Fate of Correspondents’ Dinner unclear

If Senate wishes to overrule Moneer Kheireddine’s veto, it will have to vote on the request again and receive a supermajority in favor. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE.

Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine announced Monday that he vetoed the unallocated cash request that would fund a controversial Student Government-sponsored Correspondents’ Dinner with money derived from student fees.

The $8,268 request, which included a 6 percent overhead charge, was passed in Senate on Oct. 23 with 23 voting yes and two no.

The requested funds would come from the Activity and Service (A&S) fee unrestricted reserve account, which is funded directly from fees students pay in their tuition.

The SG Senate, however, could overrule Kheireddine by voting on the request again and getting a supermajority in favor.

The dinner is scheduled for Nov. 15, leaving only two regular Senate meetings before it is set to take place.

Of the total request, $3,000 would cover the cost of food, while $4,800 would pay for professional videography services to capture the event.

In his memo, Kheireddine said one of the reasons he vetoed the request was the “seemingly unneeded and overly priced videography service that does not utilize or build a partnership with current communication and marketing programs here at USF, but rather seeks out an external vendor for a service that is a luxury, rather than a need.”

Kheireddine went on to write that the dinner does not provide any large-scale benefits to the student body as a whole and that, through funding the dinner, Student Government’s “words ring hollow” in regard to promoting fiscal responsibility to the student body, student organizations and Student Affairs departments.

Last semester, these organizations and departments received across-the-board budget cuts, which Kheireddine also mentioned in his memo.

The presenter of the original request, Senate President Pro Tempore Yousef Afifi, said he has been working to reduce the costs of videography, saying that an entity within the Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications quoted a cost of about $2,000 to film the dinner.   

At last Tuesday’s Senate meeting, senators initially in support appeared to have more opposition to the dinner, specifically the videography services after hearing the student response.

“The students have made it clear,” Sen. Yusuf Fattah said. “They want that number at zero, not 2,000. So, if it’s not zero, it’s a no from me.”

Sen. Salud Martinez said he personally asked Kheireddine to veto the request after seeing the student response on Facebook.

In his memo, Kheireddine maintained that he wanted to continue working with Senate to serve the student body.

“I look forward to working with the Student Government Senate and the various branches, bureaus and agencies of Student Government in an effort to create a long-term tradition that will benefit all members of Student Government and the Student Body in a positive, and financially responsible way, for the years to come,” Kheireddine wrote.