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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Questionable Ethical Decisions

The latest in what has become a pattern of questionable ethical

decisions by the UMB Administration took place this week

when, due to late fiscal planning on the part of the state legislature, UMB was left with insufficient funds to pay the salaries of two employees of Student Life. Administration’s answer was to take surplus money left over from last year’s Student Activities Trust Fund (SATF)-a fund made up of annual fees paid by you, the students-which supports all activities of student organizations.

The question here is not a legal one, but an ethical one. Administration has the right, according to the Policies and Procedures for the SATF, to use the fund for whatever purpose it deems necessary. In fact, according to Dean Janey, “all funds that come to the university, regardless of what they are or where they come from, [are] state funds.” This appears to mean that all fees, once collected, can be allocated by the Administration as they see fit.

This demands a series of questions. First, why call it the “Student Activities Trust Fund” if it’s really the “Administration’s Money”? And why was there a surplus in the first place? If you are a student paying fees in the 2000-01 year, shouldn’t your money be spent in the year in which you pay? What if your 2001-02 year is spent at a college in Arizona?

How, if the budget is in such a crunch that Administration must tap student resources to pay the salaries of its employees, does UMB have enough money to pay for construction of the new Campus Center? How can they consider building new dorms? And why does Administration dump unused drinking water down the drain, (two million gallons and counting…) instead of fixing the filtrine units that would stop this flow, when there is a surplus readily available to be used as they deem fit? If Administration can use the SATF for employee salaries, why then can’t they allocate it for capital improvements?

Why, in the face of this budget crisis, in a time when professors will be laid-off at the end of the semester, are we reading about Chancellor Gora’s $10,000 in brand new office furniture? In fact, why is there a $1.5 million allocated for campus-wide improvements when we consider that the parking garage, the most integral part of this commuter-campus, is on the brink of collapse?

In a recent interview, Dean Janey remarked that when reviewing the budget designed by the Undergraduate Student Senate, she “wants to be careful…that they’re not making funding decisions that would impact future students and saddle them with the burden.” It seems to the Mass Media, the UMB Administration, by using last year’s SATF surplus, has avoided burdening future students by spending funds that should have been available for use by this year’s students.

UMB’s Administration owes the student-body an explanation. Or perhaps the student body should look to independent legal counsel for an explanation.