Student Association senate tables financial transparency legislation

A bill designed to increase transparency in the student organization financial process was sent back to committee at the Student Association senate meeting Tuesday night when the SA adviser encouraged senators to allow the University general counsel to review it.

The legislation, written by Sen. Logan Dobson (CCAS-U), would allow students to view how student organizations spend their allocated funds from the student fee account. Students can currently only view how much is allocated to each organization.

Tim Miller, executive director of the Student Activities Center, said senators should allow the general counsel to determine whether GW financial records can become public.

Dobson, a sophomore, said he does not think it was necessary for the senate to delay passage of the bill.

“We don’t need anyone’s authority to change the bylaws,” Dobson said at the meeting. “The SA constitution is signed by the Board of Trustees and that would outrank the general counsel. We don’t need to ask (the general counsel) if we wish to amend our bylaws.”

Other senators said they did not feel comfortable passing the bill without the consent of the counsel.

“This is the first year that we are receiving increased money from the University to allocate to student orgs,” said SA Sen. Ricardo Pineres (G-at-Large). “I think it is a prudent decision to ensure that the University is content with way we are handling this process.”

SA Sen. Michelle Tanney (CPS-G), student life committee chair, said she felt the SA behaved maturely for waiting to pass the bill.

“I think (allowing the general counsel to review the bill) would set good precedent with administration that we are working with them and not against them, especially with money which is controversial at this University,” said Tanney, a graduate student.

Dobson is confident the bill will pass when it goes before the senate again on Oct. 21.

“I’m still extremely disappointed in the senate’s decision,” he said. “I feel that the senate took the phantom objections of a GW administration figure over the desires of the students for a more open financial process.”

SA Sen. Rob Lockwood (U-at-Large), a senior, co-sponsored the bill, while SA President Vishal Aswani, a senior, and Executive Vice President Kyle Boyer, a junior, also voiced their support.

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