SGA Judicial Board rules unanimously in favor of Student Director of Finance on all counts

April 4, 2011

Jessica Lynch
jlynch@uccs.edu

On March 2, Student Body President Kristina Achey addressed The Judicial Board with concerns regarding Evan Shelton’s decisions and behavior as the Student Director of Finance. An open hearing took place on March 29; the Judicial Board ruled on April 1, in favor of Evan Shelton on all four counts.

Achey’s initial appeal detailed concerns regarding blatant conflicts of interest, lack of viewpoint neutrality and Shelton’s overarching role as Director of Finance and involvement on the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC). Achey made note of fifteen specific instances in which she believed Shelton had acted in an unprofessional manner. One noteworthy instance concerned the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union (APISU) and Army ROTC. While APISU was denied funding for T-shirts because they were viewed as a personal expense, on Oct. 5, ROTC’s request for 12 hooded sweatshirts was approved. This, Achey believed, was a result of Diana Timmerman’s status as both a voting member of BAC and a member of Army ROTC. Other decisions made by the Budget Advisory Committee, Achey explained, were influenced by Shelton’s position of power and his involvement with numerous clubs on campus.

“Thank you all for being here,” opened Achey when she took the floor as plaintiff at the beginning of last Tuesday’s hearing. “It is important we leave personal allegiances outside this room,” and made reference to the difficulty of the situation given her close working relationship with the respondent, Evan Shelton.

Achey called Senate President Stephanie West to the stand. West was appointed last semester as vice chair of the BAC to act in case of Shelton’s absence; her appointment, though, was never documented and showed, Achey claimed, “negligence and disregard for the rules,” by Shelton. Achey also mentioned the lack of recusal records, which, West answered, are excluded from meeting minutes as recorded by West per her position’s duties.

An email was then produced by Achey from Michelle Cutran, club leader of APISU. In said email, Cutran expressed her disappointment in and frustration with the personal expenses ruling and said that Shelton had “chuckled” when Cutran first addressed him with the issue. Another issue brought to the court by Achey was one of viewpoint neutrality. “When he [Evan Shelton] presents his own financial report, he has too much power and influence,” Achey said.

Evan responded by calling Stephanie West to the stand once more. She was asked whether he came to the BAC with funding proposals as a club member or as the director of finance. She reiterated that he came forth as a club member and in regards to the APISU situation, the club was denied funding because the T-shirts were for one event and could not be reused.

House Speaker Chris Hollander was called to the stand and asked a similar line of questioning. Hollander answered Shelton’s questions of conflict of interest and said, “I see you more as an expert…you were not influential.” Representative at Large Dianna Timmerman also claimed “no viewpoint neutrality issue” in regard to the APISU conflict. She said her vote was not influenced by Shelton’s position of power. Shelton explained, “As you’ve seen they don’t believe I had any influence on them. I have to be the expert. I don’t put my personal views on any of these. With the recusals, I’m out of the vote for conflict of interest. I do not feel that I benefited financially. This money was not for me, but for the club…to benefit students of UCCS.”

Achey responded by pointing out that Shelton personally started two clubs on campus. This makes him personally interested, she furthered. Shelton responded, again, by clarifying his role as the student director of finance. “This isn’t a private gain. I have not benefited financially and when there was conflict of interest I recused,” he added.

Of the four counts voted on by the Judicial Board, all were dismissed with a five to zero vote in Shelton’s favor. The first count dealt with the case involving APISU and was rendered a moot point because no formal submission from the club had been received prior to Oct. 5; the ROTC sweatshirts had been used as advertising rather than for personal use.

In regard to viewpoint neutrality, Evan Shelton recused himself from potential cases of conflict of interest and his decision making was found not at fault. The third count, which dealt specifically with his job description, also found Shelton not guilty. Lastly, there was only a perceived conflict of interest when Shelton proposed two budgets for clubs he had created; because it was only perceived, this count was consequently dismissed by the board.