The Student Government (SG) Senate voted Tuesday to make the German Culture Club, the Italian Culture Club, the French Club and the Atheist Student Alliance (ASA) pay back 75 percent of the Activity and Service fees (A&S) the clubs spent on a March 9 Mardi Gras Masquerade event because a posted sign appeared to restrict access to the event.
All clubs were found to be in violation of the Proviso, a document which states that A&S-funded events must be open to all students, since all students pay A&S fees.
Though the French Club was eventually pardoned, because they did not spend A&S funds, French Club President Nora Butris said she and members of the other involved organizations are unsatisfied with Senate’s decision. She said she felt the senators did not have enough time to review the evidence or make an informed decision, and she and the other club members will consider appealing the decision.
“I think we can appeal, we haven’t decided anything, it’s something we will all have to sit down together for and figure out,” she said. “I’m just not familiar with what the (appeals) process is and I’m learning about that now, so I kind of want to know more about (the process) before we do it. It’s definitely something we’re considering.”
However, SG Judiciary and Ethics Committee chairman Adam Oldfield, whose committee recommended the 75 percent disciplinary action, said there isn’t an appeals process to Senate for the involved clubs to utilize.
“I’m pretty sure the only way is you’d have to do it through the (SG) Supreme Court,” he said. “I don’t think they can appeal it to Senate unless Senate motions for a vote of reconsideration, which would recall the vote, in which case they’d have to recall both votes that they made on the issue.”
The Senate voted 25-17-1, with Senate Pro Tempore Khalid Hassouneh abstaining, in favor of the recommendation to make the clubs pay back 75 percent of the A&S funds they used.
The Italian Culture Club spent $37.91, the ASA spent $32.79 and the German Culture Club spent $365.85 on the event. Oldfield, who led the investigation, said a 100 percent fine is standard, but recommended leniency because they determined the clubs did not intend to exclude students from the Masquerade event.
Butris said even though the French Club was pardoned, they still support the other clubs.
“We still feel like we’re a huge part of it because we co-coordinated this whole (event),” she said. “To us it’s a matter of principle at this point.”
Hassouneh said he doubted any action (of appeal) could be taken before the end of the Senate’s 51st term April 19, and the 52nd term does not begin until May 9.
“There’s only one meeting left for the 51st term of Senate,” he said. “It’s ceremonial in nature, typically there’s no business done there, so they would not have time to look at (a motion for recommendation) during the 51st term.”
The Senate also voted 30-11-1 Tuesday, with Hassouneh abstaining, to have the four clubs repay the funds by July 11, a period of 90 days. Hassouneh said he was surprised that the Senate did not make any more motions in regard to the four clubs.
“I found it interesting that the Senate left it open like that and they’re basically telling the organizations to ‘do the right thing, pay back the debt,’ but they don’t know what the consequence is; there might not be a consequence,” he said. “Obviously if the funds were paid back there would be no consequence regardless, but basically right now it’s not like ‘pay or something will happen.'”