A sophomore who was elected to the Student Association Senate last year said he will call for a review of the SA’s finance committee if elected to the No. 2 position in the organization.
Sen. Carlo Wood, SoB-U, announced his candidacy for executive vice president Monday. Wood said he will work through an existing review system at GW to look at how members of the finance committee assign funding to student organizations after he heard complaints from students this year.
“A lot of issues that came up in conversations where they felt that their budgets were not properly allocated, they didn’t feel as if they received a fair amount of money for their funding for the upcoming year,” he said. “So I’d like to make sure that’s fair and adequate.”
He said he would use the Business Management and Analysis Group, a consulting group within GW’s finance division, and ask for one of their interns to do the external review of the more than $1 million budget. Twenty-two student organizations received no funding, and GW College Democrats and the Organization of Latino American Students saw their budgets significantly cut after paperwork was improperly filed last spring.
Wood said the audit wouldn’t cost the SA any money and could help it improve the allocation process for student organizations.
“It would just give an external view and really make sure things are being properly allocated,” he said.
Sen. Chris Stillwell, U-At-Large, who has served on the SA’s finance committee for two and half years, said more issues with funding came up this year because the committee changed the online system where student organizations submit funding requests.
Stillwell said members of the finance committee are willing to meet with student organization leaders and answer questions they might have about funding. Presidents and treasurers of student groups must attend mandatory training about funding each year.
“It’s on the student org to reach out to us if they have any issues,” Stillwell said.
Wood – who is majoring in business administration with a dual concentration in event management and finance and minoring in communication – said he would also create a student bill of rights that would compile University regulations and resources for students into one document.
He said he would base it on the National Student Association’s bill of rights, which covers constitutional rights, freedom of speech, due process and classroom rights, but would add sections for safety, fair treatment and expression.
Wood is a member of the Black Student Union, Allied in Pride and the Muslim Student Association, and co-founded the organization GW Sparks, which spreads positive messages for students around campus.
After he grew up in a small, conservative town in Georgia and was raised by white foster parents, Wood said he wasn’t sure if he would fit in on GW’s campus when he arrived. But he said conversations with students and administrators helped him feel at ease in the community.
Wood, the only black member of the SA Senate, would be the first black executive vice president in recent history if he were elected.
“Diversity, I’ve realized, is much more than being reactive in a situation but more so being proactive,” said Wood, who identifies as gay. “I don’t let my race or my sexuality or my background dictate who I am.”
He said expression became an issue on campus after University employees washed away writing and drawings that students made in chalk on the walls in Kogan Plaza following the controversial court decision in Ferguson, Mo.
“There’s a lot of conflict of whether it was OK for the University to wipe down the drawings that they made on the walls, or how would they protest or is it appropriate for them to protest,” Wood said. “But the bill of rights would really encompass all of this, saying you have the right to protest with these boundaries and if you have an issue with that you can take these paths to go and have conversations with administrators or your student government.”
Wood said he will also work toward developing a University-wide room scheduling system, tailored to whoever is trying to book a space. He said he will work with administrators to expand the Event Management System used for locations like the Marvin Center and Gelman Library.
Students interested in reserving a room must submit a request to the Academic Scheduling Office. The Marvin Center launched a new booking site in 2012, but students have complained that the system needs to be updated again, he said.
Wood said the revamp would provide the booker with options for spaces across campus that would fit the student’s specific needs. For example, theater groups would have first claim to rehearsal spaces.
He added that administrators wouldn’t always have priority over students for booking, unlike how the system is set up now.
“We really want to make sure students are not confused for how they register for rooms,” he said.