EUGENE, Ore. — Instead of filing onto the field, University of Oregon band members marched into their annual budget hearing meeting Thursday night, fired up about a possible cut to their funding.
The student body government is singing to a different tune and believe students should not be responsible for picking up the department’s tab. Student leaders feel expenses should be the task of the athletic department or administration.
Right now student fees cover $150,000 of the band’s operating budget. The athletic department pays $250,000.
The band says a cut to the budget would be detrimental to its operation. It means fewer members and scholarships and eliminating performances for pep rallies and student ceremonies, and in the end affect the overall university atmosphere.
“We do not see ourselves as strictly an athletic group,” said one band member.
“All of our performances are geared to enhancing the collegiate experience at the university, many of which aren’t based around athletics at all,” said another band member.
Student leaders promised they wouldn’t leave the band flying high and dry unless another department offered to foot the bill. Although the notion that student government wants to slowly decrease support still struck a chord.
“It would severe in a real way the student’s connection to the marching band,” said one band member.
“Though we are widely utilized, it’s always for the students,” said another band member.
Band members told KEZI they still have a firm commitment to resolve this funding issue with student leaders because right now there isn’t another source for that $150,000 part of the budget.