TSG amends constitution to alter spending process

An online poll is available for general assembly members to vote. | Bradley Vassallo TTN
An online poll is available for general assembly members to vote. | Bradley Vassallo TTN
An online poll is available for general assembly members to vote. | Bradley Vassallo TTN
An online poll is available for general assembly members to vote. | Bradley Vassallo TTN

Temple Student Government is in the final process of amending Article 2, Section 3 of the current constitution. Under that provision, TSG officers need to receive approval from the general assembly to use funds.

Proposed in September and finalized in November, the new amendment will allow TSG officers to use funds without the approval of the general assembly.

“The main reason for the change is because of the summertime,” General Auditor Camille Bell said. “No one is here during that time of the year and when no one is here, there is no one to approve the funds.”

Such changes will allow TSG officers to pay for things that they deem necessary.

“This amendment gives the officers a little flexibility,” Tykee James, speaker of the general assembly, said. “It isn’t practical to have a GA over the summer. Before, we needed approval to buy things like office supplies. We need to be able to use the funds we need without the assembly signing off.”

“For example over the summer [Student Body President] Ray [Smeriglio] and [Vice President of Services] Blair [Alston] went to the White House for a committee on sexual harassment with the First Lady’s chief of staff,” James added. “We needed TSG to approve funding for the trip.”

Bell made the constitutional change after Director of Student Activities Chris Carey, who advises the organization, brought the document to her attention. It was last amended on April 7, 2011, something Bell decided needed to be addressed.

“All documents need to be updated yearly,” Bell said. “The constitution wasn’t touched in three years and was kind of left on the backburner.”

After reviewing the document and noting what needed to be changed and updated, Bell said she sat down with Smeriglio, both vice presidents, Chief of Staff Evan Feinstein, Carey, and other officers to discuss her proposed changes.

Originally to be introduced in the beginning of the semester, it was put on hold due to the first Monday of the semester being the first day of school,  the second Monday being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the cancellation  of evening classes on Jan. 26.

All amendment changes must be approved by two-thirds of the general assembly consisting of 100 students.

Bell and James said they don’t foresee any setbacks or potential backlash from the general assembly when the officers bring the new amendment in front of it.

“We haven’t had a lot of backlash, any really,” James said. “Carey still has a lot of oversight with the finances. We use our money for the students, so I don’t know if it’s always in the interest of the GA to know. Do they really need to know or care that we buy things like scissors?”

Bell maintains that there will still be transparency with the TSG officers’ budget if the amendment passes.

“We still let everyone know what we are doing with our funds,” she said. “As an organization we still have our own budget, so it shouldn’t be an issue.”

David Glovach can be reached david.glovach@temple.edu or on Twitter @DavidGlovach

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