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Class of 2006 Overspends, Triggers Audit

Class Name
Beth Maclin

By Beth Maclin

BOSTON (March 2) — The Class of 2006 spent $7,000 on Senior Week events without being allocated the money by the Student Finance Board, causing the other 15 permanent members of the Student Government Association to be audited but not cutting into the funds promised to them, SGA e-board officers said this week.

"Early in the year I had budgeted an estimated amount of money that would be used for Senior Week," said SGA Treasurer Katie England. "While the actual amount used is more than what I had estimated, there is still money remaining for other organizations."

Senior Week usually has a budget of $25,000. This year, the senior class spent around $32,000, according to SGA Student Affairs Officer Laura Nelson.

"The class of 2006 has been planning their senior week and reached the point that contracts needed to be signed to ensure that they will get the venues they want," said England. "The appropriate measure would have been for them to have requested the money for Senior Week the previous month and then have the contracts signed. What happened is that the contracts were signed, and then the money was requested, which did not give the SFB much choice in their allocation decision."

"Simmons can't pull out of the contracts because they are lawfully bound to them," Nelson said. "We want to preserve our name and our relationship with the vendors because there are places that we use a lot."

"There are so many events that happen every year, like Senior Week, that are going to happen in many ways, whether the SFB, you know, how strict they feel about giving money out," she added.

The organization hands in a packet by a certain date, where explanations for all intended purchases are written. In order for SFB to allocate the money, details for all expenses are needed. "For example, for an event, you would list exactly what you were going to spend the money on, what food, what invitation, everything," said Nelson.

"The SGA E-board found out that [the class of 2006] had retroactively entered into some contracts. That is they had signed a contract with an event vendor before they had requested the money from the Student Finance Board," Nelson said.

At the Feb. 15 SGA meeting, Nelson announced that the Student Activities Advisory and Review Board (SAARB), which she chairs, will audit student organizations over the course of this semester. Because of the actions of the senior class, SAARB will review members of student government in terms of finances and organization activity.

"I just felt that this is everyone's money, and it was quite bit more than what had been used in the past, retroactively," Nelson said.

"The money that the SFB allocates is from a Student Activities account," England said. "We as a group have been allocating money from this account for all organizations."

To replace the excess money they senior class spent, they will charge for Senior Week events, said Class of 2006 treasurer Sara Moore.

"In March, we will be selling tickets to many of our Senior Week activities, including the Commencement Ball, trips to Finale and Maggianos, and Duck Tours," said Moore. "The proceeds of the tickets will go back to Student Activities and then can be redistributed to other organizations."

"We're looking at financial statements as one thing, but we're also looking at, Do you meet regularly?" Nelson said, "Do you follow the bylaws of what an organization is supposed to do? We're sort of just trying to do a little cleanup around the edges."

"The Class of 2006 is not the cause of all organizations going on review. This is something that SGA had previously discussed as a way to get SAARB more active," England said.

"We came up with this idea to review the 16 permanent voting members of Senate, and one of the main motivations that we had, that I had, was to bring transparency between organizations," Nelson said. "I feel like different organizations may not know what other organizations are doing."

Said Moore: "At our SAARB review, it was decided that we should create a handbook about planning and organizing Senior Week events for next year's class. The handbook will include tips and advice on how to better prepare for these events and also to have stronger communication. Our hope is that other senior classes will be better informed and have stronger guidelines to follow."

England, who serves as chair of SFB, said that next year the group will be changing guidelines for money allocations and training that all organizations have to complete.