Court rules for full financial transparency
The Student Association court ruled Tuesday night that financial records detailing SA President Audai Shakour’s summer spending must be open to the public.
The court ruled in favor of plaintiff Brandon Sherr, a junior, who filed suit because he was denied full access to the Shakour administration’s financial records from summer transactions. While Sherr was shown the quick books – a non-detailed report of the amount spent for the summer that doesn’t show what the money was spent on – he claimed they were “very inexact and very imprecise in terms of detail.”
“This case is about the privileges of students,” Sherr said. “Students need this privilege as a check on the executive.”
Junior Jeff Goodman, the SA’s vice president of judicial and legislative affairs, represented Stephanie Adelman, also a junior, who is the vice president of financial affairs and keeps records of all SA’s financial documents.
At the hearing, Adelman was asked who signed financial documents when she was not in the office for the majority of the summer.
“Audai was acting as VPFA,” she said. She added that Shakour signed the documents when she was not available to. According to the SA constitution’s bylaws, this is an illegal action.
“The best thing the SA can do is to bring this to light and disclose everything that happened,” Sherr said. “The SA needs to be careful here, especially when they’re considering increasing the student fee and taking on even more financial responsibility.”
Goodman, on behalf of the executive, said the financial records are not in the SA office so they could not be released. The court ruled that the SA must keep all financial records in the SA office in the Marvin Center and for them to be open for public examination. Goodman also argued that the documents contained sensitive information including Social Security numbers, which can be blacked out when copies are made of the documents.
“I believe there was a serious breakdown of the financial process over the summer,” said Sherr.
He could not speculate as to what the causes of the supposed breakdown were until he investigates the issue further. He is considering pressing further charges against the Shakour administration for Adelman not signing all the financial documents, which he said is a constitutional requirement. Sherr said he is “at a point right now where I can do more research then see where I stand.”
“This is just the beginning of what’s going on here,” Sherr added.