In situations like this, people do not usually make a decision to resign so quickly, so we were caught off guard.”

A TSM board meeting is scheduled for March 7 to appoint an acting TSM director who will fill the position until a permanent director is hired. The board will set its next budget at a March 19 meeting.

Printed on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 as: UT failed to communicate in resignation Hegarty says

On Feb. 8, then-Texas Student Media director Gary Borders announced his resignation, a move that came as a surprise to TSM board members and student staffers alike.

Juan Gonzalez, the outgoing vice president for student affairs, said in a statement that Borders decided to resign “after meeting with my office about employment expectations. Had Mr. Borders not decided to resign, UT employment policies would have continued to be followed by my office in consultation with the Board of Operating Trustees.”

However, last week, Borders told The Daily Texan he did not wish to resign but was forced to do so by Gonzalez without warning or reason. Borders — who, in practice, was tasked with reporting to both the TSM Board of Operating Trustees and the vice president of student affairs’ office — did not show any sign that he was planning to leave.

Regardless, members of the TSM board, which shares oversight of TSM with the vice president of student affairs’ office, should have been consulted. This resignation comes at a time of tremendous transition for TSM, which currently faces a deficit of $175,000. The board has had two job searches for the director position in the last three years. TSM also needs to find a replacement for the multimedia adviser position, as the previous adviser, who was hired last year, left after only six months.

The resignation of Borders, who served as director for only seven months, reflects poorly on both the University and TSM, though TSM had no say in the matter. So far, Borders’ side of the story is the only one to surface. Though releasing specific details about Borders’ resignation could have various repercussions for the University, administrators should at least provide board members with some answers.

In the meantime, the board must find an interim director in order to fulfill its duties. Jennifer Hammat, assistant vice president for student affairs, sent an email Feb. 14 to members of the Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees scheduling an emergency meeting for Feb. 17 to discuss an interim replacement for the position. But after it became evident that the board would not meet quorum, board members rescheduled the meeting for Monday. As Lindsey Powers, president of the board and a third-year UT law student, said in an email response to Hammat and to the board, “It is not the University’s place to decide when we meet.”

The University has been anything but transparent in this process. Obviously, the details of Borders’ resignation still remain unclear, and members of TSM — an organization comprising The Daily Texan, Texas Student Television, student radio station KVRX 91.7 FM, humor publication The Texas Travesty and the Cactus Yearbook — deserve answers.

Earlier this week, the University assigned Kevin Hegarty, UT’s vice president and chief financial officer, to address the controversy surrounding Borders’ resignation. However, Hegarty told The Daily Texan shortly after the assignment, “I have recently come into this position and am not familiar with the specifics yet, but I will within the next day or two.” That the University assigned someone who was admittedly unfamiliar with the situation at the time to deal with it
is troubling.

Hopefully Monday’s meeting will provide board members and others interested with more details about Borders’ resignation so the board can determine how best to move forward. Ultimately, any decision in that regard should be left to the board.

The University administration has named a new point person to deal with the fallout from the resignation of former Texas Student Media Director Gary Borders.

Kevin Hegarty, UT’s vice president and chief financial officer, said Monday he will replace Juan Gonzalez, outgoing vice president of student affairs, in managing the controversy surrounding the Feb. 8 resignation of Borders, which Borders said was forced by the vice president’s office.

In an email to The Daily Texan, University spokesman Gary Susswein said the change in authority is the result of Gonzalez’s plans to leave the administration and return to teaching.

“I have recently come into this position and am not familiar with the specifics yet, but I will within the next day or two,” Hegarty said. “I hope to bring knowledge and understanding to this issue.”

Lindsey Powers, president of TSM Board of Trustees, which jointly oversees TSM with the Office of Student Affairs, said Monday she had not been notified about the shift in responsibilities in advance and is not sure how the change will impact the situation.

“I’m still not sure who played exactly what role in the [Gary Borders] resignation situation,” Powers said. TSM is comprised of The Daily Texan; TSTV, Texas Student Television; KVRX 91.7 FM, the student radio station; The Texas Travesty, a humor publication; and the Cactus Yearbook.

A TSM board meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Feb. 27 to discuss the actions that resulted in the resignation of Borders. Hegarty said he will attend in place of Gonzalez, and Borders said he will be present, as well.

“I have been invited to the TSM board meeting and plan to attend,” Borders said Monday. “In courtesy to the board, I will not speak about this issue anymore until I discuss it with them.”

Gonzalez’s office declined to comment about the issue on Monday.

The upcoming board meeting agenda includes discussions to investigate Borders’ departure from TSM, as well as the preliminary proposal he made to sell the licenses for TSTV and KVRX to help balance the budget. Borders has said that suggestion incensed Gonzalez and may have contributed to what he described as his forced resignation.

“We just want to find out what the proposals were, since we hadn’t seen them,” Powers said. “I can’t speak for everyone on the board, but I did not know that Gary Borders, or anyone else, was suggesting selling the broadcast licenses and I would like to know more about the details of such plans and why they were presented to the University before they were presented to the board.”

In his proposal, Borders said TSM board member Amy Villarreal, vice president and general manager at KEYE-TV, told him that selling the stations together would earn TSM $3 million. Villareal said she never gave Borders a price tag on the sale and that selling the stations was not the first option discussed in plans for reducing the $175,000 TSM deficit.

“I don’t know where or how he got the $3 million amount,” Villarreal said. “He must have done some homework on that because I do not know how much it would sell for.”

Printed on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 as: CFO to oversee controversy over Borders' resignation

Former Texas Student Media director Gary Borders said Thursday that his Feb. 8 resignation came under pressure from the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs rather than because of personal reasons as had been previously announced.

After serving as TSM director for seven months, Borders announced his resignation abruptly last week. Borders spoke out Thursday saying he did not wish to resign, but chose it rather than being fired. Borders said he was not given a warning or valid reason for what he said was a forced resignation by the Student Affairs vice president Juan Gonzalez.

“I was called to meet with Mr. Gonzalez last week and he told me I had to resign or be fired,” Borders said. “It was a very brief meeting. I was stunned.”

Gonzalez, who announced in July he will be leaving the vice presidency to return to teaching, told The Daily Texan in an email that all university employment policies were followed.

“Mr. Borders decided to resign after meeting with my office about employment expectations,” Gonzalez said. “Had Mr. Borders not decided to resign, UT employment policies would have continued to have been followed in my office in consultation with the Board of Consultation Trustees.”

Members of the TSM Board of Trustees, which jointly oversees TSM with the office of student affairs, expressed frustration over not being consulted about Borders’ departure.

Student Media Board President Lindsey Powers said she was surprised by Borders’ resignation and was unaware of whether the Vice President’s office forced him to leave.

“I have not heard anything officially or legally,”

Powers said. “I would like some answers.”

Borders said Gonzalez told him he was “not collaborative” and was not doing enough to balance the budget.

As one of his primary responsibilities, Borders was expected to help TSM overcome a projected deficit of about $175,000, according to a letter from the vice president’s office. He said the office balked at some of his suggestions for doing so.

Borders said his proposal, which was never made official, suggested selling TSTV and KVRX in an attempt to gain $3 million for TSM, and this might have played a role in his forced resignation. Borders said Student Affairs assistant vice president Jennifer Hammat told him Gonzalez did not support the idea at all.

“I had talked to Mrs. Hammat about the idea before I wrote it up and she did not say she agreed with it, but she didn’t say it was completely crazy either,” Borders said. “We talked again after she showed it to Gonzalez and she said he absolutely hated it and was very upset about it.”

Borders said when he learned Gonzalez did not like the proposal he immediately began a new one suggesting different ways to make money for TSM. He said the reasons for his forced resignation are invalid because he attempted to improve the budget and collaborate with coworkers.

“I was just seeing if it was a viable option, and when I learned it wasn’t, I got to work on new ideas,” Borders said. “It wasn’t my way or the highway.”

Borders said he did not have a contract and was told he was hired “under the pleasure of the president” and could, therefore, be terminated at any time. Although Borders is upset by the forced resignation without any warning, he said there is no legal issue.

“I was never evaluated before that meeting,” Borders said. “I was never before given a warning about what I needed to change or do differently. I was never reprimanded. Nothing.”

Powers said the TSM board is planning a meeting soon to discuss an interim replacement for the position. The University originally scheduled a meeting for today but a quorum of board members was unable to attend.

Borders previously worked for newspapers throughout East Texas where he served as publisher and columnist, according to his website.

Previously publisher of Cedar Park’s Hill Country News, Borders said he hoped to hold the TSM position for as long as possible, according to a June 2011 Daily Texan article. He replaced Hammat, who served as interim director for a year and a half.

Associate director of the School of Journalism and former TSM board member Wanda Cash said although she was not on the board at the same time as Borders she has known him for a long time and believes he had good intentions for TSM.

“He understood keenly about balancing budgets and was on his way to cutting the deficit at TSM,” Cash said. “I hope his goal of debt reduction will be continued. TSM will not be able to survive on a deficit.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez has announced he will step down as an administrator and return to teaching at the University in January so he can work closely with more students.

Gonzalez said he aimed to support students and organizations and provide them with resources to host events on campus. He has worked in student affairs for 21 years at five universities, including six years at UT.

“A big part of student affairs is to make students’ aspirations, dreams and goals come to life,” Gonzalez said. “Administrators become much better staff members if we listen to our students intensely because we always can improve our programs
and services.”

As an administrator, Gonzalez said he worked with students to brainstorm ideas for programs that would improve campus life such as bringing distinguished speakers to the University and creating new resources like the Student Activity Center.

“When I was going to graduate school, I desperately needed housing assistance, financial aid assistance and academic tutorials,” Gonzalez said. “A large portion of my success is directly attributable to the programs I discovered through student affairs. I’m passionate about providing those same resources to students at the University.”

Gonzalez said many campus facilities are primarily focused on fostering academic success, but it is important to provide services that benefit other aspects of student life. He said he is proud the Student Activity Center now exists to better accommodate students.

“The Texas Union was much too small to serve all the needs of our students,” he said. “Students needed another living room for themselves, a place to rest, hang out and have their own events. The resources at the Student Activity Center were planned by students to meet their needs, and it also provides them with an opportunity to learn to run these facilities.”

Gonzalez said he will remain active in the UT community when he returns to lecturing in the College of Education.

“I want to improve the profession by training young professionals,” he said. “I’m invested in perfection, and I want to expand my reach of influence.”

President William Powers Jr. said in a press release that Gonzalez’s initiatives have improved the college experience for UT students.

“His service as vice president has been marked by a steadfast commitment to putting our students first, and I am delighted he will remain in the Longhorn family, sharing his wisdom and expertise with our students,” Powers said.

Student Government president Natalie Butler said she has worked with Gonzalez on several projects for student activities and organizations. She said she hopes Gonzalez will help with the search process for future student affairs administrators to continue his vision for improving campus life.

“I think of all different areas of campus, student affairs really has its finger on the pulse of the student body,” Butler said. “I think more student input is always a good thing, and it’s something Student Government is always working on.” 

The Student Services Budget Committee approved new allocations of money from student fees to five University organizations who displayed particular needs, the committee’s former chairwoman said.

Former Student Government Vice President Muneezeh Kabir, who chaired the committee, said the nine-member group of students and faculty reviewed budget requests last year from 17 university centers, offices and programs vying for added funding, Kabir said. She said the committee decided to use money from the SSBC’s reserved funding to support programs that seemed most beneficial to the University and those in most need of financial assistance.

“People would come and give detailed presentations about how their programs contributed to the University and why they needed funding,” Kabir said. “I would say that recommendations were reflective of who we felt needed our funding most.”

The committee will distribute funding to the Gender and Sexuality Center, the Forensics Program, the Counseling and Mental Health Center, the shuttle bus system and the Office of Student Financial Services’ Bevonomics program, Kabir said. She said funding will be distributed Sept. 1 — the beginning of the fiscal year.

The SSBC distributes about $42 million in student fees each year. Funding to all other organizations SSBC allocates student fees to retained their previous funding levels. Groups include the Campus Environmental Center, Texas Student Media and Student Government.

Once the committee finalized its recommendations, it submitted them to Vice President of Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez for approval, which he gave in May. The recommendation became official last week.

Gender and Sexuality Center Director Ixchel Rosal said the funding from student fees have been the only source of income to run the center and expand it. She said she went before the committee last spring to ask for their continued support.

“I shared with them our current budget, talked about trends and things that we were noticing in the new space. They helped us get at the new Student Activities Center,” Rosal said.

Rosal said the center will receive $10,000 from the SSBC to be distributed in two increments at the beginning of each of the next two fiscal years. She said the center has seen an increase in student traffic, and the money will help hire student workers to help incoming students.

Jane Morgan Bost, associate director for the Counseling and Mental Health Center, said the center has received an increased number of visitors since an on-campus shooting Sept. 28. She said the center asked the council for funds to be able to handle more students.

“The funding will help us hire more workers to help students find the help they need through a system called triaging,” Bost said. “Through the system, we do a quick assessment of students who walk in here, find out what it is that they need and explain to them what we offer.”

Many students go to the center needing long-term counseling, while the center offers sessions that are meant to council students that need immediate assistance but do not require continuous sessions, Bost said.

She said the triage system cuts down on waiting time and prevents students from having to talk to multiple people before they find the assistance they need.

Gonzalez said some years the University does not have funds to add to the SSBC reserves. He said the recommendations from the SSBC were well thought out and did not require too much spending on their behalf.

Gonzalez said before approving the recommendations he consulted with his Associate Vice President Donna Bellinghausen and spoke with representatives of a number of organizations that will receive the money.

“I made no changes but had several considerations to address before I made the final approval,” Gonzalez said.
Kabir said Gonzalez was not able to approve the committee’s request for a 10th member.