ASCOCC has spent $56,000

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of student fees to date on a lawyer and PR consultant

Tobey Veenstra
The Broadside

Members of the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College have paid more than $56,000 in student fees to an attorney and a public relations consultant so far, raising concerns over how they will cover the bills with their remaining budget.

In an effort to clarify its role and relationship with the college, ASCOCC hired local attorney Greg Lynch in October and PR consultant India
Simmons in August. Although an agreement with COCC was reached in March, Lynch and Simmons remain employed by ASCOCC while college administration has warned the group that its expenditures could exceed its funding this school year.

The costs for Lynch and Simmons were what pushed Dean of Student and Enrollment Services Alicia Moore to check in with the group. She met with ASCOCC members on May 6 to address the expenditures.

“Every Spring I touch base with those areas with budget responsibilities. This year I touched base with ASCOCC because of their unexpected expenditures.”

ASCOCC’s budget currently has an estimated $35,000 left, according to ASCOCC Advisor Taran Underdal. The amount is an estimated amount since the budget is a combination of student fees and a reserve income carried over from previous years.

Both college officials and attorney Lynch think ASCOCC will overspend this amount. Lynch expects them to overspend by $4,000 to $5,000; Director of College Relations Ron Paradis however, estimates the amount to be between $15,000 and $20,000, according to a recent article in The Bulletin.

In order to minimize the overspending amount, ASCOCC is looking to cut back expenses, but due to commitments and expenditures still processing, ASCOCC doesn’t have many available options.

According to Underdal, these options include “ASCOCC members’ payroll, funding for clubs and programs and BAT (Bend Area Transit) passes.”

How exactly this will affect these areas has yet to be seen, as COCC administration’s response remains vague and ASCOCC has not responded to a request for an interview.

Tobey Veenstra can be reached at tveenstra@cocc.edu

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