Friday, October 20, 2006

Student Association ‘temporarily disbanded’


When Student Association Legislative Affairs director Kyle Duerstein went to open the SA office this morning, he was greeted by a sticker that said “evidence” and new locks on the door.

Further, interim vice chancellor of Student Affairs Jim Hill, had a note on the door:
“Although you indicated that the Student Association plans to pursue its own audit, to date, you have refused to provide the University access to these records. Therefore, pursuant to UW System Policy F20, I am temporarily suspending the Student Association’s continued access to SUF support and/or use of University facilities, including the Student Association offices and computers.”

SA president Samantha Prahl said she was outraged at the university's audacity.

“The administration has temporarily disbanded the Student Association,” Prahl said. “They’ve eliminated the student voice on this campus.”

An Oct. 20 letter to Prahl, Hill said that, "Chancellor Santiago requested that you direct appropriate Student Association officers to make available to UWM Auditor Paul Rediske and UW System Auditors Tou Her and Zach Simba any and all financial records of the Student Association, pursuant to UW System Financial Administration Policy F20."

Those records included, but were not limited to, records of expenditures and receipts, external checking account and savings account records, UWM financial account records, invoices, records of SA actions approving expenditures and SA financial policies and procedures.

"I refuse to set such a dangerous precedent," Prahl said.

Rediske, Hill and Prahl were scheduled to meet Monday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.

However, Prahl and the SA have obtained legal representation and cancelled the meeting.

Prahl said that she had to cancel her plans to attend a UW System presidents' meeting today in light of the administration’s course of action.

On Oct. 18, Prahl wrote to Rediske her and the SA’s position clear.

“It is my intention, and the intention of the Student Association, to work with the university administration to conduct an audit of our financial accounts that is both just and preserves the integrity of an independent association,” Prahl wrote. “A very dangerous precedent is established when an independent association is subject to unbridled intervention by a co-equal in university governance.”

Now, the SA office is open, but all files and records have been removed from it.


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