When Director of Student Activities and Wilson Commons Rob Rouzer leaves UR at the end of March, the Students’ Association Appropriations Committee will be without his guidance. Rouzer became SAAC adviser when he was appointed to his current position in 1983.
Rouzer has accepted a job as the Director of the Campus Unions at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
SAAC members said that Rouzer has been a valuable asset and will be hard to replace.
“Throughout the time I’ve been on the committee, Rob has played a vital role,” said junior SAAC controller Scott Guthrie. “He brings years of experience into each meeting, which will be missed, especially during the upcoming final budgeting period.”
Newly elected SAAC Treasurer and junior Clark Van Vliet admits that his new job will be daunting without Rouzer’s presence on next year’s committee.
“In all honesty, the work Rob does makes my job seem like nothing,” he said. “He is able to present his knowledge at our meetings in a very well-organized manner.”
The SAAC is responsible for the financial dealings of the Students’ Association. They monitor SA group budgets, serve as a go-between for SA groups and the Senate, and are responsible for an annual budget of about $650,000.
SAAC members are working to learn as much as they can about running the budget before Rouzer leaves.
“Basically there is very little I can do to prepare for Rob’s leaving other than meet with him,” Van Vliet said. “I will have to pick his brain and try to anticipate as best I can the most important things I will need to know.”
Senior Senator Ashley Conner said that Rouzer has been a huge resource for SAAC and for the university as a whole. “The biggest change I foresee is simply the loss of all of Rob’s knowledge,” she said.
Senators and SAAC members have started meeting with Rouzer so he can pass on his knowledge. “I have a personal meeting scheduled with Rob and another meeting scheduled where myself, the SA president, speaker and ACJC chief justice will meet with him,” Van Vliet said.
Conner said that she thinks it’s important to make a record of Rouzer’s knowledge so they will have access to it when he leaves. “One thing I think we should be doing is trying to catalog as much of what Rob has given to us so that we don’t lose everything when he moves on to Chicago,” she said.
Though Rouzer may be able to pass some of his knowledge, his experience will be harder to duplicate. “Many times during SAAC meetings we defer to Rob for advice about courses of action, mainly because he has seen and done most everything that we discuss before,” Conner said.
Rouzer describes his role in the budgeting process as one that is largely a matter of bookkeeping, something he is confident he can pass along. “I will be working with the remaining members of the Student Activities Office and student leaders to be sure that they are all comfortable with the details of the budget,” he said. “I have every confidence that the budgeting process will proceed as smoothly as usual.”
SA staff accountant Debbie Gaudet will also help with the transition. According to Rouzer, she is “quite competent and fully on top of the management of the SA’s resources.”
Everyone agrees that finding a replacement for Rouzer should be a priority. “It is critical that we find a replacement for Rob,” said senior and former SAAC Treasurer Malik Evans. “We need to appoint an interim director because if we don’t have someone who knows the numbers, then budgeting will be a disaster.”
Dean of the College William Green has discussed the possibility of creating an interim position in Rouzer’s absence. “We will make interim arrangements through the end of the academic year to cover Rob’s responsibilities,” he said. “There are talented people in student activities who can help us stay on track.”
SAAC members are concerned with the process of finding a replacement because of the large amount of money at stake. “I really hope the university stresses the importance of Rob’s position,” said Van Vliet. “Things could easily go amiss, taking into account the massive amount of figures he deals with.”
Conner agrees. “This is a very critical time in the history of the SA,” she said. “Without Rob here, I feel like we are losing one of our biggest assets.”
Taylor can be reached at Ktaylor@campustimes.org