Last Wednesday at the weekly ASCSU Senate meeting, things got a little more interesting than normal.
A student who works for the RamRide program made allegations saying that the program has now dipped $7,000 into emergency funds, and also raised questions about certain hiring practices, especially that of the director of RamRide. According to the student employee, these hiring and firing practices often don’t take in employee input, and coming from a program that used to be entirely student-run prior to being run through the Off-Campus Life Office, this is a little concerning.
However, the bigger question here is the money management. RamRide is run with our student fees, and as with any program that is run with our student fees, it’s important that money is spent with extreme discretion and has valid reasoning behind this spending.
Sara Williams, the current director of RamRide, also spoke at the meeting, citing an increase in ridership and volunteers, causing the need to spend emergency funds. It can be understandable that issues come up that are outside of a budget, but to spend an extra $7,000 is mind-boggling.
If the management of RamRide and Off-Campus Life are unable to use the student money they are given effectively, then I think it becomes clear a change in management is necessary, whether it be an entirely new set of directors and management or a complete overhaul in the structure of management. Given that RamRide used to be completely student-run, it’s concerning they are being shut out of the conversation.
Even if these allegations aren’t true, this still raises many questions on how other programs that receive our student fees are run, both in finance management and personnel management. If anything, the allegations could (and possibly should) lead to further evaluation of other programs’ spending. If there are already checks on these antics in place, perhaps they should occur more often. For $7,000 over budget to be spent, there’s no way the management could spend that overnight.
These developments are an indication that it is time for us as a student body to take a more proactive step in following where our fees go. This could be something our student government can take on. Many students already question what exactly ASCSU does for us, and this should become a cornerstone aspect of their responsibilities.
Taking a larger role in watching money shouldn’t be considered something of more “government intervention,” but considering ASCSU is at a pivotal point in questioning what their power should exactly be, this is something those currently running for ASCSU, as well as those voting, should consider.
ASCSU prides itself on representing the students, and there is nothing more representative than making sure that money being spent is money well spent. I have no problem paying student fees, especially when it funds things such as the Rec Center, the CSU Health Network and counseling services. But student fees need to be spent productively.
The next step beyond evaluating RamRide specifically is to decide how we can prevent events like this from happening, even if the RamRide management proves to be still effective and functional. The importance of our money being spent well is too big for it to be followed haphazardly, and as a result, should be something we as a student body work together to find a solution that both gives these programs room to function and protects students.
Collegian Columnist Alexandra Stettner can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @alexstetts.