Northrop, Aurora vie for funding

Supporters of the two groups gave passionate testimonies in attempts to get more money.

Meghan Holden

After receiving just fractions of their funding requests in the first round of student services fees recommendations, supporters of the Aurora Center and Northrop fervently voiced opposition to their proposed allocations.

The organizations were among a handful of administrative units that made cases for additional funding in front of the Student Services Fees Committee on Friday. Altogether, campus organizations are asking for $35.7 million, which would drive up student fees more than $30 from their current level for next school year.

Northrop supporters came to the public hearing in droves, passionately protesting against the fees committee’s more than $179,300 initial recommendation.

The group requested more than twice that amount — a significant increase from its allocation last year — mostly for additional student programming.

The committee voiced concern in its recommendation about the small range of students who would benefit from some of Northrop’s funding requests, which seek help for items like master classes and artist residencies.

On Friday, Northrop supporters said the organization needs increased funding because its capacity has grown since reopening last spring.

After other costs, the recommended allocation would leave only $35,000 for programs and general supplies, said Allyson Taubenheim, Northrop’s student engagement coordinator.

“The recommended [allocation] that we’re at right now really isn’t going to allow us to grow at all in this brand new facility,” she said. “My biggest fear is that it’s going to be stagnant and not become this active and vital place for students on campus.”

Aurora Center

Amid the University’s recent efforts to boost sexual assault prevention on campus, advocates for the Aurora Center expressed concern that it was only recommended about 65 percent of its more than $433,500 request. A portion of that request was to cover a new male engagement coordinator staff position.

Though the fees committee wrote in its initial recommendations that it supported Aurora’s goal to engage more men on campus, it said a new staff position funded by student fees wasn’t the right approach.

Strategic communications sophomore Laura Omodt began crying during her testimony Friday when she told the committee how the Aurora Center helped her sister after she was sexually assaulted.

She said adding a male engagement coordinator would include more men in discussions regarding sexual assault, which could help alleviate the problem.

“If we have any hope of protecting our students and putting an end to sexual assault, it is absolutely imperative that men become welcomed into the conversation,” Omodt told the committee.