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Earll gets our vote

Student Fee Committee Chair Tracy Earll has had a tough year. No one familiar with the struggles she and her fellow SFC members have faced would dare deny that.

As a result of record enrollment, student fees raised more money than ever this year, leading many to assume that there would be more money for student groups. Little did they – or anyone – realize, things like the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) would eat up the excess funds, and available funds would almost exactly match those of 2002-03.

With most groups asking for more money to expand programs and several new groups seeking funding, Earll and her colleagues were faced with an excruciating choice: deny many groups the money they want or raise student fees in the face of increased tuition and surcharges.

The SFC made the right choice and did not raise fees. Although groups will have to get by with less money than they want, need or expect (including the Vanguard), Earll made the choice most fair for all students and student groups.

Earll has sat on the SFC for the last three years, two as a member and one as the chair. This year, in addition to chairing the SFC (which is an extraordinarily big job), Earll helped in the revision of student stipends working to meet minimum-wage recommendations. While the details of implementation were less than perfect, her contributions to the SALP Advisory Committee were invaluable.

And then, of course, there was OSPIRG.

Earll and the SFC chose to reduce OSPIRG’s funding to a conditional $21,000 for 2003-04, from more than $120,000, when it was determined the group did not meet all the requirements for a student group. This decision incited outrage, disbelief and confusion on the part of OSPIRG and its supporters, but it also forced student government to examine its own policies about student funding.

Despite the controversy, the Vanguard has supported the SFC’s decision and continues to admire Earll for her unwavering fairness, her dedication to an unbiased student fee system and absolute willingness to follow this issue to every level of student government. She is the only candidate who is truly prepared to deal with the further issues OSPIRG has raised and follow it through to the end.

There is no doubt Earll needs to address some issues in the SFC next year. She will be the first to admit that group liaisons must be better trained and maintain much better communication with the groups they work with.

In addition, however, Earll must work on SFC relations with the public, in general. She needs to focus more attention on developing better educational tools and an improved communication with the average “lay person,” or student.

We have faith that Earll is able and willing to address these issues and others that will arise next year and believe she is the most qualified candidate.