State board approves $84.3 million in funding for EMU renovation and expansion

Asbestos, lead paint and leaky pipes are just some of the problems the EMU maintenance staff must deal with. (Tess Freeman/Emerald)

Asbestos, lead paint and leaky pipes are just some of the problems the EMU maintenance staff must deal with. (Tess Freeman/Emerald)

Posted by Kirah Ingram on Friday, Jan. 11 at 3:00 pm.

The Oregon State Board of Higher Education voted to add the EMU renovation and expansion project to the Oregon University System’s Capital Budget request to the Governor for 2013-2015.

Per the press release:

“Approved adding to the OUS 2013-2015 Capital request a total of $84.3 million in Article XI-F(1) bonds to renovate and expand the Erb Memorial Union at the University of Oregon, subject to satisfactory resolution of a student’s grievance related to the validity of the student referendum.”

Although the Board approved the request to send the $95 million project to the Governor, the Board still has to consider the validity of the grievance recently released by ASUO President Laura Hinman, according to Di Saunders, director of communications at the OUS.

Saunders said if the Board’s process says the grievance is valid, the Board will have to come together once again to decide if renovating the EMU is what the UO student body really wants. But if the Board decides the grievance is not valid, then the Board will continue with its recommendation of the funds to the Governor.

According to page 23 of the OUS docket from the board meeting on Jan. 11, 2013:

“Although UO officials do not know what decision the student constitutional court will take on this, it did not seem that the current ASUO president’s position on the referendum unduly impacted the student election.”

In November of 2012, the referendum put forth by the ASUO passed with 54.8 percent of the vote. About 4,006 students voted on the EMU renovation referendum, which would mean students pay a $67 fee per term starting in the fall of 2014.