SA erases $50K debt

With help from the University and summer GW students, the Student Association recovered all but $500 of a $50,000 debt they faced after distributing too much co-sponsorship money last spring.

Some senators have accused SA President Phil Robinson of taking undue credit for negotiating with the University, which contributed $25,000 to help the SA out of debt. About $24,500 was recovered from summer students’ $1-per-credit fees.

The SA budget is now at $399,500 based on student fees from last year.

Robinson met with Johnnie Osborne, chief financial officer for Student and Academic Support Services, and other budget officials last week. Robinson announced the deal to senators and student groups by e-mail Monday evening, when he said he made sure the money was received by Joan Mitchell, who keeps the SA’s books for SASS.

Finance Committee Chair Dan Moss (U-SBPM) said Sen. Tayseer Aldaghlas (SMHS) approached Osborne and asked for help before Robinson. Moss said Robinson withheld information about the status of the debt last weekend and has created a “deafening lack of communication from the executive (branch).”

Robinson said he was meeting with University officials, including SASS Vice President Robert Chernak, Wednesday.

“We like to make sure we keep everything in house until it’s finalized,” Robinson said, adding he planned to get the Senate’s approval of the arrangement at their meeting Tuesday.

Robinson said the atmosphere was “intense” as he delivered his president’s report to the Senate at their first meeting Tuesday night in the Marvin Center. Ten newly-elected senators and Executive Vice President Eric Daleo ran on the “Working for Us” platform last spring that included Robinson’s opponent, senior Josh Singer.

“It’s going to take some time,” Robinson said after the meeting, at which senators grilled him on purchases like business cards for his cabinet and computers for the SA office. “I was glad there were so many questions, that they’re engaged. There’s potential.”

Several former “Working for Us” candidates deny the platform still exists after the election.

“That is so over,” said Student Life Committee Chair Kris Hart (U-at large), but said politics as usual within the SA have continued this year.

“I think (Robinson) and we can do great things if we get beyond the petty. Business cards – get over them,” he said after the almost three-hour Senate meeting Tuesday.

“I have my friends,” Moss said of the slate, adding Robinson worked with some senators more than others this summer. He named sophomore Omar Woodard (U-ESIA), who did not run on the “Working for Us” platform.

Moss said he is looking for communication that is “clear as Waterford Crystal,” and mentioned that creating an SA mission statement may alleviate some problems.

“I hope the whole SA gets it together,” Robinson said.

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