Lacking oversight

CAMPUS ISSUES: The failure of officials to form an oversight committee for millions of dollars of student fees is troublesome.

When students approved of a fee in spring 2010 to be spent to renovate Lower Sproul Plaza, they did so with the understanding that a committee would oversee the funding. But this committee was not formed for more than a year since the fee was implemented, during which the campus was projected to have collected $1.6 million toward the project.

The campus is only now starting to get its act together to create the committee, which will be charged with overseeing the spending of the student funds as well as recommending whether to raise or lower the semesterly fee.

We are extremely disappointed at this inexcusable delay. It is irresponsible for the campus to collect students’ money without following through with the expectation of oversight, and this certainly does not bode well for a project that is expected to continue over the next several decades.

Student government officials held up their end of the plan by submitting names for the committee, but administrators did not respond in a timely manner. Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Erin Gore took “full responsibility” for the delay, stating that she had been working long hours and had been concentrating on other aspects of the renovation project.

Beyond the flaws evident in campus officials’ handling — or failure to handle — the formation of the oversight committee, we are also dissatisfied that our student government officials did not adequately bring this matter to the attention of the rest of the student body. They are supposed to represent the interests of the students, but instead kept their concerns largely to themselves.

Furthermore, most of the students that have been named to sit on the committee already hold elected offices — ASUC President Vishalli Loomba, for example — and we question whether they have sufficient time to fully devote themselves to their duties on the committee. Student government officials should have selected other students who represent the student body and who would have been able to completely dedicate themselves to the task at hand — ensuring that student fees are spent properly and are kept at reasonable levels.

When millions of dollars from students’ wallets are at stake, we would hope that such a significant undertaking would be taken more seriously.