Official review under way

Bryan Cole / The Collegian

University officials and members of ASI Senate are reviewing documents

The university is examining financial documents to determine whether or not ASI President Mackee M. Mason misused student funds.

Cynthia Teniente-Matson, vice president for administration and chief financial officer, is reviewing ASI documents including credit card receipts and expense forms, according to Paul Oliaro, Ph.D., vice president of student affairs.

“The university has obligations to make sure funds are being properly spent,” Oliaro told The Collegian on Thursday.

Oliaro announced at the ASI Senate meeting Wednesday that no fraud or theft has been found up to this point. He said in a phone interview Thursday that the documents are still being reviewed by Teniente-Matson and that all policies have been followed.

Teniente-Matson is out of her office until Monday and cannot be reached for comment.

Oliaro said Thursday the ASI Senate will also look at the documents and take action if needed.

Lauren Johnson, vice president of finance and elected spokesperson for the ASI Senate, said that the documents are being compiled for review.

An ad hoc committee consisting of some members of the Senate and some people outside of ASI, including financial experts, will conduct the review, Johnson said.

“A thorough review will be done,” Johnson said. “They will be examined from year to year to compare spending patterns.”

Johnson said the Senate is reviewing ASI credit card policies. Because of the ambiguous wording in the policy, Johnson said, the Senate may no longer issue ASI credit cards.

“Whether or not we want to keep credit cards is up in the air,” Johnson said.

Johnson said ASI has made mistakes, adding that the Senate is doing everything it can to rectify the situation.

The ASI Senate has put Mason and Sandra Flores, ASI executive vice president, on probation for violating the “substance free pledge” while on an ASI leadership retreat in Southern California in July.

The terms of the probation consist of indefinite freezing of their executive credit cards and immediate dismissal by the Senate if Mason or Flores violate any other bylaws.

“This is a temporary solution at the very least, until the Senate gets more information,” Johnson said.

Bryan Cole / The Collegian

Although Johnson was unable to specify which members of ASI attended the retreat in July where underage drinking took place, she said that there were 15 members in attendance.

Johnson did not attend the ASI retreat because she was attending to family matters.

Even though Johnson was not at the retreat, the Senate felt she was the best person to represent them regarding the situation, she said.

“I had known about the allegations before the majority of the Senate,” Johnson said. “They felt I had adequate background and felt comfortable enough talking about the situation.”

The names of the underage ASI members who consumed alcohol during the ASI retreat have not been disclosed to anyone, including the Senate, Johnson said.

To her knowledge, the only people who might know the identity of those in attendance are Carolyn Coon, Ph.D., assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students, and Gary Nelson, student activities adviser.

Johnson said the names have not been disclosed because of student confidentiality rules. She also said that the names will be released eventually and the Senate will then take appropriate action.

In accordance to the ASI Code of Conduct, if an ASI member is not of legal drinking age, he or she must refrain from alcohol consumption while attending school-related or ASI-sponsored events.

If this code, or any other, is violated, section 11 of the ASI Code of Conduct states that the “status of any member who acts in violation of any section of this code will automatically be put to a vote of the Senate upon receiving one week prior notice.”

The code goes on to say that “if two-thirds of the senators then in office vote in the affirmative that the member did, in fact, violate this code, he or she shall be immediately removed from office.”

Although no further action was taken at Wednesday’s ASI meeting, a closed session was held to discuss the situation.

Johnson said that since the closed session was called during the meeting, no action was made, in accordance to procedures.

The Senate will not make any other decisions regarding Mason and Flores until the next ASI meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 1. Johnson said that there will likely be a special meeting called before then to discuss the matter.

“I know that the Senate is deeply considering the issue with their constituencies in mind,” Johnson said.

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