By Sarah Light
Utah Valley State College”s student government officials may have violated contract terms when they invited Michael Moore to speak later this month for a fee of more than $50,000.
Kay Anderson, an Orem resident, came forward during the anti-Hannity rally at UVSC on Monday and said the student government should be immediately dismissed because it had violated its constitution with Moore”s contract.
“They agreed to spend roughly $60,000,” Anderson said. “There is no way they can argue that they agreed to anything less than the contract amount, which is $51,000. Their constitution limits them to $50,000 without jumping through four specific hoops.”
According to the school”s constitution, if the student government plans to spend more than $50,000 on a single event, it must publish the expense in the school”s newspaper and other locations throughout the campus at least five days before the acceptance.
In addition, the student government must have at least one open forum to discuss the expense, followed by a majority vote by those in attendance before going through with the expenditure.
Jim Bassi, UVSC”s student body president who was involved with the decision to invite Moore, disagrees with the accusations and said the student government has not spent more than $50,000 on this single expense.
“Our policy says we can”t spend over $50,000 for a single purchase with student fees, and we haven”t,” Bassi said. “The contract – the over $50,500 is made up of two different fees, one for a speaking fee and then the other for travel, for facilities and other expenses while he”s here.”
Anderson, however, said it is irrelevant if the student government separates the expenses into two categories because all the fees are part of one contract.
“If they”re trying to break this down, all they”re trying to do is maneuver around their own constitution, which becomes interesting,” Anderson said. “Here for two weeks we”ve been fighting about respecting the constitution and then you”ve got the student government over there, backtracking and trying to avoid their own constitution.”
Anderson said he has emailed all of the Board of Trustees and talked to an attorney in regards to the situation.
“They have totally ignored their own constitution, and now they”re trying to backtrack and justify why what they did was not unconstitutional,” Anderson said. “It clearly was. This isn”t about free speech. This is simply about whether UVSC is going to be respectful of our valley.”
Although formal litigations have not been filed against the student government leaders, Anderson said he hopes the situation is resolved since it affects the entire community.
UVSC student Sean Vreeland, who organized the petition to recall the student government leaders, said he and the other organizers will meet with the student government officials today to discuss the contract violations.
“There”s obvious conflictions with the contract and the student constitution,” Vreeland said. “We feel that it”s very important for people to realize in actuality how much money was spent. They”ve been saying $40,000, and that”s just not the case.”
Vreeland said he and other organizers of the petition plan to ask the student leaders to step down from their positions.
If the leaders do not resign, Vreeland said he will continue with the petition efforts to recall the student government .
“I don”t hold them personally accountable for the initial decision to invite Michael Moore because I think that they just simply failed to look at the ramifications that may come of this,” Vreeland said. “All I want them to do is admit they made a mistake.”
Following the meeting with the student government leaders, the organizers of the petition will post the official contract on their Web site.
“These people just don”t want to give up,” Bassi said. “It gets frustrating and it wears on me, but we”re doing the right thing so we”re going to stick to it.”