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The Mass Media

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Student Government Cabinet Member to Fix Club Budget Website

Desai+told+the+Mass+Media+that+the+student+budgets%2C+which+are+public+information%2C+should+be+visible+within+two+weeks.
Desai told the Mass Media that the student budgets, which are public information, should be visible within two weeks.

 

 

 

The SEOC (Student Events and Organizations Committee) is legally required to maintain a website accessible to the public, which provides information about how they spend student fees. The website also details the budget requests of the clubs, as well as whether they were accepted or not, and why.

Lately, the column that shows budget requests is inaccurate because, as Undergraduate Senate speaker Joey Nguyen explained in an email, “There is a glitch that literally just multiplies any value the clubs submit for budgets by two, so if they request $100 it shows up as $200.” This glitch does not show up in every budget requestit appears at random throughout the website. Another bug prevents anybody not signed in with a student government account from viewing finalized itemized budgets. So, if you are curious about where your fees are being spent, you can see that the Veterans’ Center asked for a cotton candy machine and a snow cone machine, but not whether the center actually received funding for either.

The website errors began around the time Hurricane Sandy hit, over a month ago. Nguyen believes the site malfunction is because its server was in New York City. He was optimistic that the public information would soon be available again.

“We fix bugs as users report it to us,” Nguyen wrote. “We have taken the website data from our original web developer from Philadelphia and placed it in the hands of our Cabinet member, Pruthvi [Desai]. He is an experienced Web and data server expert.”

Desai’s official title is Director of Media Relations and Information Technology. In an interview, he said he was aware that the budget data online is wrong. “The person who was before me was updating the website, and there was some minor glitch in the calculations, in the code, so that’s what I’m up to. I’m trying to figure it out.”

Desai had no idea that the amended and finalized budgets were missing from the public version of the senate website until asked about it during the interview. “Those are both separate things,” he said.

As for the website not working because of a hurricane, Desai is skeptical. “If it was a problem [caused] by Hurricane Sandy, the whole website would be down. It won’t have software glitches. Glitches are in the code.” He also didn’t know why anybody in the student government would think that the errors were related to Sandy.

“I just took over the website,” Desai told the Mass Media. He didn’t know exactly how long either glitch had existed, but he said he was told about the doubling of requested numbers four to six weeks ago. It is possible that the fact that the website stopped working in late October caused some people to assume that Sandy was the cause.

USG President Jesse Wright was able to clear up the confusion. “Our outsourced web guy had his own tie-ups because of the hurricane. That caused our update delays.” Desai updated the website within the two weeks since he was hired, and the remaining errors have nothing to do with any natural disaster.

Desai was sure he could fix both the bugs in “a week or two, tops.” He said he’d get it done even sooner if he didn’t have exams. “Finding [the error in the code] is the hard part, but fixing it is easy.”