As if the Student Association saga could not get any more damaging for certain SA members, new information reveals further financial mismanagement – again implying funds were appropriated for a senator’s personal benefit. Students, whether interested in student government or not, should be disturbed that their money is going to the whims of abusive representatives.
Two investigations currently underway surrounding Sen. J.P. Blackford (SEAS-G) – one by the SA’s judicial wing and one by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Engineers’ Council – show funds appropriated through measures that violate SA bylaws. More importantly, they show an extensive abuse of power and conduct unbecoming of an elected student representative.
Last year, Blackford filled out an expenditure approval form to reimburse a fee for a SEAS-related conference in Canada. He then signed to approve the form. Blackford basically allotted himself more than $400 of Engineers’ Council allocation funds to go to a conference – without receiving proper approval from the SA or the Engineers’ Council.
There is a systemic level of financial unaccountability that plagues the SA, and students and administration alike should not accept this. Plans for a financial audit of SA expenditures have been stalled by members in the SA who have the most to hide, even after a $50,000 budget shortfall at the beginning of the year. Their claim that an internal audit is best fits nicely, along with the story that they cannot complete the audit because of their inability to obtain a room in the Marvin Center. This is just another thin cover-up and they know it. Students and administrators should demand an external audit to bring the truth to light and hold those responsible for misdeeds accountable.