Student Assocation finance chair questions cabinet retreat funding

Financial controversy over a pre-semester Student Association workshop has led the senate finance committee chair to probe SA financial processes and executive spending.

Sen. Julie Bindelglass (CCAS-U) requested details about executive spending at a committee meeting Tuesday evening, concerned that SA President Vishal Aswani’s cabinet did not use its own funds appropriately during a four-day retreat this August.

Both the SA senate and executive cabinet held a series of meetings at GW and around the city in August to become acquainted with administrators and each other. The senate spent $250 on breakfast and lunch during the retreat, and the executive spent $315 on tickets to a Washington Nationals game for all senators and cabinet members, said sophomore Tabisa Walwema, SA vice president of public affairs. Last year’s executive retreat lasted one day, and the senate’s lasted two days, neither including sporting events.

The money spent on the executive retreat was from an executive revenue account rather than the student fee, but Bindelglass expressed concern that the money used on the retreat was not benefiting students. Past uses of the executive revenue account included the GW F.E.E.D. initiative last year and a breakfast for University President Steven Knapp after his inauguration.

“I don’t believe food is operational for the SA to do its business, and I would personally like to see that money go towards student organizations,” said Bindelglass, a sophomore.

She added that she would like to pay for her own portion of the food that she ate during the workshops.

Explanations of who paid for the retreat varied in Aswani’s cabinet.

Sophomore Chas Pressner, SA vice president of financial affairs, said Aswani paid for all events himself. But Aswani later said each member of the SA who attended these events paid for their own game tickets and meals, and Pressner retracted this comment.

The Hatchet obtained a receipt which indicates that Aswani paid for 35 Nationals tickets on Aug. 26 and was reimbursed with funds from the executive revenue account several days later.

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