Where your money’s going

Kelly Tyko

Robert Stone is upset about some FAU students going to the sunny isles of the Bahamas.

It’s not that the Boca Raton Student Government senator doesn’t want students to have a good time relaxing on the white sandy beaches or wading in crystal clear blue water. Nor is that he’s jealous that he won’t be getting a tan of his own.

What he is upset about is how the students got to point of basking in the sun.

His and other SG leaders displeasures started when Student Body President Mukarram Mawjood starting handing out tickets to the Bahamas. Where the tickets came from started a debate.

At the Jan. 24 senate meeting, Stone said, “I’ve heard a rumor that there are going to be some Bahamas tickets given away either today or tomorrow, if that’s true where are they coming from, how are they being paid for?”

Mawjood replied, “They are not being paid from Student Government at all. The Bahamas tickets are from a friend of mine, and see, I’m involved in a lot of businesses so they’ve been donated to me so I’m giving them out to the students.”

The next day at the University-Wide Council meeting, the answers were a little different.

“What is the controller’s office suppose to do when Jason Fenster comes to the controller’s office and says Mukkaram Mawjood told me to meet him here at 11:30 and he will give me a purchase order. What are they supposed to do?” Boca Raton Governor Pablo Paez asked at the meeting.

Mawjood’s response: “He met me and I gave him the cash, everything is done.”

But everything was not done. After Stone heard this, he believed he and the Boca Raton senate were being lied to. He wasn’t cool with that.

At last Thursday’s Boca senate meeting, a bill calling for a censure of Mawjood was on the agenda.

“Student Body President Mukarram Mawjood blatantly and knowingly withheld the truth, and lied to the Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton Senate, such dishonesty that could be interpreted as malfeasance or misfeasance of office, for reasons still unknown,” Stone said in the bill.

Mawjood thought the bill was an attack, which he blamed on fear.

“All I’m asking is why are you so afraid of me? Why are you so afraid when I walk down the Breezeway and talk to everybody that you feel the need to introduce legislation about me? Are you so afraid of me that you feel that need?” Mawjood said.

“Why are you concentrating on attacking me and not allowing me to serve the students? If you’re scared, come up to me and tell me why you’re scared. Or are you not man enough to go against me?

“Believe you and me, I’m not afraid. I will come in day in and day out as president of this university. If you’re so upset of me being president, then why don’t you be president next semester?”

So, what’s fear have to do with tickets to the Bahamas?

To Stone it’s not about fear – it’s about the truth.

“At the conclusion of both of these public meetings it has now come to surface that there was never an agreement to donate Bahamas tickets to the students of Florida Atlantic University by one of Mukarram Mawjood’s “friends,” rather there was an agreement to have them purchased by Mukarram Mawjood from PI Advertising…” the bill stated.

And Stone had more to say than what the bill stated. “I’m not asking to have him removed the president. I’m telling you to slap him on the wrist and say don’t you ever lie to us again. That’s wrong and I will not stand for that,” Stone said to which a few senators gave an ovation.

Senate Speaker Nicholas Kalman agreed with Stone.

“It’s about integrity. I don’t care who you are but if you come to this senate and lie to this senate, you will be held accountable. Especially if you’re serving the students as president. He or she, black, white, red, pink, purple. I don’t care who you are what you are, you will be held accountable,” said Kalman. “It’s not about his tact. It’s about the truth.”

Honesty was a topic also on the minds of the administration. Reginald Garcon, the assistant dean of student affairs, announced a few revised SG guidelines at Jan. 24th’s UWC meeting.

“Expenditures out of the University Wide Accounts other than bills or legislation that have been passed by the Council, must be reviewed by me prior to purchasing items in order to ensure we follow the procedures set in place. Items without proper approval will not be paid and the individual who ordered the items will be responsible for the payment of the expense,” said Garcon, referring to an $1100 pizza tab that was accumulated in two days.

Clarifying another issue, Garcon added, “Events and promotional items/advertisements that have been paid by A&S fees, must state on it that it was sponsored by Student Government and not list individual names. If there is a need to indicate the sponsorship of an individual, then the individual must pay for the cost of the items and not Student Government. If there is a need for an individual to co-sponsor with Student Government, then approval must be obtained by me.”

And Mawjood said he never lied – he had a different area for senators to concentrate on.

“Concentrate on serving the students. Don’t concentrate on attacking individuals during the semester or every other semester. I know it’s a habit. When certain presidents come up, you attack the presidents. But are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?

“Why can’t we be united? Why do you come here everyday, every week, and have to make life hard in Student Government?,” Mawjood said at the senate meeting on Jan. 31.

When asked again about the Bahamas’ ticket donations, Mawjood explained, “The money was given to me. And I’m buying stuff for the students with that money. I [bought] the tickets with the money that was donated,” said Mawjood.

Though when Senator Jennifer Steelman asked the president if he could provide a list of donators, he didn’t name names.

“I have individuals who give me money. People come up to me and want to give me money. They don’t say the money’s for Student Government. I chose to give the money to the students,” Mawjood said explaining how people have given him thousands of dollars.

Another senator asked Mawjood if he used donated money on all the pizza.

Mawjood replied, “No, that’s Student Government’s money.”

After the censure, “a slap on the wrist,” passed, Stone had one question for Mawjood. “So, in the future, will you be totally forthcoming and honest on all matters, or are you just going to lie to us?

Mawjood replied: “Well, in the future, I’m going to be just the same as I was before. I’m not going to be honest and forthcoming because I was honest and forthcoming.”

Some SG summaries

*Student Government has a budget of about $5 million.

*When you see a sign saying “FREE FOOD,” it’s not really free. You paid when you paid your tuition.

*For every credit hour, students pay $10 to the A&S fees-money going directly to fund SG.

*With $5 million, SG provides students with free scantrons, food fests, events, WOWL radio station, this student newspaper, and other services.

*A&S fees cannot be used to fund trips that go out of the country.