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USAC calls for accountability after staffing shortages delay funding

The door to the Undergraduate Students Association Office of the President and accompanying plaque are pictured. USAC has experienced repeated delays in funding which are largely due to changes in staffing in Student Government Accounting, which manages USAC funding. (Megan Cai/Assistant Photo editor)

By Alexandra Kaiser

March 5, 2023 11:04 p.m.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council has been affected by staffing issues that have caused delays in funding and called for more accountability from offices that manage student funds.

Students said delays in funding from USAC-operated funds caused them to worry about possible cancellations of events and paying out-of-pocket for expenses that were reimbursed when funds came through – months later than expected. USAC officers discussed the issue privately and at the public Jan. 24 USAC meeting.

[Related: USAC funding delays increase stress, workload for student organization members]

Many of the funding issues are due to recent staffing changes in Student Government Accounting, which manages the Undergraduate Students Association’s funding, said Sara Broukhim, the USAC financial supports commissioner and a third-year cognitive science and political science student. This turnover within SGA caused a backlog of funding requests and a lack of understanding of the organization’s processes resulting from returning to pre-pandemic ways, said Ana Majer, the USAC student wellness commissioner and a fourth-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student.

“It’s sort of the transition from leaving COVID times to the transition to the old normal type of thing, which is also causing some problems,” Broukhim said.

Broukhim said some offices are also dealing with staffing shortages because members of USAC, like many other campus organizations, are seeing people become less involved following the pandemic. She added that she feels this is made worse by a lack of faith many students have in the student government.

USAC President Carl King Jr. said he moved individuals from his office to other offices experiencing staffing shortages to assist until USAC officers can recruit more staffers. He added that USAC plans to increase accountability for the funding bodies to prevent future delays.

Majer said she thinks there needs to be a combination of officers taking responsibility for funding delays and reaching out for help when it is needed.

Phoebe Chiu, the USAC facilities commissioner and a fourth-year economics and psychology student, said she thinks accountability is difficult when the student-run funds are struggling to recruit individuals to work on them.

“Accountability, at the end of the day for me, I think it means doing your best to do your job and ensuring that people are doing their due diligence and really holding themselves with integrity, trying to serve in the best interest of the students,” Chiu said.

Broukhim also said it is important to remember that students manage these funds and have other jobs and responsibilities.

Overall, King said he thinks the funding bodies are getting back on track, adding that supporting them in the process will continue to be important.

“It’s all about support. A lot of these individuals, they do amazing work,” he said. “Sometimes they fall short of being perfect, right? But we’re all students at the end of the day.”

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Alexandra Kaiser | Campus politics editor
Kaiser is the 2022-2023 campus politics editor. She was previously a News reporter and Opinion columnist. She is also a third-year communication and political science student.
Kaiser is the 2022-2023 campus politics editor. She was previously a News reporter and Opinion columnist. She is also a third-year communication and political science student.
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