Student Government questioned the administration’s spending habits with a proposal passed Tuesday night, allowing SG and Faculty Senate to jointly hire an outside evaluator to examine how USF spends its reserve funds.
“We are seeking more transparency from the USF administration,” said Daniel Shelnutt, chairman of the Interim Funding and Transfers Committee and author of the proposal. “There is too much money that is currently being questioned. Where is it going?”
About $1,060 in Activity and Service (A&S) fees will be used to hire Larry Dubeck, an economic expert from Temple University who will provide the report. A&S fees come from the $8.79 students pay per credit hour, plus the $7 flat fee.
“(Dubeck) was one of the first people to notice (the) very large reserve account that the University’s general budget has, and he has always been one of the biggest advocates for transparency within the administration,” Shelnutt said.
Dubeck has experience handling the Florida State University budget and will serve as a neutral party to help SG and the Faculty Senate to come up with a solution to what Shelnutt calls a “budgeting crisis” at USF.
USF Spokesman Michael Hoad wasn’t at the meeting, but said “the University will be happy to work with the Senate” when Dubeck arrives.
Trotter said Faculty Senate President Laurence Branch told him Dubeck already conducted an overview of the budget and has some concerns he feels should be addressed, considering that the state as a whole is in a budget crisis, which has decreased university funding.
What concerns Dubeck, Trotter said, is the large amount of reserves that aren’t being used at the moment.
During the Senate meeting, Trotter said the Senate wants to hold the administration accountable for its spending, and accused it of “acting standoffish” because it was “being held accountable for its actions.”
Dubeck’s arrival date has yet to be decided, but Shelnutt said he hopes it will pressure the administration into telling USF students where the money is going.
When asked whether he thought the administration was funneling money away from what the budget required, Shelnutt said he wasn’t sure.
“Very few people know where the money is going, especially in the reserve accounts,” he said.
The administration needs to increase transparency and make sure the money is going toward student interests, he said.