Letter to the Editor : Money spent on SA formal huge violation of codes, shows irresponsibility
On March 30, Student Association held ‘SA Formal.’ Much like the formals of other fraternities and organizations, this was meant as a chance for members to socialize. Unfortunately, this formal reveals the irresponsible activities of SA this session.
This formal shows questionable financial decisions on behalf of the current cabinet. The nearly $4,000 used to pay for this formal came out of SA’s operating budget. For those unfamiliar with the SA budgeting process, each student pays a student activity fee each fall. These fees are pooled together into a fund totaling more than $2 million annually. This fund is turned over to SA, which then allocates funds to different organizations on campus for programming, or, in the case of organizations like CitrusTV and SA, operational expenses. Operating budget requests are held to the same standards and codes as all other budgets submitted to the finance board. Each budget is approved for specific line item expenses; any deviation from the approved items must be approved by the Finance Board.
This budget, which was reviewed and passed by the Finance Board under my leadership in the fall, had no allocation for this event. An expenditure like this – which included food – is a direct violation of Article IV of SA’s codes, which govern the allocation of your student activity fee. This was a discretionary use of funds taken from another purpose, making a mockery of the entire system. Although current Comptroller Stephen DeSalvo warned cabinet members this was a violation of the codes, his objections fell on deaf ears.
In the two years I spent as comptroller, absolutely no funds were distributed to pay for any items prohibited by the finance codes. For a president who reproached the previous session for ‘pushing its own agenda,’ to circumvent the finance codes for the entertainment of his own organization is immature at best and reckless at worst. Any extra funds in SA’s account should be made available for all student organizations next semester.
When allocating such a large amount of money, the only way to ensure fair treatment is to apply the same codes and standards to every organization that submits a budget. SA is just one of 300 registered student organizations on campus, yet current leadership seems to have forgotten they are not above the law and are subject to the same rules as everyone else.Students need to know about everything the student government does, and in my opinion, the use of student funds for events like this is, frankly, unacceptable.
Student Association Comptroller
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