Flames of The Torch: Transparency in SGI, seriously

After 85 days of pestering Student Government, Inc., the Torch has finally seen its budget. Sort of.

SGI’s “financial report,” a broad overview of its revenues and expenses, doesn’t go into enough detail for our tastes, especially when it comes to student organizations. However, it’s tough to assign too much blame to the e-board — the decision not to reveal budgets for specific organizations came from a vote by the floor, apparently worried that their finances weren’t ready for scrutiny.

That raises several other questions, especially about what student organizations are spending their money on. But as far as the SGI hierarchy, with whom we’ve had some tussles with this semester, goes, it appears their biggest flaw in the process of producing the financial report was not necessarily a lack of transparency, but a failure to communicate.

Yesterday, in a half-hour interview with several members of the e-board, Vice President Oscar Diaz and Secretary Elizabeth Sheehan, among others, patiently went into full detail about why the process took so long, while Elaine Vasquez, the treasurer, gave us a complete timeline of how the budget went from a spreadsheet that was very much a rough draft to the polished, professional-looking document released this week.

It begs the question — why didn’t this happen sooner? We’d bombarded SGI with emails, receiving only vague promises from President Christian Williams of the report being issued soon. It made us justifiably suspicious that something suspicious was going on.

If we’d heard any of the explanations we heard yesterday, it would have given us a very different view of the organization. But we didn’t — which is why we didn’t give them the benefit of the doubt when it took so long to release it.

We’re convinced by their explanation — that the voting process dragged everything out — we just wish we would have heard it sooner.