The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Flames of The Torch: Transparency in SGI, part II

Two weeks have passed since Student Government, Inc. unanimously passed its $1.14 million budget for the 2012/13 school year, and we at the Torch are still in the dark about what it contains.

For the last two weeks, our inquiries have been ignored, delayed or deflected, calling into question the new e-board’s pledge for greater transparency in the organization.

Red tape is no longer the issue, and members of previous boards have assured us that there is no reason for the full budget to be under lock and key. SGI’s new administrative liaison, Danny Trujillo, has rightly claimed no authority to release the budget, and SGI President Christian Williams has failed to give any real reasons for why the organization he leads should be able to play with our money in secret.

The Torch has no dog in this fight. We are independent from the University —accepting no SGI funds, buying our computers, cameras, even our printer paper with our own money raised through advertising. Our only wish is that every organization, student, professor and administrator be able to view a publicly available budget.

Two weeks is too long to reveal it. In fact, the budget should have been posted before it was passed, to allow public comment and debate.  We gave the new board the benefit of the doubt then, after assurances from Williams that the full ledger would be available for us to see soon.

That was on Sept. 11. It’s now Sept. 26, and we still have no idea what the majority of our activity fee is going to be spent on. This is democracy at its most dysfunctional — no, it is not democracy at all. SGI is doing a disservice to its constituents by hiding what it is doing with their money.

Release the budget. It’s the right thing to do.

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