SGA owes over $1,000 in reimbursements

By on June 14, 2019

The Student Government Association owes at least $1,151.09 in reimbursements to leaders of various student organizations, from requests dating back to late March 2019, according to reimbursement requests obtained by The Chronicle, violating SGA bylaws.

Student organization leaders often make purchases out of pocket rather than go through the process of getting the lone SGA credit card. They then file the purchases for reimbursement in two to four weeks in accordance with Article IV, Section 5.3 of the SGA bylaws, but many leaders have been waiting for their money for months.

Reyna Villar
Women Empowered President and Multicultural Leadership Council Vice President for Finance Reyna Villar, who says she is owed $268.88 from a request done on April 17, described a lack of communication from SGA.

“I’ve emailed [SGA VP for Finance] Glenn Adams about four times about [my reimbursement request] and I haven’t received any information regarding it,” Villar said. “I would have hoped that with a new person in the position, things would be different but they are not, and it’s frustrating. I don’t have money to just throw around like I’m suffering because I’m missing $270.”

SGA has only one credit card for all student organizations, and is often reserved weeks in advance. Online orders require a meeting with the Finance Committee during their office hours. The SGA Constitution only requires the Finance Committee to hold office hours for 10 hours every month. SGA President Austin Calvo said that members often sat in for an hour each per week as a practice. There are five total members on the committee. The VP for Finance is also required to hold office hours for an additional 10 hours.

As a result, leaders often have to use their own credit or money to help put on events. They then file for reimbursement.

Leaders of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Italian Cultural Society and Women Empowered all have one or more members who have come forward and made complaints to The Chronicle about the process. They were able to confirm the amounts owed with receipts and bank statements.

These leaders also mentioned other organizations having the same problem but these organizations did not respond to the Chronicle’s inquiries..

A common thread of complaints has been against former VP for Finance John Killah and current VP for Finance Glenn Adams.

Leaders of these organizations called out the VP for Finances by name and said despite constant emails and in person meetings requesting updates, they never received a tangible update or timeline. They have only been told that the money is coming, but leaders have grown frustrated as the weeks have stretched into months. SGA finance policy states that reimbursements will be issued in two to four weeks.

“I wouldn’t even be mad if they responded and gave me updates but instead they have people sitting around wondering what is going on,” Villar said. “People wouldn’t get on their case about if they just communicated. It is such a simple thing yet they make it harder than it needs to be and that’s the annoying part about the whole situation.”

Leaders have received minimum contact from SGA. According to organization leaders, some have not received any direct responses and have only received a mass email sent to all student organizations on May 15 from Adams.

The email says in its final paragraph that “Also, if yourself or some in your organization is missing a reimbursement please send [Glenn Adams] a final reminder, if you have already spoken to me about a reimbursement or issue it is probably being processed or handled, but if you wish to send me another reminder that is fine.”

The long delay on reimbursements has been a year-long issue for SGA. Villar was reimbursed twice before. The first reimbursement was filed on the first week of September and was not approved and repaid until Thanksgiving break.

SGA President Austin Calvo has asked for patience regarding this matter. He said that SGA had not been aware of many of the issues due to former VP for Finance John Killah, who Calvo says did not make his government aware of the issue during the transition period.

“I think that it’s not fair to put this on Glenn because rather than starting at point 0, he had to start at point -100,” Calvo said. “He started with a backlog of things that wasn’t his fault. He’s a student too, he had finals and other stuff going on. He then also had to be doing all the stuff he had to be doing as VP for Finance as well as the stuff that he had to catch up on from the previous year. It’s now even harder because he’s not here and we have to get people their money.”

Calvo said he understands the pain the leaders are going through.

“You want your money back,” Calvo said. “I would feel the same way if I was on the other end. I hope this isn’t a representation of what we can do this year. I will be sure to be on Glenn to make sure this gets done. I think it goes back to communication which I swore to be better this year.”

Calvo then ensured that all students would receive their reimbursements as soon as possible.

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