Queer Alliance works to recover from embezzlement

SF State’s Queer Alliance is attempting to re-register their club status for spring 2017 after a two semester long absence due to embezzlement of funds by a former member, said Queer Alliance Director Stuart Castaneda.

The club was unable to re-register with the University due to lack of funding after the theft, resulting in loss of club privileges like tabling and funding. Because of the inability to table, the club cannot set up tables in the quad to advertise, which is a significant resource to gain new members and spread the word about events and meetings, Castaneda said.

“The embezzlement happened so long ago that even our oldest members don’t know the full details behind it. As one of the previous leads from last year, we were advised by the director and assistant director that it would be easier to fund raise than to deal with getting funding back,” Castaneda said.  “Ever since I’ve been a member in the Queer Alliance we’ve never had funding, but this year’s lead team (composed of elected officials who represent the QA) is investigating how to get the funding back.”

Despite the club being unregistered for a semester, they were able to continue support for the community by providing a safe space on campus, Castaneda said.

“We are a social club, first and foremost, and we pride ourselves on allocating our time spent within the LGBT community on campus,”  Castaneda said.

The club was present at the celebration of National Coming Out Day, which was held in the Malcolm X Plaza on Oct. 10, where they passed out flyers and offered information about their club and its mission.

“The organization is in the process of re-registering, hopefully that will be completed in the next month or so,” said Rick Nizzardini, advisor for Queer Alliance.  “It seems that there was possibly an incident where someone who was part of QA had taken funds from the account for their personal benefit at some point in the distant past, even before I became faculty advisor in 2011.”

University spokesperson Jonathan Morales said every student organization must register with Student Activities and Events in order to be eligible to fundraise on campus and apply for funding through Associated Students, Inc. However, they may fundraise outside of campus with no affiliation through the University if they wish.

“Queer Alliance applied for official student organization recognition last year but did not complete all of the steps necessary for registration, including but not limited to, certain officers not completing the student leader orientation,” Morales said.

Morales said that they have applied this year for re-registration, and Student Activities and Events is in the process of reviewing their current application.

The club has decided to rely on alternative funding sources other than Associated Students, Inc. Nizzardini said.

“Their spirits have always been upbeat and focused on providing social support to LGBTQQIA students on campus,” Nizzardini said. “They have fundraised in the past to provide programs like ‘Sweet Social’ and even to co-sponsor some programs, like the conference ‘Queer Yo Mind,’ with other clubs.”