SGA donates to Santa fund despite opposition
Published: Thursday, December 9, 2010
Updated: Thursday, December 9, 2010 21:12
There was a lot of opposition toward donating $1000 to the Santa Fund charity during this week's Student Government Association meeting.
Representative for the Student Investment group Andrew Chapin made the request on the behalf of Bob McCabe, saying that the charity benefits a lot of community members, and is a good way for students to give back.
"It helps provide toys and gifts and spreading holiday cheer to needy families in the area," he said. "Traditionally, the Lyndon SGA gives $1000 to $1500 to help finance the purchase of these gifts."
This request did not sit well to students who felt that the general fund, which is made up of student activity fees, should not be used to benefit things that do not involve the college.
"This is not me saying that the Santa Fund is not a great, reputable, charitable organization," vice president of communications Justin Chenette said. "This is not against children. This is a strictly fiscal responsibility issue. We as a body have to recognize what are our priorities here? Are we here to represent students, or are we here to create a PR environment for the school?"
Chenette added that Alpha Lamda Delta is currently holding a fundraiser for the Santa Fund that would be a good alternative to granting Chapin's request. He also mentioned the library not being able to stay open on Saturdays, although the SGA general fund is not directly related to that.
President of the SGA John Kleinhans disagreed.
"I really like this because it's giving back to the community that gives to us every single year," he said. "They've been here for us, we're here for them."
"I find it very sad to me, John, that you would say that publicly when in our conversations that we've had, you don't support it," Chenette said. Kleinhans responded that their private conversation took place a week ago, and he has changed his opinion on the request since then.
First year elected representative Dan Weiner said he would rather cut back on library time if it meant helping out children in poverty.
"But that's just my feeling. I'm a human being," he said. Chenette immediately jumped in to respond.
"You could look at me while I'm talking to you," he said to Weiner. "I'm a human being as well, and this is not an emotional issue. This is a financial issue."
Several representatives, including Jack Carney of the Society of Professional Journalists, felt that the money should not come out of the general fund, but out of fundraising instead.
"If we're going to do PR, it should come from the students, not the general fund," Carney said.
The motion to give $1000 to the Santa Fund passed in the end.
The Santa Fund was not the only topic to draw controversy this week. Financial controller of the SGA Miranda Bushey resigned from her position and did not attend the meeting Wednesday night. Instead, Kleinhans explained that due to time management issues, she would not be returning. To see more about this, read the story below.
The entire executive board of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) came forward to ask the SGA executive board why procedures did not begin when clubs were allegedly suspected of being in debt. The allegations were made by former administrative vice president Chris Shadrock in a petition he has been circulating, asking for the impeachment of both Kleinhans and vice president Rachel Keller.
President of AMS Sam Couture explained that the club was found to be in debt last year, and worked through the process to get out. She was concerned that, if the allegations are true, other clubs are not being handled the same way.
"We're not here to point fingers. We just want to question why the constitution was not followed," she said.
Kleinhans explained that when he and Keller took office, there were issues between the college's numbers and the SGA's.
"It's a petition, and therefore it's not fact that the constitution was not followed. When we took office, the financial house upstairs of the entire college…their books were not in line. When that problem is fixed and figured out, all the proper procedures will take place," he said. "That's what we're working on right now. Everything is going to be straightened out."
"That member of our executive board wasn't necessarily privy to all of the meetings we have had with other clubs," Keller added. "We have sat down with the clubs, he or you are referring to, and we have taken the appropriate steps."
"The allegations about me, and about Rachel, although they are separate allegations, are not true," Kleinhans said.