SA to regain control of its own money

The Student Association expects to regain control of its money by Friday after its funds were placed under administrative control last week, University officials said Wednesday.

A dispute over academic eligibility of senators with the administration caused the SA to lose control of its funds.

We’ll do what we have to do, get the budget back to the Senate and let everyone get on with their lives, said Mike Gargano, assistant vice president for Student and Academic Support Services and executive director of the Student Activities Center. He said student groups were unaffected by the dispute.

Gargano said he took administrative control over the association’s funds last Friday after repeated requests for profile information of SA senators were not accomodated. SA Senate officials did not provide him with the middle names and Social Security numbers of certain senators so that he could check for academic eligibility. The back-and-forth e-mail dispute lasted several weeks, he said.

But Caity Leu, executive vice president of the Senate, said it is not within her jurisdiction to order senators to provide that information.

I think it was extremely unprofessional for (Gargano) to freeze our funding on an issue that has nothing to do with how well or poorly we are managing our money, she said. It has never been the policy of SAC to do student academic checks.

When you register as a student organization, we do have that responsibility, (to do checks), Gargano said.

Leu questioned the timing of Gargano’s intervention and wondered why academic checks were not carried out last spring when fall registration occurred.

I don’t understand why this was left to the middle of October, Leu said.

At Tuesday’s Senate meeting, some senators voiced concerns about what they feel is ineffective communication between the Senate and administrators.

Gargano said he thinks members of the Senate feel they are above administrative guidance.

We have a group of students who believe that they are responsible only to themselves and there is no institutional (or) administrative oversight over them, he said.

Leu said she was never officially notified until Tuesday’s Senate meeting that Gargano took control of the funds. But Gargano said he notified Leu in an e-mail last Friday that if the requested information was not forwarded to him by Friday evening, he would assume control of SA funds.

As a result of this incident, SA leaders met Wednesday evening to draft a letter to top University officials and the Board of Trustees, emphasizing the SA’s autonomy as a Board of Trustees chartered group.

The purpose of this meeting is to reaffirm that we are chartered by the Board of Trustees, Leu said.

Despite the charter granted by the Board of Trustees, the Board grants GW administrative oversight for the Senate, Gargano said.

David Burt, chairman of the SA’s Finance Committee, reassured concerned student group leaders that no funds were improperly used during the one-week period.

The bottom line is that student groups will not be affected, Burt said.

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