By: Kate Rogers, News Editor
The Student Senate has implemented an official purchase card policy for student organizations in response to a series of issues surrounding the Student Government Association (SGA) spending that arose during the fall semester. The Gorham Campus Activities Board (GCAB), the Outdoor Adventure Board (OAB) both have functioning card holding accounts, and the Commuter Student Association (CSA) is in the process.
The cards are specifically for SGA entities according to Student Senate Treasurer David Reed. Student Organizations have to fill out the same purchase orders that they did previously, which all require 3 signatures, but they are only for record keeping purposes now according to Reed. “The rest will be done through recording receipts, invoices and other information connected with the purchases and then reconciling that with what is on the accounts,” said Reed.
According to Reed, the USM SGA is the first in the system to have a functioning card system.
At the Student Senate meeting on Friday, the treasurer of the OAB gave an update on how the purchase card was working for them, saying that it was going well. “I think that there’s room for improvement in streamlining the reimbursement of the card but I think that’s something that was going to happen no matter what,” he said.
Reed responded to this by saying that there are plans for making the process easier. “We are going to try and pursue electronic transfers for that so you can be reimbursed as purchases are made,” Reed said.
The use of a card for some student organizations became necessary after the UMaine system informed the SGA that student organizations could not use faculty purchase and travel cards to make purchases as they had been for some time. However, the organizations could not give up the use of cards altogether, as a card is necessary for many things such as reserving a hotel or purchasing online.
On December 9th the Free Press published an article on an incident where the Gorham Campus Activities Board (GCAB) opened and used an unauthorized card holding account to spend their allotted student activity funds. The account was opened after various miscommunications that led GCAB to believe it was authorized.
After the Student Senate discovered that the GCAB account was operating, it was seized and emptied. Reed said that the issue has since been resolved, with GCAB providing all the necessary documents for an audit. The development of an official purchase card policy is part of this resolution.