College authorizes internal audit of Student Activities

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April 30, 2010

5:04 AM

College of William and Mary Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D ’06 and Assistant Vice President of Student Activities Mark Constantine authorized an official internal audit of the Office of Student Activities Thursday.

“Trust is very important between my office and the Student Assembly and the senate,” Constantine said. “If an internal audit is a way to do that, OK.”

Constantine added that he hoped the audit would allow the SA and the Office of Student Activities to move forward, and to show that funds had not been misallocated.

The Consolidated Student Publications Reserve Fund, maintained by the Office of Student Activities, was subject to an independent student audit released last week.

In their final report, student auditors Taylor Porter ’11 and Leslie Lambert MBA ’10 indicated that unauthorized use of the CSP reserve fund had paid the wages of graduate assistants. It was also alleged that serious discrepancies existed between the Office of Student Activities’ day-to-day accounts and its official statements on Banner.

“I think everyone just wants to start off fresh,” SA President Chrissy Scott ’11 said. “This is just a way to clear the past and focus on where we want to go from here.”

The announcement of an internal audit comes two days after the passage of the Student Money Protection Act by the SA, which called for a review of the Office of Student Activities’ finances.

“I’m very grateful to the administration, under so much pressure, for authorizing this audit,” bill sponsor and former Sen. Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’10 said.

The bill, which passed the floor by a vote of 16-0-1, also censured Constantine for the alleged misuse of funds.

“I’m disappointed by the bill. I take pretty good pride in my work,” Constantine said. “I want to do nothing more than move forward and work with the Student Assembly.”

The alleged misuse occurred throughout both the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 academic years, during which CSP reserve funds were used to pay the wages of graduate assistants. For 2009-2010, Ambler authorized the use of the fund after checking with the College’s Internal Auditor Mike Stump, who confirmed that she had the right to use student activity funds.

Many members of the SA viewed the payments of wages as misuse because of the language in the Publications Council contract, which stipulates that only the Publications Council can authorize use of the fund.

“The passage of that bill concerns me greatly as Vice President for Student Affairs, primarily because it signals a regrettable lack of trust among student leaders for a member of my staff,” Ambler said in an e-mail. “To that end, Mr. Constantine has joined me in approaching Mr. Michael Stump, Director of Internal Audit, to request that his staff conduct an audit of the accounts in student activities. I expect that to be underway this summer, and I have no reason to believe that any irregularities will be found.”

The announcement of the audit was applauded by many within the SA, including former Chief of Staff Charles Crimmins J.D. ’10 and Scott.

“This is a positive step towards creating a positive working relationship for me and Vice President Ambler, [toward] figuring out what happened in the past to establish where we want to go from here,” Scott said.

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