According to the AAS constitution, a complaint regarding fund-allocation can only be submitted during the semester in which funds were denied, or in the first week of the following semester. “If [the snowboarding club] can find evidence that they couldn’t file the complaint last semester, we can evaluate their complaint now,” said Andre Deckrow ’06, chair of the JC. As a result of this late submission by the snowboarding club, the JC could not hold a hearing in this case, according to Deckrow.
“The biggest obstacle in sorting this case out was the perception that the complaint was an attack on an individual as opposed to what it should be, which is a dispute over a specific decision,” said Deckrow. “This translated into a very confrontational attitude which made it excruciatingly hard to gather all of the necessary facts.”
Last spring, the snowboarding club submitted its request for funds to the budgetary committee (BC). At the time, the snowboarding club, according to its official budget request, asked for funds to “subsidize the purchase of lift tickets so that more people can take advantage of our club’s resources.” The budget said this would “give a broader base of people the chance to get involved in the club and in our sport.” This budget request was approved by the AAS.
Later in the semester, the snowboarding club presented the BC with three receipts for $300 each. Each receipt was for a season pass to a ski resort. Wallace refused to recognize these season passes as costs that were reflective of the snowboarding club’s initial budget request, which stated that the funds would help more people. Consequently, snowboarding club members had to pay for the passes themselves.
“I can certainly empathize with them, but that wasn’t what the money was given for,” said Wallace. He reasoned that three passes for three persons to a ski resort was not what the snowboarding club had requested in order to expand their membership. According to Wallace, so few passes can hardly broaden the membership base of the club.
President of the snowboarding club Catherine Itaya ’04 believes that the three season passes were legitimate expenses covered under the club’s budget. “The BC allocated $900 in appeals to the club for the specific purchase of financial assistance for riding, as it is detailed in the budget,” said Itaya. “This allocation was to cover the purchase of any single lift tickets as well as season passes which could be accounted for at the end of the semester with receipts, according to the former president who was present at appeals.”
According to Wallace, there are usually few complaints on his and the budgetary committee’s decisions.
“I was elected to protect the student government and the student body from individuals trying to take advantage of the budgetary system,” said Wallace. “Some requests get turned down. It is up to my discretion to make sure that those checks are going where they should be going,” he said.
BC member A.J. Korytoski ’04 supports Wallace and his decision. “The BC is one of the only bodies by which clubs are monitored. Subsequently, clubs need to be held accountable for inappropriate use of funding allocations,” he said. “This is not to say that the snowboarding club was not using funds responsibly; this is to say that Paris had enough reason to believe that these allocations were inappropriate.”
The snowboarding club did not file their complaint regarding Wallace’s decision immediately after he informed them of it. “In truth, I didn’t inform [the snowboarding club] that they can file a complaint. It was up to them to bring this up,” he said. “They should have known that they have a right to complain.”
Wallace criticized the way the JC handled the complaint. “It was unfair to both me and the president of the snowboarding club,” said Wallace. According to Wallace, the constitution states that the JC must determine whether a complaint warrants a hearing within 48 hours of the time the complaint is filed. If the JC decides to hold a hearing, the chair must inform all parties within this time as well. “[The JC] didn’t notify me within 48 hours of the complaint,” said Wallace.
“I realized the error that was made and I took full responsibility for my actions,” said Deckrow. “I told both parties of the complaint and that if they were unhappy they could approach the senate to hold me accountable.”
Wallace did not bring the matter up at Monday’s senate meeting.
The constitution dictates that once the JC decides to hold a hearing, it must be held no more than a week after the date of the decision. The JC scheduled the snowboarding club’s hearing for after the first week. “I was surprised at how they blatantly disregarded their own constitution,” said Wallace.
After Wallace reminded the JC that the time limit for filing a complaint had passed, the council cancelled the hearing. “The JC seemed very unorganized to say the least,” said Wallace. “They told [Itaya] that she was going to have her day in court, and then they just cancelled.” Wallace said these events will not impact future budget decisions.
“[Itaya] got worked around, and I got worked around,” added Wallace.”I apologized [to Itaya] for the JC’s treatment of the matter.” Wallace also informed Itaya that “[these events] will in no way impact future budget decisions. I hope to help them next year,” he said.