Thursday, June 27 — The Associated Students of Michigan State University has voted to transfer all of its funds into on-campus accounts following an ultimatum given by the university.
The MSU Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution Friday that required ASMSU to move all of its money into university accounts by July 1, as well as align itself with university business practices. The university’s decision was based on “material weaknesses and deficiencies in internal controls” that were identified by an audit of ASMSU’s finances from 2007 to 2011, as stated in the resolution.
The resolution said the university would take control of the student fee that is paid to ASMSU every semester if it didn’t move the funds. The university had frozen payment of those funds to ASMSU since April because the organization refused to transfer its funds.
On Wednesday, ASMSU’s general assembly voted 12-2 to transfer nearly $500,000 from private off-campus accounts to on-campus accounts. ASMSU representatives believe the move will lessen its autonomy from the university as an independent student voice.
In a statement, ASMSU President Evan Martinak compared the university’s actions to a carjacking. He said ASMSU was forced to abide by the university’s demands because of the threat to strip its funding.
“When someone walks up to your car and holds a gun to your head, you get out of the car. You don't argue with them. You just hand over the car, and figure out the rest later,” he said. “I would have liked to been able to have a more open dialogue with University officials regarding the ongoing issues facing both the University and ASMSU, but unfortunately tonight's vote was forced upon our organization, and moving forward we hope to have a more open dialogue with the University."
At Friday’s board meeting, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said the university’s desire to have the ASMSU funds in on-campus accounts was not about diminishing the organization’s autonomy, but was a move that would improve ASMSU’s financial accountability to students.