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SGA addresses negative experiences with EXP

Two men and a woman look at a computer screen intently.
Maddison Behringer / THE GATEPOST

By Adam Harrison

News Editor

SGA discussed concerns about club event funding and communication with the Center for Student Experience (EXP), and reviewed issues brought up in the Fall semester that were addressed or fixed at their meeting on March 26. 

Vice President Raffi Elkhoury opened the meeting with all senators in favor except one who abstained. 

Senator Raena Doty said she was one of several students who attended the College Media Association Conference in New York City.

“I’m very concerned with some of the ways that the Office of Student Experience handled this trip,” she said.

Doty said the bus for this trip was leaving on Wednesday, and the students weren’t given the time it was leaving until Tuesday morning. 

“We only got this after our assistant advisor went up to EXP and asked in no uncertain terms to have the time,” she said. 

She said after they arrived in New York City, they found the hotel had not been paid for at around 5:20 p.m., which is after office hours for EXP.

“If our Editor-in-Chief, Sophia Harris, hadn’t had Kayleigh MacMaster’s personal phone number, we would not have been able to reach them,” Doty said. 

Because of the removal of petty cash from clubs, students on this trip weren’t able to receive a stipend for food ahead of the trip and instead will be reimbursed afterward, according to Doty.

“That kind of assumes that we have the money in the first place to be paying for food,” she said. 

Senator Jacob Sargent said having only a single financial caretaker who is the only one authorized to make purchases for clubs leaves room for errors, and because of this, the financial portion of EXP “is critically flawed.” 

He said there was a period before spring break when the person handling finances for EXP was on vacation, and no purchases for any clubs were able to be made at all. 

“From my own personal experience, organizing PAX East for Comic Book Club - which is a joint event with Gaming Club as well - we were nearly unable to get the remainder of the tickets for the event due to this vacation.

“And there was scrambling on the other portion of the EXP office to figure out the situation in a timely manner before spring break occurred, and this could’ve completely torpedoed that event,” Sargent said. 

He also brought up a similar incident regarding a bandana event held by Cosplay Club, for which the club put in a funding request during this period and it was not processed, which delayed the event because they were unable to purchase the items they needed. 

“A small portion of the office is controlling the singular card, which if that person is out at any point, completely shuts down any funding for any club at any time, from group five, to group three, to group one, and that is a major concern,” he said. 

Elkhoury said these are very important topics to talk about. “Why is there only one card? Why is that hard to access for clubs and organizations? Why was petty cash removed? These are all important questions - I’m not the person with the answers to those questions,” he said. 

He said it’s integral to get the answers to these questions out to the student organizations because it’s already difficult to be a student leader, especially with having to manage additional responsibilities like these. 

Rachel Lucking, assistant dean for campus engagement, said it was a Commonwealth of Massachusetts decision to distribute the authorization to use the corporate card for club activities and the decision to remove petty cash, not the individual universities. 

“Giving your feedback helps [the business office] come up with other solutions for you. …They’ll find a way. So I would talk to Sara. I’ve felt all the frustrations that you have felt, but I would talk to her,” she said. 

In Student Trustee Ryan Mikelis’s report, he listed concerns addressed in the last Fall semester that have since been fixed by different offices. 

He said there was an issue regarding stolen property in the game room brought up, and EXP implemented a sign-out sheet to prevent stolen property.

“There was a need for a more open dialogue with the Palestinian and Israel conflict, which the CIE worked to implement open forums and a greater open dialogue, as well as hiring Muslim-identifying members to work in the campus ministry,” he said. 

Mikelis said they talked about commuter-lot shuttles “helping to basically bring commuters to and from campus. … That’s a capital project in the works,” courtesy of Executive Vice President Dale Hamel.  

He said at the safety walk last semester, they determined a ramp was needed at CASA because the accessibility was difficult. Since then, a ramp has been installed by Facilities. 

“We had a need to address a greater knowledge of the planetarium - in general, more use of the planetarium. Since then, they’ve had a grand opening and they’ve been featuring student artwork and the staff’s, and that’s on behalf of the planetarium staff,” he said. 

Mikelis said they brought up the installation of baby-changing tables in Dwight Hall and the Athletic Center. 

“It’s addressing a need of a group of students that’s often overlooked - that being parents - which was funded by SGA and implemented by Facilities,” Mikelis said. 

There were concerns about food waste in the dining hall, and since then, Dining Services has implemented Ramsey Bags and has worked with an outside agency to take unused premade line food to make sure it is used efficiently instead of being thrown out, he said. 

Mikelis said, “New gym equipment is important and is also a capital project in the works - again, that’s on behalf of Dale.” 

[Editor’s Note: Raena Doty is an Arts & Features Editor for The Gatepost]



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