Student government does not reveal expenditures under self-imposed bylaws, president says.
By Brandon Addeo and Kaye Burnet | The Duquesne Duke
A statue of a Duquesne Ring that purportedly cost the Student Government Association $20,000 in installation fees will adorn the walkway to Rockwell Hall by the end of the month.
Though no current SGA officials were willing to confirm the price, Nicholas A. Hudak, who served as the 44th SGA vice president of finance until he resigned over the summer, told The Duke he took office shortly after the SGA authorized the funds to install the statue. The monument will be placed on the brick path that leads to Rockwell Hall and the Rangos School of Health Sciences.
“The amount set aside for use in this project was $20,000 as allocated by the 43rd Senate,” Hudak said in a written statement to The Duke. “I am providing this statement based on my belief that the student body has a right to know how the Student Government Association spends the money provided to it by the University [sic] as funded by the students.”
SGA President John Foster confirmed that the proposal was brought forth last spring by the 43rd Senate and was approved before he took office with the 44th Senate.
Foster said he does not know how much money the SGA spent to fund the statue project.
Former SGA member Joey Giovannelli, who originally proposed the idea, also said he does not know how much it cost.
However, Hudak said all members of the 43rd and 44th Senate and Executive Boards were familiar with the cost of the proposal.
“Everybody knew about it,” Hudak said.
According to Foster, even if he knew how much money the SGA spent, he would not be able to reveal it to anyone outside the SGA due to the organization’s bylaws, which require that interested parties submit a written request for information that must be approved by 50 percent of the Senate at one of the SGA’s bi-monthly meetings.
Foster also said the funds used for the statue did not come from the SGA’s operating budget; instead the money was taken from a separate account of money fundraised by the organization.
“No student money was used for this,” Foster said.
Sitting on a square granite base about two feet high, the statue’s peak height will be three and a half feet off the ground, according to Duquesne’s Facilities Management Director Rod Dobish. The ring itself, made of bronze, will be gold with a black background and red gemstone.
The SGA partnered with the manufacturers of the iconic Duquesne ring, Herff Jones, to purchase the statue, according to Foster. Herff Jones donated the granite and ring portions of the monument, while the SGA covered the concrete base and decorative lighting.
Public Affairs spokeswoman Rose Ravasio said the tentative installation date is Aug. 31.
Duquesne’s class ring is one of the most recognizable in the world — among the top five in the world, according to Duquesne’s Herff Jones representative Vince Rodi.
“[The Duquesne ring] is our symbol, our tradition,” Rodi said.
Rodi said that he worked closely with the SGA and the Alumni Association on this project.
Foster said the Duquesne Ring is a symbol of nostalgia and reflection for Duquesne students.
“I believe the ring serves as a daily reminder of the memories we created and pride we have for our school after our time on the Bluff comes to an end,” Foster said. “As our Alma Mater says, ‘though we roam the whole world o’er.’ Throughout the world Duquesne Alumni wear their ring with great pride to show to anyone [they] encounter.”
Since when is this the way the Duq Student Government operates? If I recall from my time at Duquesne long ago, every student was technically a member of the organization. Why is there no transparency?
Didn’t you hear? The student government voted that the government of the students doesn’t have to tell the students how and when the student government spends the money of the students.
I’m wondering personally how many budgets and savings funds the SGA has.