Step Down, Sikander Khan
SA must cure its disease of corruption, starting with Khan
Published: Friday, April 13, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Should SA Treasurer Sikander Khan resign?
SA Treasurer Sikander Khan is a liar and an embarrassment.
It’s time for him to leave office. He refuses to answer publicly for how he nearly dumped $300,000 of our money on a scam company. He has yet to tell us about how he is affiliated with associates of Virtual Academix.
Khan must either resign or be removed from his position.
He’s proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that the current administration is incompetent as a group. He’s a walking symbol of our broken Student Association.
When Khan went in front of SA on March 22, he hid the fact that he had already signed a contract for hundreds of thousands of dollars and tried to quash attempts to prevent him from spending the money. At this time he was still pretending like a mobile app was an idea but that nothing was “concrete.” He plainly lied to SA senators.
Khan even said the resolution that would have made it more difficult for him to spend the $300,000 was against SUNY regulations. He said the fact that the resolution required contracts over $20,000 to get two more bids to ensure fair market price violated regulations because all contracts require that procedure.
Knowing the regulations, Khan still didn’t present two other bids until 17 days after he and SA Vice President Meghan McMonagle signed the contract with Virtual Academix. Khan can’t claim ignorance on this.
Clearly, had he taken these other bids prior to throwing cash at a scam he would have easily noticed that $300,000 was an absurd amount to pay for the services to be rendered. According to his own words, that means he broke SUNY guidelines.
Blatant disregard of regulations that he understood shows a rare measure of arrogance. Past administrations have had scandals, but to laugh in the face of the entire student body by hiding in his ivory tower while the uproar grows louder is one of the most embarrassing moments in the SA’s history.
UB students are also calling for Khan’s head. On our website, a poll indicates that over 80 percent of responders think he should resign his post.
It takes nothing short of hubris for him to continue serving his term as treasurer, but if this scandal has made anything apparent, it’s that Khan is defined by his hubris.
He thinks he’s invincible.
If nothing is done about this, he will come out unscathed. We can see from his actions that he has no intent on resigning, and the next course of action isn’t moving any smoother.
The SA constitution has a well-defined procedure for forcing a member of the executive branch out of office. There are numerous causes for recall, but Article IX Section 9.01, Subsection A of the constitution states a recall is in order if an official “intentionally materially violated…any State University of New York policy concerning student activity fees…”
SUNY rules for spending student activity fees indicate “all purchases shall strive to obtain the best value for goods and services by utilizing a system of bidding and quotes.”
Under these provisions, the SA Assembly had the ability and a proper reason to begin the process of a recall when it met on Wednesday. According to the SA constitution, it can initiate a recall by gathering a petition with signatures of three-fifths of the Assembly.
With the information that’s out there, we’d expect the Assembly to take swift action.
Instead, they literally got nothing done. SA Senator James Gibbons publicly demanded the Assembly initiate Khan’s recall. Gibbons wanted to get the process started, but at the time was apparently unaware that the recall must begin in the Assembly first.
Most of the Assembly’s time on Wednesday was spent bickering about how many signatures would be needed to recall and asking questions about the scandal.
Khan almost flushed $300,000 down the toilet, and one of our major governing bodies can’t be bothered to read a single article.
Even after learning about what happened, the Assembly couldn’t be moved to initiate Khan’s recall. Instead, they decided to make a resolution stating that they strongly disapprove of Khan’s actions.
Nothing teaches someone a lesson like a strongly worded letter. That’ll certainly show him.
Yet the Assembly couldn’t muster enough ability to even get that pitiful excuse for action done. Apparently, the members were too hungry to continue and decided that reconvening next Wednesday would be better.
The Assembly took an empty gesture and made it even more worthless.
Almost every aspect of our Student Government is either dysfunctional or completely broken. The treasurer has nearly free rein to make horrible money choices like this, and when he gets caught doing something stupid the normal routes are either apathetic or ineffective.
We also need to demand that the SA change its rules to prevent this from ever happening again. The fact that Khan could go out tomorrow and do this again if he wanted is a horrifying sign that the post of Treasurer holds too much power.
If not, then why are we paying this student activity fee? We don’t want to pay for the upkeep on a system that is so easily corruptible. If nothing changes then it will be extremely hard to convince us that an increase in the student activity fee would ever be reasonable.
SA is at a crossroads. It can either continue being a broken shell of its former self, or it can make a change right now. Get rid of Khan right away. He’s at the corrupt core of the current incarnation of SA.