Forum on ‘23’ fee
ASNAU held a forum for students this past Monday to express concerns about the use of the “23” fee fund.
Opening the meeting, ASNAU senator Travis Owens said the goal of the assembly revolved around ASNAU receiving feedback, ideas and queries about the application of the “23” fee.
“We just wanted to hold a nice forum for you guys on the “23” fee — if you guys have any questions and concerns on how it passed, what it’s going towards, how this whole thing came about and what we’re doing with it,” Owens said.
A major topic of the evening was the specific application of the “23” fee that funded an on-campus concert with pop singer Ke$ha and rapper Dirt Nasty. Attendee Justin Strong, a junior criminology and political science major, said he thinks any future entertainment brought to campus needs to match the values of the university as a whole.
“I think that a lot of us that were concerned with the Dirt Nasty concert … making a stride to try and create a complete opposite atmosphere from that is ideal,” Strong said. “Bringing in speakers to campus, perhaps even to do a series, especially with people who do work on social justice issues [would be more beneficial].”
Responding to several comments from the audience on the Dirt Nasty invitation earlier in the semester, Steven Sasser, an ASNAU senator representing graduate students, said taking away something desired by a majority of students would not achieve anything.
“When an event comes like that, you can’t just brush it under the rug and expect people to push their opinions or desires behind,” Sasser said. “They simply become closet-case porn addicts. I say porn, not in the sexual term, but porn as in whatever entices them, whatever excites them. So if you don’t hold a Dirt Nasty concert, it doesn’t mean their desire to listen to pop top-40 trash-culture music is going to go away.”
ASNAU Chief of Staff Kathleen Templin said her organization exists to support both sides of an argument, will not
discriminate against conflicting views and is receptive to students not happy with the invitation of Dirt Nasty, suggesting a speaker be brought to campus who reflects their values.
“We do really want to represent both sides,” Templin said. “So, if there’s someone that your organization really wants to bring to [campus] shed light [on an issue] — even if it does contradict something that we run — we’re not opposed to that.”
Another issue discussed during the forum was Snowjack Express, a proposed shuttle funded by the “23” fee to transport students to Snowbowl Ski Resort during the winter-sports season. A wide and controversial debate within the city — including city council — has ensued regarding the source of water for snowmaking at Snowbowl, with Native American and environmental groups generally opposing the use of reclaimed water.
Margo Nelson, a graduate student who has previously voiced criticism of ASNAU, said the financial support of Snowbowl that the Snowjack Express provides means many students are being forced to fund a business with environmental practices they oppose.
“It just seems to me that that particular example is so clearly a resource associated for students that can afford that and who don’t have environmental, cultural opposition on a basic human level, but it’s almost worse to me, because I quit school — I’m done,” Nelson said. “I physically can’t conceive paying $23 and any of that going to Snowbowl. I don’t want to be part of this community if it’s going to fund things that are racist, environmentally unsound and not sustainable.”
Currently, there are eight items yet to be funded by the “23” fee. All eight items are difficult to change or remove. However, money still remains for further appropriations. ASNAU has stated any club or individual who wishes to receive funding for an event is welcome to apply for financial support.