Club affected by second executive order
McCann withdrew RSO status on last day
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 31, 2012 11:05
Do you think it was fair for McCann to withdraw the Mobile Innovation Club's registration?
The Mobile Innovation Club is experiencing backlash after former Student Government Association President Matthew McCann issued an executive order withdrawing registration for the club on his last day of presidency.
In his executive order, which was issued May 9, McCann wrote that the Mobile Innovation Club “exists as a function of another university department” rather than being supported and sustained by students. McCann also wrote that the club “supports faculty and staff initiatives as well as research and commercialization interests.”
This isn’t the first time the Mobile Innovation Club has been affected by an executive order. On Dec. 14, 2011, McCann issued an executive order to cease the processing of a $1,000 allocation that the club was going to use to purchase a club banner, a banner design, cloud servers and storage, an 8GB iPod Touch, a .org domain name, a Kindle Fire and an Apple iOS developer program.
McCann ceased the processing of the allocation because he thought that the items would not benefit the student body as a whole, and he felt that SGA should not fund start-up organizations.
The Mobile Innovation Club became a registered student organization in fall 2011. It began as a collaboration between Paul Szerlip, current president, and Colin Forward, current treasurer.
“The goal is to build a community of people who are interested in innovating with mobile and ideally working on some socially minded projects,” Forward said of the club’s purpose. “There’s also no mobile curriculum at UCF whereas local universities like Full Sail have a full degree … and there’s not a single [mobile development] class at UCF … so we’re really trying to fill that gap that exists.”
However, the club’s functionality has been limited since it was not granted the original allocation. Forward said that based on the actions of the club thus far, the claims in the second executive order are unfounded.
“All that we’ve done so far are hold general meetings, bring employers on campus to meet students, have workshop times where students can work on their projects and then go through the FAO [Financial Allocations for Organizations committee] allocation process, which got approved by Senate overwhelmingly both times,” he said.
Because there was concern about SGA funding desirable electronic items, the Mobile Innovation Club requested another allocation, but this time it removed the electronic items and focused more on promotional materials. The measure passed favorably in the Financial Allocations for Organizations committee on April 18, and there was no objection when it was read into the minutes during the Senate meeting the following night, as was the case for the original allocation, Szerlip said.
Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution of the Student Body of the University of Central Florida states the SGA president has 10 school days to veto any measure passed by Senate. No veto was given and instead, an executive order was issued withdrawing registration for the club more than two weeks later on McCann’s last day in office.
Szerlip said the club was not issued any kind of warning or consulted before the executive order was issued. He also said that the club didn’t find out that its registration had been withdrawn until it went to spend its FAO allocation on May 16. At that time, RSO Coordinator of the Office of Student Involvement Matthew Betz emailed Szerlip a copy of the executive order.
Prior to any executive order being issued, Forward and Szerlip said they had issues getting the first allocation processed. Forward said that staff at the Activity and Service Fee Office, including Director Paul Constantino, refused to process the allocation because they said UCF’s Purchasing Department would not allow items like the iPod Touch and the Kindle Fire to be funded.
Forward said he went to the Purchasing Department’s office and spoke with the director, Greg Robinson, who said that neither he nor his staff had been contacted about the Mobile Innovation’s Club allocation. In an email to Forward, Robinson said that at first glance he didn’t think there would be any problem purchasing the items. Robinson was unable to provide a comment at the time of press.
Forward also said he was told a similar story by the people who work at the auditing department.
“We couldn’t find anyone that would verify the story that we were told by ASF about why they couldn’t purchase it [the items in the allocation], so as far as we can tell, the folks at ASF are basically covering for the group in the executive branch that didn’t want us to get what we were looking for, what we had actually been granted and approved,” Forward said.