Student Government (SG) voted in favor of a bill Tuesday night that would require the approval of any changes made to an Activity and Service (A&S) fee-funded organization’s budget.
Although it may seem like another nod to bureaucracy or an extra piece of red tape to be maneuvered around, this bill would ensure that the budgets approved by SG are spent appropriately.
SG is responsible for allocating about $11 million each academic year among the Office of Student Affairs, student organizations and SG.
The money comes from a flat A&S fee included in every USF student’s tuition. Though it was expected that any changes to a SG-approved budget would be reported, it was never mandated.
SG has an obligation to serve the needs and interests of the student body that provides it money. By requiring that any changes to the allocated budgets be reported and approved, SG is protecting students’ money, thus fulfilling its most basic duty.
Requiring that the use of money allocated by SG be tracked from start to finish will also better protect the University and equip it with a route for recourse in the case of misuse.
If there is no rule that states something is wrong, then no punishment can be justly applied. By formally demanding that alterations to approved plans be reported, SG could curtail waste and prevent incidents like the Jennifer Meningall debacle from escalating to full-blown scandals.
Given the dire financial straits USF finds itself in, it seems like a no-brainer that the University would favor a plan that could prevent precious funds, especially those provided by students, from being spent inappropriately.
On the contrary, though, there is much doubt among some that President Judy Genshaft will approve this completely appropriate bill.
“I don’t think the president is going to sign it,” said Dean of Students Kevin Banks at the Senate meeting.
The bill is a step in the right direction toward preventing money mismanagement and wasteful spending at USF.
If Genshaft is interested in respecting students’ money, protecting the University from wasteful spending and providing the administration of which she is a part recourse against individuals who mismanage their funds, she should sign the SG bill into law.