SA's E-Board Has Been Divided All Year
The SA has had its share of problems this year, but perhaps the biggest of all is that the executive board has barely exchanged words.
Currently, Vice President Meghan McMonagle and Treasurer Sikander Khan do not talk to President JoAnna Datz.
The three have not been on civil terms since soon after they were elected in May 2011. Datz affirmed that the past year could be described as "two-against-one."
Their personal issues with one another have led to a lack of communication this year. The lack of communication hindered the SA's operations, according to numerous SA officials.
"It's been affecting things all year," said Travis Nemmer, who will be next year's SA president. "It's taken clubs much longer time to get money; departmental activity is stalled. There's been less communication. They're supposed to be setting an example for us."
Nemmer went on to say the tension between the e-board led to tension between the departments and between the clubs and SA.
The process leading up to Nemmer's win in the election was fraught with problems between SA higher-ups.
In a March 10 email from Khan to Datz obtained by The Spectrum, Khan told Datz he had reservations about approving her appointment of an Elections and Credentials chair (though he ended up approving anyway). But the introduction to the email is telling:
"My intent of writing this email is not to improve my personal relations with you though I would highly prefer that," Khan wrote. "I will completely understand if after reading through this email you choose to continue avoiding any communication with me professionally or personally."
SA Senate Chairman Darwinson Valdez said he noticed the relationships within the e-board are cliquey. He has never seen the three of them together publicly, which goes against their campaign, during which they claimed they would "show their faces in the union," Valdez said.
"This year has been looking like Meghan and Sikander against JoAnna," Valdez said. "It's known that they're never together."
At Senate meetings, Khan and McMonagle typically agree on topics that Datz is against, according to Valdez.
Last semester, communication problems led to some of SA's accounts being frozen and SA pro-staff members not getting paid, according to SA Senator James Gibbons. He said Khan was trying to find a less expensive accounting service than Sub Board I, Inc.
"[Khan] did not sign the initial contract [with Sub-Board] that all the treasurers sign for the upcoming year," Gibbons said. "He didn't sign it right away, and the pro-staff got mad because they weren't getting paid. It froze some of the accounts...When [Khan] tried to bring up [changing accountants], apparently everybody [including Datz and McMonagle] just motioned to leave the [Sub-Board] meeting...When he initially was trying to do this and didn't sign the forms in time, it pissed off JoAnna and the other people in the SA."
Gibbons added that had Khan had a better relationship with Datz, that problem would likely have never happened.
It's common for the SA president and vice president to not get along, according to SA Senator Dan Pastuf. He said that during campaign season, the hopeful vice president typically looks forward to sharing power with the president, only to realize upon taking office that the president has almost complete power, with the vice president relegated to a far lesser role.
"Our term in office has lacked a lot of communication...I think I had better communication last semester than I have this semester," Datz said on Monday. "I think that office hours can attest that we are never in the office at the same time...it's rare to see [McMonagle and Khan] in the office...Communication has been lacking in the organization this year. I blame myself, but it was a group effort that caused that lack of communication. We just haven't really seen them very much."
When Khan and McMonagle signed a questionable $300,000 contract with Virtual Academix for a mobile app last month, Datz didn't know about it.
When she found out about it, Datz launched an investigation into Virtual Academix. She and other SA officials found that it might be fraudulent.
Datz said she has not heard from Khan or McMonagle since then. Some have noted that it might be a good thing Datz and Khan don't get along - if they did, perhaps the $300,000 contract would have slipped by everybody.
The Spectrum's News Desk contributed to this report.