Senate President Tyler Rice attempted to adjourn the Jan. 22 Student Senate meeting, but before he could hit the gavel, Vice President of Student Affairs Davida Haywood, Ph.D., who said earlier that she had been summoned to the meeting, stepped in to clarify several issues that had come to her attention, but especially the “$3,000 clothing issue” that had caused confusion and tension between the executive and legislative branches.
According to several sources in the Student Senate, the SGA Executive officers spent almost $3,000 from the SGA budget for outfits to wear to the Magic City Classic without Student Senate approval to spend the money. This discussion, according to the same sources has been going back and forth for the last two months, so Haywood took the liberty to speak to both the Executive and Legislative Branches.
“Say whatever you all need to say so that you can permit me to say what I need to say,” Haywood said. “The card was swiped, the card is in my name. If you all want to hold me responsible for going to Dillard’s and H&M to buy the clothing, then you do so. But when that bill came at the end of the month, it was going to be reconciled and charged to SGA … it happened, they did not come through the proper channels. I blame it on the piss poor training that I sat in this room last year and got fussed out about because no one wanted it to happen. I am going to tell y’all right now, this foolishness is going to end. There will be no impeachment.”
Haywood then announced that Student Body President David Whitlow, Jr. and Executive Treasurer Aliyah Muhammad would not be impeached.
Some members of the Senate have been concerned about Haywood’s actions in regards to spending money from the Student Government Association (SGA) budget before the budget had been approved. Also, the executive treasurer did not formally request the funds by going before the full Student Senate. Haywood took full responsibility for the mishap and told the Senators that the executive officers were notified that the money would be taken out of the contract services budget line of the SGA budget beforehand.
“The money has been reconciled, so if you want to hold me accountable for that because the card is in my name then so be it,” Haywood said. “It is fine, it is what it is. The bill has been paid. There is nothing that I can do about it.”
The Senate has brought charges against the executive president and treasurer, but according to Haywood, those charges will not be moving forward.
“I do not believe we are making any progress or doing any work by focusing on this. It happened,” she said. “They [the executive officers] did not come through the proper channels, and I blame it on the piss poor training that I sat in this room last year and got fussed out about because no one wanted it to happen. Until you all are ready to accept responsibility for your shortcomings, you are not going to blame it on the administration.”
Haywood also mentioned that due to the ongoing conflict, she has been disrespected by her colleagues and students on numerous occasions.
“I am doing just like you all come to my office and do me because I have sat quietly for too long and took so much mess,” Haywood continued. “What is most disappointing is that it has been the people who work for me, who work around me, who claim that they are in the same boat as me who did this to me. I don’t appreciate it. I have been quiet for too long.”
She urged the Senators to move on from the current dispute and focus on things happening around campus such as students and campus organizations.
Haywood ended her speech by saying, “This issue needs to end tonight. People are talking about bringing this to the Board of Trustee members, for what? This will embarrass us even more… How are you all going to make accusations when you all have not been meeting regularly and not meeting with the right people? You can’t half step, and some of y’all are half-stepping. I apologize for getting out of character, but I am tired.”
It has not been confirmed if the Senate will move forward with the allegations against Whitlow and Muhammad. The Senate will meet again on Wednesday, Feb. 5 and possibly discuss the matter in further detail.