Account quarrels

A misunderstanding surrounding unallocated Activities & Services funds is still on the minds of many senators after Monday night’s Student Senate meeting.

During the meeting, Junior Sen. Hasaan Flake brought to the attention of the Senate $1,500 that was allocated to the freshman class, without a two-thirds vote, by Senate President Ramon Alexander.

“There was a pledge made to the freshman class for the money; however, it was from unallocated funds,” Alexander said. “The senate president has discretion to commit unallocated funds.”

Some senators took issue with the interpretation of Senate documents giving Alexander the authority to allocate money from the account without the Senate vote.

Flake said he does not fault Alexander for making the decision, but he believes the rules need to be clarified.

“Someone has to go back and change the wording of the documents to make it clear as to whether he has the authority to allocate the funds because, as of now, they just state that he is the overseer of the account, which can be left up to interpretation either way,” Flake said.

The problem arose with the understanding of the senate president’s authority over the unallocated account.

“Unallocated and senate reserves are two separate accounts.

The unallocated account comes from money that was swept from last year. The senate president is the overseer of the unallocated account,” said Freshman Sen. Elijah Bowdre.

“In order to spend the reserves, it must be approved by the University president and then it can be entertained on the Senate floor where it must have a two-thirds vote to be ratified.”

Alexander said he pledged the money during the freshman class meeting to help the class supplement its budget, which was cut along with the other classes’ budgets by 75 percent.

“The freshman class provides the most activities on campus out of all the classes because a majority of their population lives on campus,” Alexander said. “I will be assessing proposals from the other classes in the near future.”

When asked about how the decision was made to distribute money to the freshman class, Alexander said it was one of many decisions to allocate money that was not budgeted for initially.

“I have used the unallocated account to fund projects outside of the projects budgeted for at the beginning of the semester,” Alexander said. “This includes items like extra flyers, deejays and T-shirts.”

The interpretation of the Student Body Statute that Alexander used during the Senate meeting to substantiate his decision came from Delores Dupont and Benita Lamb, the office manager and assistant office manager respectively, in the SGA.

“I think it was a big misunderstanding in the rules and procedures,” said Freshman Sen. Biko Smith. “Ramon checked with Ms. Dupont and Ms. Lamb, who said he was correct in the actions that he took.”

Other senators took issue with the fact they were not notified of Alexander’s pledge to the freshmen.

“I brought it up because I sit on the Organization and Finance Committee, and I am the person who does the budget and keeps record of the money that is taken out of each account,” Flake said.

Junior Sen. Torey Alston was seemingly upset after he found out Alexander made the pledge during the freshman class meeting. Alston said he would have wanted to ensure that each class, including the freshman class, received support from the Senate.

“It was a blatant disregard for the Senate, who found out later that a presentation was made on behalf of the Senate president,” Alston said.

Alexander said he will continue to allocate money as he and other Senate presidents have done in the past.

He added that he would not overwhelm the Senate by notifying them of the transactions that come from the unallocated funds account.

“The Senate president does not have to notify the Senate when unallocated funds are pledged,” Alexander said.

No formal actions to address the issue have been determined by the Senate at this time.

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