A district error stopped access to funds, vice president says.
By JENNIFER LUNA
On Sept. 27, Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of student affairs and interim vice president of academic affairs, appeared at the President’s Round Table to clarify an error that caused panic and rampant rumors about the finances of the office of student life and student clubs and organizations.
“I know some of you may have had issues accessing your accounts, or there was nothing in your accounts,” he said.“What district told me was there was an error. They stopped some access to the accounts and there was an error and they were going to reverse it. We continued to drill down because we wanted to see why that error even took place.”
Vela explained students were unable to view funds in their accounts because of an annual process at the district department of fiscal services. The money from student life, groups and organizations are separated into agency accounts and money left over in accounts from a previous year, stay in the account.
The process to “roll over” money from the previous year takes a minimum of 20 days, Vela was told, which left an impression that the account was empty.
“… It doesn’t mean that your money is not there, it just means that you can’t see what’s there,” Vela said. “We have no interest in going in there and getting your money; that’s your money.”
Vela also said the appointment of a new chair to the Student Activity Fee Committee had nothing to do with the error and is a separate issue.
Dr. Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs and new chair of the Student Activity Fee Committee, was granted access to the accounts from the Student Activity Fee Committee to review the committee’s allocations.
“We need to see what did the fee committee approve … so we can start allocating everything,” Vela said.
The presidents of the clubs, nodding around the room, seemed satisfied with and relieved by Vela’s explanations.
Jacob Martinez, assistant coordinator of leadership activities, announced funds from each club was readily available.
“All of ya’ll’s accounts are showing,” he said. “I already emailed all of ya’lls advisers so they all know that the funds are available.”
Jacob Wong, president of Student Government Association, described the fundamentals of clubs and organizations at this college.
Martinez then had each member in the meeting introduce themselves and their groups.
Phi Theta Kappa, an international two-year honor society, invited all clubs to participate in a project benefiting the food pantry.
The Onstage drama club will present a haunted house at this college Oct. 19-20 and invited other groups to join in the fundraiser.
Martinez then directed the club presidents to draw from a hat to decide the order in which the groups opted for food and items to sell at Oktoberfest Oct. 23.