McSA will face ASG review over Ayers event

Christina Chaey

The Student Activities Finance Board has opened an investigation into the Muslim-cultural Student Association’s attempt to bring former Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers to campus this week, Associated Student Government senators said. A related investigation into SAFB’s conduct during the affair was proposed by ASG parliamentarian Will Upton.

McSA announced Tuesday that it would postpone its fall speaker event, which included Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn, and black Muslim scholar Imam Zaid Shakir until Winter Quarter. The event was originally scheduled for Thursday. Administrators decided Tuesday afternoon that there was not enough time to finalize the details of the event before Thursday.

The original controversy revolved around McSA’s failure to submit its fall speaker contracts three weeks in advance, the recommended time for contracts exceeding $2,000. The time frame is a recommendation, not a firm rule.

But SAFB is still investigating McSA “to make sure that the necessary procedures were followed and guidelines were upheld,” said ASG Financial Vice President Seva Rodnyansky, a Weinberg senior.

Weinberg junior Dana Shabeeb, co-president of McSA, declined to comment, stating only that McSA would comply with any and all of SAFB’s requests.

The probe, which was approved before the meeting, will require the group’s adviser and accounting executive to chart out a timeline of the planning process behind the attempt to bring Ayers to campus with SAFB and Rodnyansky.

Based on the preliminary findings, the committee will determine if there is substantial evidence to open a full investigation. If there is, they will recommend courses of action to the Senate, which would then vote on whether McSA acted in misconduct.

While SAFB will be conducting the McSA investigation, Upton has requested a separate investigation of the finance board itself to see if the group failed to meet its own guidelines in approving funds for the Ayers speech. Specifically, Upton’s six-senator committee would review SAFB’s decision to allow McSA to submit the event’s contracts with around a week before the event.

“Overall it was completely disorganized,” the Weinberg senior said. “I think it’s something that should be looked into and should be investigated, and if changes need to be made they should be brought to Senate.”

ASG decided not to vote on whether the investigation should occur until its next meeting on Dec. 3.

One of the main concerns in this investigation would be to determine if SAFB contract guidelines should remain discretionary, Upton said.

“If they’re not absolute, we argue that student groups really shouldn’t have to follow them,” he said. “We approve their guidelines with the expectation that they’re going to follow them.”

The investigation would not affect the petition process that student groups currently use with SAFB, Upton said.

“The job of moving money around or having contracts approved would be transferred to the senate,” he said. “I want to be as accommodating to (student groups) as possible.”

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