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Student senate to stop funding courtesy phones

The Weber State University student senate voted on Monday to stop funding the courtesy phones around campus. The phones were first put in 10 years ago by the senate and cost them $650 per semester.

The phones are available for students to use for

free around campus, including at the library and the Stromberg Gym. The senate looked at the phone records of the eight phones they fund around campus to determine whether people were using the phones enough to keep funding them.

During the month of November, a total of two calls were made out of all the phones. The senate would also have to pay an additional fee if someone made a long-distance call from one of those phones.

“At the time we thought there was need, but now, with the prevalence with cell phones and whatnot, we just don’t feel like there is a need anymore,” said Kimberly Tribe, the College of Education senator.

The senate will stop funding the courtesy phones around campus, and the phones will have to be funded by the departments of those buildings instead.

“(The money) will go back into the senate budget, to help pay for our events or to support other activities or things we do,” Tribe said.

Tribe said the current senate did not know it was funding the courtesy phones until Brady Harris, the legislative vice president, discovered it while going through the senate funds.

“They really are not being used by very many people that often. There was maybe one long-distance call made a semester,” Tribe said. “We don’t think it will greatly impact the students in any way — negatively impact them, at least.”

The service will be cut from the phones immediately.

“That’s $1,300 a year that we will be able to spend elsewhere for the needs of the student body, for the needs of today,” said Andrew Gardiner, the WSU Student Association president.

Gardiner said he does not think the departments will continue to fund the phones after the senate stops paying for them.

“Right now there are so many other things they could be spending their limited resources on, especially in academics,” Gardiner said. “We are looking at technology in the classroom and more professors and added curriculum, things like that.”

The library is one of the buildings that has the courtesy phones, and it has considered paying for the phone service. Aaron Newman, the director of leadership education and associate director for student involvement and leadership, said the senate funds two phones in the building.

“As of now, we are investigating how much the monthly fee would be,” said Marie Richards, the assistant to the university librarian. “We are taking into consideration students and our community patrons.”

Newman said they were able to catch the phone payments due to the new budget structure of the senate.

This year, the senate is using a collective budget, whereas previously, each senator had his or her own budget. Newman said this led to the senate looking more closely at where the money went.

“We’ve always known to an extent,” Newman said. “It was really a great eye-opener seeing that.”

Newman said the senate started receiving a more detailed list of where its money was going, which showed them the $650 spent on the phones.

“We’re trying to be good stewards of the student fee money,” Gardiner said. “It’s student fee money, and it was being wasted, so it’s a good catch. Now we can use that money to benefit students in another way.”

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