Citing a complete breakdown in communication, junior Andrew Goldie called for the resignation of Associated Student Government (ASG) vice president of student organizations Brian Wood at the group’s Tuesday meeting.
As vice president of management, Wood is responsible for doling out the $600,000 in funding that Miami University allocates to student organizations.
Goldie serves as treasurer for several student organizations including the Miami chapters of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). He claims that Wood failed to respond to several e-mails inquiring about funding hearings for his organizations.
“I’m a firm believer in giving people second chances and a fairly patient person,” Goldie said.
Goldie claims he eventually spoke personally with Wood, who promised that his organizations would receive the funding they requested. With this assurance, Goldie allowed his organizations to fall into debt with the expectation that the funding would soon come through.
Wood said that Goldie originally failed to meet a funding request deadline during the first funding cycle last semester. Later, when Goldie met with the funding committee during the current cycle, the committee granted the group nearly $9,000.
However, Wood said a wrench was thrown in the gears of the funding committee when it was found that Zeta Phi Beta, a National Panhellenic Council sorority, an organization that did meet the first funding cycle guidelines never received funding. Precedence went to the sorority, and the promised funds to IAJE and MENC weren’t given out immediately.
As of Tuesday, Goldie’s organizations still had not received the promised funding. Goldie said he feels that Wood’s actions reflect poorly on ASG as a whole.
“He is completely dragging down the credibility and the stature of the group,” Goldie said. “I know I’m not the only one who has had these problems. In February, they had this problem with several organizations that have slipped through the cracks for whatever reason.”
Jonathan McNabb, vice president of student organizations-elect, concurred that Goldie may have not filed an official funding request with ASG.
“The real question is whether Andrew actually submitted a real request or if he just had a funding hearing without an official request,” McNabb said. “In the next few days we’re going to sit down and go through all the requests and find his and try to get the situation resolved.”
Goldie admitted that he was never told about the funding request form on the ASG Web site, however he said he did fill it out on his own after several e-mails to Wood went unanswered.
McNabb said he hopes to get the situation cleared up quickly.
“We’re going to meet to find the requests by Friday to figure out whether he will get funding or not, and if so where the money will come from so that by Monday, Andrew will know where his funding will be,” McNabb said.
Wood stressed that the new funding will not come from ASG, but other resources such as the Parent’s Council, a national representation of Miami parents and students, among others. Any funding from ASG would be considered misallocated out-of-cycle and would cause a cutback in ASG’s current funding cycle.
McNabb also acknowledged that a limited number of other organizations, including Zeta Phi Beta, have had funding issues this year and explained that plans are underway to improve funding policies for next year.
Currently, funding requests are sent straight to Wood’s e-mail account, resulting in a flood of emails. McNabb explained that an e-mail could be overlooked very easily and next year’s system will include an automated database to manage funding requests and send e-mail confirmations to organizations that request funding.
“If we’re not catering to the needs of student organizations, providing them with the tools and funding they need to be successful as they can on Miami’s campus, then we’re not doing our job,” McNabb said. “We’re offering training sessions for organization officers and treasurers at the beginning of next year … so we can try to clear the air about taking the mystery out of what funding is.”
With only one student senate meeting left in the 2007-08 school year, Wood, who was not elected to his same position next year, will not likely leave office before the imminent end of his term.
“Ultimately it is our duty, first and foremost, that we are doing things that are fiscally responsible for the majority,” Wood said. “I’m sorry it happened, but we had to follow our guidelines, and we are doing the best we can to help two groups out that may not have followed those guidelines.”
Additional reporting by Dave Matthews