Earlier this week, the Student Assembly (S.A.) lifted the 30-day spending moratorium that was requested by its executive committee after Hope Mandeville, director of the Office of the Assemblies, restored funds that she allegedly spent without the S.A.’s permission back into the S.A. account.
Director of Elections Leslie Barkemeyer ’03 explained that the funds withdrawn by Mandeville were used for advertising to encourage students to vote in the S.A. spring elections, and for the election process itself.
The online company votehere.net was contracted by the S.A. to run the elections and is paid for by the Office of the Assemblies and the University registrar. Since the number of candidates in the 2003 S.A. elections nearly doubled from last year, the increase in advertising and the number of pages used in the online voting system required additional funding.
Initially, the spending moratorium was enacted to give the S.A. time to determine what funds were transferred in and out of the S.A. financial account.
S.A. president Noah Doyle ’03 explained in a statement to the S.A. that “the executive committee is investigating reasons for this over-expenditure. It is important to understand that we are currently exploring potential measures to ensure this never happens again and have discussed the matter with [Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations].”
Previously, the S.A. reported a debt of $780.29 after a $3,000 budget was requested for spring elections, but Mandeville spent $6,575.82. Doyle explained that he would be meeting with Mandeville and Dullea later this week to discuss the current budget situation and to clear up any miscommunications.
According to Doyle, “The [S.A.] now has a positive budget and will be funding appropriations requests for the remainder of the semester.”
Doyle had limited information on the amount of funds that Mandeville transferred into the account, but he will release a statement to the University containing exact calculations of the transferred funds after meeting with Mandeville and Dullea. Doyle added that the restored funds came from the Office of the Assemblies itself.
Barkemeyer explained that the “S.A. money used for the elections must be approved by the Appropriations Committee. I think a lot of it was miscommunication and in the future, it should be the objective of the people who handle the money in the Office of Assemblies to communicate with members of the S.A. committees to determine appropriate funding.”
In an e-mail sent to the S.A., Mandeville explained that she had “estimated $3,000 for spring elections based on what the S.A. had done before. Expenses were greater this spring due to the higher number of candidates. More election packets and bigger ads on voting days [were needed].”
S.A. representative Stephen Blake ’03 explained that Mandeville needed to spend more money in accordance with the increase in candidates.
“I don’t think Mandeville was trying to slight the S.A. in any way and I completely support her. The bigger problem comes from the Appropriations Committee, which has not been accountable to the student body at large and is something we need to take a look at in the future.”
This is not the first time the Appropriations Committee has been accused of mismanaging the S.A. financial account. Earlier in the year, the S.A. allocated questionable amounts of money for food at S.A. committee meetings as well as $2,000 for Slope Day, measures which some students have questioned.
The Appropriations Committee ignored requests made by members of the Affirmative Action Planning Committee for an audit of the receipts for the $2,000.
“The Appropriations Committee has shown a blind disregard to the rules and procedures,” Blake stated.
Stuti Mandala ’04, former vice president of finance, declined to comment on the situation. The S.A. will meet today to elect a new vice president of finance.
Archived article by Sarah Workman