Earlier this month, President William Powers Jr. announced that the University Budget Council will be expanded to include a student and a faculty member for the first time since its establishment in 2000.
The council is a high-level committee that advises the president on how to allocate University funds among its various units and strategic initiatives. Since its inception during former UT President Larry Faulkner’s tenure, it has operated with an administrator-only membership, and its behind-the-scenes nature has left its real influence up to speculation.
This move is a much-needed step in the right direction of fiscal transparency in light of the current climate, which has included large budget cuts and pressure from outside groups to change how the University operates. The change was produced by a productive collaboration between Student Government, Senate of College Councils, Graduate Student Assembly, faculty and administrators.
The end all, of course, is not simply membership but action. Tough times have illustrated that shared sacrifice requires shared decision-making and, moving forward, shared accountability. We hope that the two new council members — Student Body President Natalie Butler and pharmacy professor Andrea Gore — utilize the voices of their respective groups and add perspective and value to ongoing budget discussions.