Letter to the Editor

Dear Observer Staff and CWRU Community,

The Student Executive Council (SEC) would like to respond to the Opinion article “An Unknown Problem of Staggering Proportions” from the Oct. 3 issue. First off, we would like to thank you. We appreciate all of the discussion points you presented, and we are happy to see that students care enough about their undergraduate organizations to take a hard look at how they are being governed and funded.

As campus leaders, it is important to us that you have a positive undergraduate experience and that your student organizations are representing you to the best of their ability. We also appreciate you bringing to light the fact that our website is not up to date. We have taken steps to assure that this is no longer an issue. Like many organizations on campus, we are transitioning into the use of OrgSync and are working to clarify the roles of our internet presence. Currently, our OrgSync portal is being populated and our website is active and up to date.

We would like to take this opportunity to address the issues brought up in last week’s article. To begin, we would first like to explain who we are and what we do. The SEC mission as outlined in the Grant of Power states: the Student Executive Council was established to provide a forum of communication between member organizations, assist member organizations in the coordination of activities and programs and promotion of cooperation, govern the allocation of the Student Activities Fee (SAF) revenue to the member organizations, and when requested, review conflicts between member organizations and make recommendations for resolution.

As described in last week’s article, we are comprised of the presidents and treasurers of University Program Board, Undergraduate Student Government, University Media Board, Class Officer Collective, Interfraternity Congress, and Panhellenic Council; the president of Residence Hall Association; a non-voting secretary; and our two advisors, the vice president of Student Affairs and the associate vice president of Student Affairs. Each board member of the council is elected to their position by their respective representative bodies. Additionally, individuals selected to head the off-the-top bodies (Senior Week, Springfest, Thwing Study Over) sit on the council. These board and body members in turn allocate the funds of the SAF to programs, events, and organizations that benefit the entire undergraduate population. Essentially, the money is being distributed by the students for the students.

To the point of the money, every decision made concerning the allocations must be approved by a majority of the voting members. Each semester, both the previous semester’s finances and the current semester’s projected budgets are presented and reviewed by all of the boards. The allocation percentages are also reviewed and voted upon each semester. Below is the allocation breakdown for Fall 2014:

To oversee everything, the vice president of Student Affairs or the associate vice president of Student Affairs attends every meeting. This setup provides a successful system of checks and balances.

To address the point of transparency, the council determined at Meeting A (the first meeting) to make it a priority this semester. As it can be found on our meeting agendas, we have made it an expectation: we not only expect member boards and bodies to be transparent with each other, but we expect all boards and bodies to be transparent with the undergraduate population. It is also written in our constitution that Meeting E be an open forum to publicly discuss campus issues. Historically, these forums have been poorly attended, so it is a goal of the current council to increase visibility by creating an open forum style to not only inform the student population about SEC, but also get student feedback.

As mentioned before, you can find our meeting times, agendas, minutes and governing documents on our website. We encourage everyone to go check it out and be on the lookout for fliers and information on our open forum. The Student Executive Council is striving to thoughtfully use its funds and listen to the undergraduate student voice. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please direct them to the current co-chairs, Amanda Herring and Taylor Gladys, at sec-chair@case.edu. We encourage you attend our next meeting on Thursday Oct. 23 at 9:00 p.m. in the Cleveland Room.

Thank you,
The Student Executive Council