Following the discovery of $36,000 in fraudulent funding requests, a University of California, Los Angele student representative has resigned from her post.
Sanobar Sajan resigned on Sunday following an investigation conducted by other UCLA student representatives. In December, the University Students Association Council discovered that a commission run by Sajan had forged a series of e-mails confirming that about eight high-profile speakers – including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter – would speak at UCLA in order to request funding for events.
Sajan, who was elected USAC General Representative last spring, claimed that she was not personally responsible for the e-mails, which were falsified after USAC members were unable to receive confirmation from the speakers before the funding request deadlines.
Finance Committee Chair Parsa Sobhani noticed several indications that the e-mails, purportedly sent by liaisons of the speakers, were not genuine. For example, the confirmations included links to nonexistent Web sites and timestamp irregularities.
The inconsistencies were highlighted in a Dec. 4 meeting of the undergraduate student government, in response to which Sajan was allowed to hold an investigation into the matter.
According to the UCLA student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, Sajan later admitted to knowledge of the forgeries and apologized to the student body. She also stressed that she had not acted with bad intentions.
“The members of the Social Justice Speaker Series committee contacted the speakers we wished to bring and didn’t get a response in time for the funding application,” Sajan said in a statement. “[The committee members and I] were fairly confident that we could get the speakers because we have good contacts and a well-established program. […] We also knew that without documentation, we would not get funding. We then decided to make up the confirmations.”
USAC President Gabe Rose said an application will be created to fill Sajan’s now vacant position, and one applicant will be selected for Council approval.