Cathy Sterling reflects on what she saw as the shift of the student union from being a group of students run and supported by themselves to being a building on campus supported by student fees collected by Student Affairs. Interview on October 21, 2010. (3:01)

Transcript

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The student union when it started here was just a truly student union. 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:04.599
A group of students got together and said, hey, how about we try this, 00:00:04.599 - 00:00:08.631
and for the longest time it ran itself. 00:00:08.631 - 00:00:14.488
The students made the decisions about the money. It was truly a student organization 00:00:14.488 - 00:00:19.578
and "student union" didn't mean a building. 00:00:19.578 - 00:00:23.678
It was a student union. 00:00:23.678 - 00:00:26.060
It was unionizing students. 00:00:26.060 - 00:00:28.441
Whether there was a majority of students ever involved or not I don't know, 00:00:28.441 - 00:00:32.621
but I do know that where the money goes 00:00:32.621 - 00:00:35.566
is where people are going to get interested. 00:00:35.566 - 00:00:38.755
Over time-- 00:00:38.755 - 00:00:42.870
and I talk about it in the report. 00:00:42.870 - 00:00:45.337
I think I document it but I can't swear to it now. 00:00:45.337 - 00:00:48.256
But it had gone from students running it 00:00:48.256 - 00:00:51.588
to becoming a building. 00:00:51.588 - 00:00:54.306
All the money was collected by student affairs. 00:00:54.306 - 00:00:57.631
The administration slowly but surely 00:00:57.631 - 00:01:02.161
took it over completely and 00:01:02.161 - 00:01:05.213
one of the places that it was 00:01:05.213 - 00:01:09.516
shocking when I was there, 00:01:09.516 - 00:01:11.521
when people got it, was Friends of the College. 00:01:11.521 - 00:01:14.090
Friends of the College, wonderful organization, no doubt about that, 00:01:14.090 - 00:01:18.528
but it got a huge chunk of that money to support it, 00:01:18.528 - 00:01:24.922
in addition of course to tickets and things like that, but who made that decision? 00:01:24.922 - 00:01:29.405
Who made that decision? That was a question: Who made that decision? 00:01:29.405 - 00:01:33.757
So somehow it ended up that the student government got to use the building, 00:01:33.757 - 00:01:39.033
we had offices, the student senate could meet there, 00:01:39.033 - 00:01:41.711
of course student organizations could meet there and things, 00:01:41.711 - 00:01:44.338
but we no longer operated it. 00:01:44.338 - 00:01:45.841
The students no longer operated any of it, 00:01:45.841 - 00:01:49.035
and not only that, there were decisions being made about the money that weren't even 00:01:49.035 - 00:01:53.492
necessarily connected to the union itself, 00:01:53.492 - 00:01:56.182
to the building, to the running of the building, 00:01:56.182 - 00:01:58.209
to the running of the programs that were there. 00:01:58.209 - 00:02:00.621
Friends of the College was a perfect example. 00:02:00.621 - 00:02:03.471
It was the student fees. The union fees, because one of them was a student union fee, 00:02:03.471 - 00:02:08.446
was going to operating Friends of the College, 00:02:08.446 - 00:02:13.578
which no question that that--as a teenager my mom got us to many of the wonderful programs 00:02:13.578 - 00:02:20.984
--its value, but the question was, 00:02:20.984 - 00:02:25.696
who made that decision, do the students know that they are doing this? 00:02:25.696 - 00:02:30.020
Because many students, like me with the athletics, 00:02:30.020 - 00:02:34.081
they're not going to go to a ballet, they're not going to go to a symphony, 00:02:34.081 - 00:02:38.087
so why are they putting money in that they have no control over? 00:02:38.087 - 00:02:41.912
And it was that awareness, because certainly by the time I came in, 00:02:41.912 - 00:02:45.754
unions always being a hated thing in the South, 00:02:45.754 - 00:02:48.426
the student union had no connection with the word union. It was just the building. 00:02:48.426 - 00:02:54.278

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