Post Classifieds

Ready for the big time

By Matt Coniglio
On September 22, 2012

Earlier this month, the Student Government Association executive team of Seth Walsh, Kristin Sanfillipo and Matt Morefield SGA executives) announced, very quietly, that over the summer they had received food stipends with approval from their university advisor, Leah Busam Klenowski.
This doesn't sound so bad until you hear that the money
they received was taken from last year's unused Student
Activities Fee money. The other kicker is that the stipend technically is constituted as a pay raise. Furthermore, and most importantly, this stipend was not included in the SGA Senate's budget for the 2012-2013 school year.
That's right, the SGA executives gave themselves a pay raise while in office, using Xavier students' money meant
for uses that actually might benefit them and they didn't
get prior approval from the Senate for the transaction.
On Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, the SGA Senate voted 8-7 to
"give the executives $1,200 for an executive food stipend."
In President Seth Walsh's email to me last week, he stated that "Your elected Student Senate voted on Monday that our action was reasonable and that no further steps were necessary to rectify the situation." He also stated that "Student Senate had the power to decide necessary action, and therefore, we are standing by their decision."
Be serious, Seth. It's not like you SGA executives were suddenly going to be up in arms about the Senate joining the side of those who don't mind playing fast and loose with the SGA Constitution. And let's also be serious: the
budget is required to be voted on in advance. So technically,
the Senate was out of order by formally voting on the issue.
However, I would expect nothing less from a government
that operates like the one in Washington. What this all comes down to is our SGA executives, their advisor and the entirety of the Senate are either inept or corrupt. As Walsh and his band failed to realize (again), the SGA Constitution was written so that the leaders of our Student Government Association actually have to follow a set of rules. It mandates that the rate of executive's pay cannot change "during any one person's tenure in the same office."
I'm guessing that it didn't suddenly change since they took
office in April of this year. I'm struggling to figure out
how we blame our executives. Are they incompetent in performing the duties of their position? Have they committed actions that tend to discredit or reflect poorly on the Association? Did they even realize that I just quoted the very Constitution that they have seemed to not have read before? Are these all grounds for a swift and immediate firing by form of impeachment? Yes, yes, yes and another, yes. Our student elected leaders either took money from the students knowingly and figured that they could have Senate vote their way out of trouble or didn't even bother to think about questioning receiving a pay raise while in
office. It is beyond troubling to know that 10% of our
campus thought these three were actually responsible
enough to lead our student government for a
full school year. Moreover, we don't even get
to vote on their advisors (which includes Dustin
Lewis, Senate's advisor). As advisors to the executives
and Senate, it is their job to actually advise the executives. "With approval from our university advisor," as Walsh's email reads, the executives breached the Constitution.
How long has he even been here? Shouldn't he have been the first to recognize a problem? We can add Lewis and
Klenowski's names to the list of people at this institution who should have their jobs evaluated to decide if they are really the right person to move forward with. All I can say is that I'm glad I'm a senior. I urge the students to pretend
they actually care for a minute, and voice their displeasure about our four dear leaders that run our Student Government. I also urge the eight who sided with the
executives in the Senate to reconsider voting for corruption
andto actually do something about it. $1,200 is nothing in
our budget. Make the executives give the money back,
vote on whether they should have it, then let them show receipts for their food purchases this summer (alcohol does not count) and then reimburse them for their service to the student body. How hard is that? If nothing else, our student government, our Association executives and their advisor have shown a remarkable understanding of how to be expert politicians.


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