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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Mishandled Funds, Broken Trust

As you are probably well aware the administration mishandled $200,000 from the garage trust fund that is raised through campus parking fees. Students today are overburdened with rising fees and tuition coupled with declining federal financial aid, so this situation only aggravates students’ financial frustrations.

If the administration is going to continue to raise our fees-effectively balancing the budget shortfalls on the backs of students-then we need to be well assured that those funds are going to be appropriately spent. This is a matter of fiscal responsibility; the administration needs to be capable of long-term economic planning and short-term fiscal band-aids like this one do not demonstrate suitable management practices. This is not the first time that the administration has been found misallocating funds from the Parking and Transportation Trust Fund. The last time was only two years ago in 2001. The administration is not supposed to be using the funds for anything other than parking-related expenses, so why then does it continue to redirect these funds elsewhere? To be told by the State Auditor’s office-after they scrutinized the university’s finances-that the administration is moving funds around under the radar calls into question the leadership’s openness and honesty.

Although the money did go toward necessary campus expenses-such as salaries and overtime for student interns and staff members of other departments, landscaping charges, and mailroom expenses-the actions are not justified. The administration needs to start adhering to the current law that denies the school the right to reallocate money from trust funds.

In the overall scheme of things $200,000 is not a lot of money-less than ten percent of the parking and transportation budget-especially considering that it costs $50,000 a year just to keep the lights on down in our dungeon-like garage. The real issue is that as students take on more of the financial burden for the UMass system, we need to be confident that our school’s headship is competent to control our hard-earned money.