Dear University of Oregon students and Oregon Athletic Band,
My name is Nick McCain, and I am the ASUO vice president. Over the past few weeks, the ASUO Athletics Commissioner Katherine Du Pont has been researching our band and others like it. My intent is not to attack the band or its members. I am approaching the situation from a fiscal standpoint and as a loyal senior Duck fan. My intentions — and those of fellow ASUO members — are to do what is best for the student body, and I hope that this coming discussion leads to positive changes between the ASUO, the OAB and the Athletic Department.
I admire the dedication and passion each member puts into the band. I personally know some of you and can attest to that commitment. However, this is not an attack on you or what you bring to each and every sporting event. This band is the largest student group on campus, and the ASUO values that tremendously.
But from a fiscal standpoint, the fact the ASUO funds $150,000 for an entity answering to the Athletic Department is a big concern.
I recognize that between the summer practices lasting as much as 12 hours a day, the fall term practices that are three days a week for three hours at a time, the twelve hours spent at each game and the long weekend trips for away games, OAB put in about 450 hours in fall term alone. And you do all of this for only two academic credits? Your dedication and passion for the University of Oregon is not in question.
What is in question is where the money should be coming from. The OAB provides a valuable service to the Athletic Department; however, the students are subsidizing that service at a cost of $150,000.
As you may know, only a few years ago, the Knight Library was not open 24 hours. However, ASUO used student funds to extend its hours. We recognized the value and importance of providing students with a safe place to study. And we still do. But, we believed it was the UO’s role and obligation to pick up the funding for this essential aspect of our college experience, and we worked with the UO to transition the funding model so that such a vital service was not subject to ASUO student fees.
A similar situation is now before us. We have an opportunity to remind Athletics of the vital service the OAB provides to our university. I believe that it is Athletics’ role and obligation to pick up the funding for this essential aspect of the athletic experience.
On Thursday night at 7:00 p.m., there will be a budget hearing to discuss the budget recommendation. I highly encourage you to attend, and I will do my best to ensure you all know the location as soon as it is determined.
You all deserve better. Better than the student fee can accommodate — but what Athletics can and should provide. This budget recommendation was made with you all in mind.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: McCain asked the Emerald to correct his letter so that it did not state that the Oregon Athletic Band answers entirely to the Athletic Department. The correction was made Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 at 11:25 a.m.