Associated Students Inc. board of directors rejected a proposition that would authorize university supervision of student governed funds Wednesday, in an effort to maintain control of their accounts.
The proposal would have granted a University official oversight over four accounts belonging to the Cesar Chavez Student Center, which merged with ASI earlier this semester. Members of the board pushed to maintain command of student funds.
“As it’s proposed, it seems like it’s putting the University at the hands of our accounts and removing it from Associated Student staff completely,” said Vice President of University Affairs Celia LuBuono Gonzalez.
Guy Dalpe, managing director of the student center, is the only signatory over the accounts, which gives him sole authority over money derived from student fees, according to Ron Cortez, vice president and chief financial officer of administration and finance.
Cortez urged the board to add a second signatory to the accounts, and to make the decision on who would fill that position immediately.
ASI Executive Director Peter Koo, along with members of the board, expressed frustration over not being notified about needing a second signatory earlier. Koo spoke out against Dalpe for his failure to come forward about the status of the accounts.
“I’m not calling my colleague (Dalpe) out here, but there’s been ample opportunity for my colleague to let us know that there’s a single signatory on the student center accounts and we would have done something about it had we had been told,” Koo said.
The University proposed adding the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Luoluo Hong, as the second signatory. Members of the board, along with other students raised questions about giving Hong that power, which would effectively allocate authority over funds meant to be managed by elected student representatives.
“I see UCorp, UCorp, UCorp, VP administration of finance, VP students affairs. That’s all administration,” Junior Representative Sarah Pishny said at the meeting. “I see zero ASI representation on this resolution. For me, that’s scary and aggravating.”
Cortez explained the dangers of having one person govern the student funded accounts and advised including more signatories as a system of checks and balances. The accounts amount to over $3 million, according to Cortez.
“Right now, the internal controls for that are not sufficient, at least in my opinion, because one person has control over the Cesar Chavez Student Center investment account,” Cortez said. “That’s never a good move.”
The board voted to temporarily add Koo to accounts with a single signatory and required all transactions to be made with both authorities approval until the ASI University Affairs Committee redrafts a permanent solution, which the board will reconsider next week.
A Memorandum of Understanding that would establish administrative supervision of the executive director will be introduced at the upcoming meeting, causing concern from some students.
“In regards to the resolution transferring access to request funds to members of the University Corporation, I believe that it is only under the purview strictly of our elected student leaders,” said ASI project lead Marcus Ismael. “I highly urge you to not even consider the MOU and the resolution.”