The Student Assembly Review Board voted against hearing a case filed by sophomore Cliff Dunn — who formerly worked within the SA executive’s Finance Department — against SA President senior Ryan Scofield and his secretary of finance, senior Bradley Justus.
p. The case was largely symbolic, as the Review Board has no punishment powers, and resulted from conflicting interpretations of SA procedures: what Dunn considered robbery, the Scofield administration considered standard operating procedure, causing a dispute about whether precedent can trump SA rules when allocating money to student organizations.
p. Until recently, the SA code said that presidents cannot allocate more than $750 from the speakers fund, campus events fund, multi-cultural event fund, new event initiative fund or conference fund without approval from the Executive Appropriations Committee. The code was amended by the Student Organizational Funding Act II, which allows presidents to allocate up to $3,000 without approval from the senate.
p. Before the amendment, Scofield routinely allocated more than $750 to student organizations. Justus said the administration was following a precedent set three years ago by former SA President Brian Cannon, under whom the finance code was written.
p. “[The senate] let the precedent ride instead of the unusable code,” Justus said, noting that it was widely known that the administration did not adhere to the rules. “Anybody who’s in favor of an SA that’s actually responsive to students … has to see this as a code that hinders the SA’s ability to help the students.”
He added that Dunn never approached anyone about the issue before filing the case.
p. Dunn, who is currently running for SA senate, said he decided not to talk to anyone about his concerns because Scofield and Justus had previously ignored his other unrelated complaints. He filed the case and sent them a letter of resignation from his position within the Finance Department, to which Scofield replied: “Unfortunately, neither Bradley nor I are prepared to accept your resignation. But I can offer you this … you’re fired. Thanks for nothing, Ryan.”
p. Scofield said he was angry with Dunn for filing the case without discussing the issue with him.
p. “He was very unprofessional, personally hurtful and cowardly in his actions,” Scofield said. “Frankly, he was wasting everyone’s time in a futile effort to make a name for himself in light of the upcoming general elections. He used to meet weekly with Bradley and had regular access to me if he ever had a problem with anything.”
p. Dunn said he filed the case to bring the issue to the public eye. “It seems like we have these rules for a reason. One would think there’s a reason behind them,” he said. “They’ve been robbing the bank for a while, and they need to stop it.”
p. Dunn also expressed concerns about the potential for the president to break the current limit of $3,000, since he was breaking the previous limit.
p. Justus responded by saying that the senate chose not to enforce the $750 limit because it was unreasonable, but now they would be willing to enforce the $3,000 limit.
p. SA Senators Walter McClean and Matt Beato, both sophomores, sponsored the Student Organizational Funding Act II in order to end the inconsistency between how much the code says can be allocated by the president and how much actually is allocated.
p. The bill says that the $750 limit has become outdated and unrealistic.
p. In a statement submitted by Scofield and Justus to the Review Board — which issued a statement Friday saying it found insufficient reason to hear the case — they said that the senate had already solved the problem through legislation that incorporates the precedent into the code.
p. “The senate took the high road and rather than bring a case, they changed the legislation — a much more appropriate, professional and responsible approach to resolving problems at this level of student government,” Scofield said.