An annual external audit of UCSB’s Associated Students revealed potential embezzlement within the organization during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
The written report given to A.S. Legislative Council members on Tuesday indicated a possible misappropriation of an undisclosed amount of A.S. funds by an employee within the organization. However, the auditors’ presentation at the Legislative Council meeting last night failed to include any verbal mention of fraud.
The review of A.S. financial statements from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 by public accounting firm Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co., LLP showed extensive growth within the organization since 2009. Net assets increased $373,634 since 2009 to $4,284,517 in 2010, with total assets listed at $4,434,049 due to $149,532 in total current liabilities.
Total revenues and gains increased more than $70,000 from $10,958,473 in 2009 to $11,032,165 in 2010 while total expenses and losses increased nearly $515,000 from $10,143,921 in 2009 to $10,658,531 in 2010. The increased expenses were composed primarily of a $208,684 boost in staff salaries and an additional $223,870 in university support.
The majority of A.S. revenue is generated through lock-in fees and sales of services and products such as the A.S. Bike Shop and other programs. In 2006, students voted to increase the A.S. lock-in fee referendum by $100 per quarter, effectively tripling student contributions to the organization.
According to Mark Jackson, who presented on behalf of the auditors, nearly all of A.S. funding comes from this fee. In 2010, 91 percent of A.S.’s revenue came from the student lock-in fee.
After the audit presentation, council members made numerous amendments to the Elections Committee Modifications Bill that governs campus elections to clarify points within the bill including endorsements and jurisdiction over elections.
Off-campus representative Joe Lewis said the bill’s language needs clarification so current elected officials can not use their current position to influence voter opinion.
“I think we should change the wording about endorsements to deliberately using your title to endorse a candidate,” Lewis said.
The council passed an amendment stating no money allocated by A.S. to any special interest, registered groups or appointed officers either fully or partially funded by A.S. can be used in endorsements.
The council also argued over consequences for breaking endorsement restrictions. As originally written, elected officials lose honoraria if they break endorsement guidelines and executive officers lose spring quarter tuition as well.
Representative-at-large Chloe Stryker said the bill should specify which entity possesses jurisdiction to rule on violations of elections policy.
“I think we need to follow the legal code to avoid Judicial Council hearings,” Stryker said. “It’s just too hard to give [elections committee] all power the entire year and not known when Leg Council has power.”
Off-campus representative Amanda Berry said elections committee had too much control in the decision.
“I don’t think it’s fair for elections committee, which has so few people, to be able to take away an exec’s entire tuition and their honoraria,” Berry said.
Elections committee chair Sunjeet Gill said the committee’s recommendations were based on prior experience.
“It’s not ok for you to be a leader on campus and break the rules and just pay a fee for that,” Gill said. “We want people to be afraid of breaking rules; that’s why we put it into effect. This is like a concrete punishment.”