Administrators to decide future of Hearnes fund

A recommendation to divert $750,000 from a fund allotted to the Hearnes Center to a student fee committee will live or die at the discretion of Athletic Director Mike Alden.

"Everyone I've talked to says that nothing's been finalized," Assistant Athletic Director Chad Moller said, adding that Alden has been discussing the matter within the athletics department.

Alden and Chancellor Brady Deaton, who has the authority to override Alden's final decision, will meet soon to consult with each other, according to Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs.

"The chancellor has received a copy of the recommendation and so has the athletic director," Scroggs said. "The last time I talked with (Deaton) last week, he was going to talk to the athletic director."

The Hearnes Center Advisory Committee passed the recommendation last May after the Missouri Students Association and its smaller graduate affiliate, the Graduate Professional Council, revised its earlier defeated proposal. The proposal would have redirected the entire Hearnes Center Fund — roughly $1 million — to the Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee.

SFCIC advises the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs on the allocation of funds to student organizations, faculty and students.

"(The compromise) was sort of a way to address all of the concerns that members had," MSA Vice President Andrew Cafourek said.

The Hearnes Center Fee Fund grew from a 1969 UM system Board of Curators decision to collect an $8 student fee in order to reimburse $3.1 million in bonds, which helped pay for the 1972 construction of the Hearnes Center.

In 1995, when the bonds were finally paid for, the committee voted to continue the fee for maintenance purposes. But the original 1969 Bond Establishment stated the fee would not be used for operating or maintaining the facility, Cafourek said.

One clause of the Bond Establishment states maintenance costs should be provided by from other funds and would not be charged under the account.

Minutes from the 1995 meeting were lost, according to MSA, but a letter from then-Associate Athletic Director James Bunton to then-MSA President Jim Massey confirms the continuation of the student fee for the purpose of maintenance, repairs and renovation.

Cafourek said he believes it is inappropriate for the Hearnes Center Advisory Committee to allow any funds to be spent on the Hearnes Center's upkeep, including the $17,655 recommended by the committee in May, to be allotted to maintenance purchases.

Rather than keep any money in the Hearnes Center account, MSA would like to see the committee give all of it to the SFCIC, which supports campus-wide funding proposals. The Hearnes Center qualifies for funding from the SFCIC and is eligible to apply for SFCIC money.

"It is essential to stress that the Hearnes Center will continue to have access to these funds via the SFCIC," MSA stated in its original proposal. "It is hardly imaginable that this committee would reject viable capital projects that it has the capacity to fund."

Scroggs said she believes Alden and Deaton will work together to come up with a decision about what to do with the stagnant $1 million Hearnes Center account.

"The students make a case that they put $8 in that fund, and they should get that money back," Scroggs said. "The athletic department doesn't see it that way. I think it's a matter of finding common ground."

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