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Student government upholds Laymon's veto

Nov. 11, 2005

By GENTRA CARTWRIGHT, reporter

Student government representatives voted 26-10 Thursday, with four abstaining, to uphold Student Body President Mark Laymon's veto to allocate money to the Student Global AIDS Campaign.

"I feel that Laymon was taking the entire student body into account when vetoing the Student Global AIDS Campaign allocation," said Danielle Stevens, Tyler junior and junior class representative.

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Underwood
This was the first time that Laymon exercised his ability to impose a veto on a bill approved by Student Congress. Thursday's vote to override the veto drew attention to the fact that during first and second readings of the bill, no con-speeches were voiced by any representatives in attendance.

"We should uphold the veto and stand behind our student body president who is leading the way for us," Dallas junior Hunter Lewis said.

Campaign members asked for $1,300 to help pay for the 2,600 T-shirts they're selling for students to wear on Dec. 1 in support of AIDS Awareness Day.

"In voting for the bill previously, Congress was supportive of their efforts. The efforts of the organization haven't changed and neither should our support of their bill," Houston junior Nekpen Osuan said.

When the bill came up for review in the first and second readings, nobody presented its pros or cons. Before Thursday's vote, they discussed pros, but not cons.

"I believe AIDS awareness is a good cause, but I also believe the organization's campaign could have been more targeted to the entire Baylor student body," Stevens said.

In other business, Attorney General Rosie Gregg, a San Angelo junior, announced that after approving and allocating funds to Tau Kappa Epsilon for its hurricane relief fundraiser, TKE Toss, on Sept. 22, the organization didn't return unused money to the Student Life Fund. After Gregg provided the fraternity with a deadline and extension to return the unused money, it returned approximately $145. Under advisement of the chief justice, the fraternity will be taken to Student Court on Monday to determine its injunction. Interim President Dr. William Underwood attended the congressional forum to discuss tuition increases in a question-answer session with representatives.

"I don't know how far you would have to go back to not find a tuition increase each year," Underwood said.

"There are tuition increases every year at every school in America," he said.

Underwood told Congress member the tuition increase was necessary for Baylor to keep operating at its current level of service.

He said the additional tuition money would go toward residential communities and building maintenance.

He said he also wants to decrease student-faculty ratio from 18-1 to 13-1.

"Look around campus. There are a lot of manifestations of Baylor 2012, with $250 million of improvements made around campus in the past three years," Underwood said.

He said that three years ago when the university put Baylor 2012 into action, many future speculations were incorrect.

"We spent money on assumptions of what our revenue would be in the upcoming year. These assumptions were erroneous," Underwood said.

Because of this, Baylor wasn't able to give faculty and staff significant raises.

The university also set aside needed maintenance repairs and wasn't able to replace equipment as quickly as desired. Because of rising energy prices, he said the university ran $2.5 million above expected utility costs in one year.

"We can't keep continuously making cutbacks, at some point we've got to play catch-up. That is what will start happening next year," Underwood said.

He said that for three years in a row, faculty and staff have continued to receive minimal or no raises.

"At some point we have to start taking care of the people who are providing your education," Underwood said.

Underwood said he took into consideration how the increased tuition would affect current Baylor students and their families.

He said the university pulled several student profiles in certain categories to determine the impact of the tuition increase. It was determined that a student from a single-parent home with a household income of about $40,000 would have to work an extra 30 hours a semester to pay for the increase.

"We want to make sure Baylor is a place with an economically diverse student body," Underwood said. "The tuition increase is not something I liked doing."