By Amanda Alfanos, Editor-in-Chief
Student senators violated their own constitution Tuesday when they spent more money than they have.
Senate Bill 028 allotted $2,150 to Oklahoma Wizards League (OWL) for the organization’s annual Hogwarts Hoot-enanny: A Wizard Rock Charity Ball. The event will be hosted in February. Student Senate only had about $1,000 left in rolling appropriations for the semester when the bill was funded.
“Only OCU-SGA monies which have been allocated through the OCU-SGA budget, organizational allotments, or Senate legislation and approved by the Senate may be spent unless provided for elsewhere in the constitution or by-laws,” according to Section II of Article VII of the SGA constitution.
Budgets for next semester have not yet been determined, said Justin DaMetz, president of Student Senate. The budget will be voted on by senators during the first meeting of next semester, he said.
Senators questioned the validity of funding the bill with next semester’s prospective monies during Tuesday’s meeting.
Sen. Sarah Cook (Greek/president pro-tempore) broke Robert Rules of Order and said funding of the bill was “shady.”
DaMetz said he didn’t think it was “shady,” because it had been done in the past.
Both DaMetz and Sen. Andrew Long (senior-at-large) and author of the bill, did not know what similar procedures previously had been performed.
“I talked to someone that was in Senate last year and they said ‘Oh no, you can do that,’” Long said. “I had no idea what it was.
“It’s been done more than once maybe.”
In 2008, Jeff Riles, SGA president, spent funds that had not been allotted or approved by the Senate. He was privately reprimanded by Student Senate for improperly using funds, one of SGA’s grounds for impeachment, according to Section 5 in Article VI the SGA constituition. Student Life officials loaned Riles the money and senators amended the SGA constitution in Fall 2008 to allow for executive cabinet members to make emergency expenditures, according to Student Publications archives.
DaMetz said the funding should go through because he doesn’t plan to present the bill to Dee Llanusa, coordinator of student activities, until next semester.
“Technically, it’s our money, so we can do what we want with it,” said Sen. David Scott (business), during Tuesday’s meeting.
Sen. John Davis (graduate/law-at-large) said Student Senate needs to develop new polices in how to fund events happening at the beginning of the semester.
“Based on the laws we have in place and the precedent, I think it was handled correctly,” he said. “But I also think that perhaps there might be a void in the system.”
“It’s something we need to look at. If you look at accounting standards, there’s a matching principle that says we’re not allowed to record expenditures in a particular quarter or a particular month that weren’t incurred during that time.”
Sen. Long said he had to present the bill during Tuesday’s meeting.
“OWL is a nonprofit organization and they could potentially be in a bind if they didn’t know their amount of funding until the middle of January,” he said.