GSB will vote on bylaws next week


Sen. Khayree Fitten discusses issues during the Government of the Student Body meeting Wednesday, Oct. 17. Discussion of the executive initiative account was put on hold for another week.

Charles O'Brien and Lissandra Villa

During the Government of the Student Body senate meeting Wednesday, a motion was called to override the veto by President Jared Knight, senior in political science, of the Executive Initiative Account’s bylaw change. The motion failed 7-27-0.

This bylaw change to the Executive Initiative Account, which placed restrictions on how the president of GSB can spend the account money, was passed during the senate meeting Wednesday, Oct. 10.

The account originally received attention from the senate when Finance Director Arjay Vander Velden, senior in computer engineering, pointed out that some of the bylaws [corrected from: purchases made with] that govern the account might not have been audit compliant. 

The purchases that had been made included drywall to create a conference room in the GSB office, art for the personal office of President Knight, and to front costs on two separate pizza purchases and an executive cabinet retreat.

Knight has since reimbursed the account for the art and pizza expenses.

Not all senators agreed that this was an appropriate use of the funds, which is how the bylaw change bill came about.

This bylaw change originally failed. After Vander Velden expressed concern on Oct. 10 that without stricter restrictions, the university auditing process could find the account not in audit compliance, the senate passed the bylaw change with the intention of returning to the issue the next week.

There are generalities for what audit compliance for a university account includes: segregation of duties, documentation of expenditures and following of bylaw procedures. What the definition of audit compliance for the Executive Initiative Account is, however, has not been easily determined.

“That we haven’t gotten clear answers on what will make the account audit compliant [makes things difficult],” said Sen. Daniel Rediske, a member of Finance Committee and senior in computer science. “I’ve never seen a list. And that is a huge problem when you’re trying to make something comply, but you don’t know what the requirements are; so you just do things.” Rediske was referring to the Oct. 10 bylaw change before the senate met on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

On Monday, Oct. 15, Knight vetoed the bylaw change, on the premise that he believed bylaw changes should not be passed as temporary solutions and that the account was already audit compliant.

During the senate’s Wednesday, Oct. 17 meeting, the Executive Initiative Account arose several times before its first read.

Sen. Lucas Gray attempted twice to call a motion to override Knight’s veto prior to the revised bylaw change bill.

When his motion was carried, it failed by a vote of 7-27-0, which meant that the account stood as it was before the senate met the previous Wednesday.

“I think a lot of senators were hung up on more of what they wanted and not what students wanted,” Gray said. “A lot of my constituents talked to me; we got e-mails, and nobody acknowledged that. Nobody seemed to care what their constituents thought.”

Members of the Rules and Finance Committees stated that the new revised bylaw change was a compromise between the committees and President Knight.

“On Monday, we were able to discuss the bill between the Rules and Finance Committees and President Knight. All three of us came to a compromise on the bylaw,” said Speaker of the Senate Gage Kensler, senior in political science.

The new bylaw change allows for a check and balance system on the president’s expenditure of the Executive Initiative Account by the finance director and the executive cabinet.

The senate failed a proposal to vote on the bylaw change at Wednesday’s senate meeting.

They were advised to take the week to review GSB’s bylaws and speak with their constituents on the matter.

“Constituents should ask of their senators, ‘How will this bill keep my money from being used in a way that I don’t see as being acceptable?’” Gray said.