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Even though the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Student Bar Association’s constitution specifically states that the budgeting of the yearly Student Activities Fund must be open to the students, the SBA Budget Committee closed all of its proceedings to students. The Budget Committee meetings were also closed to SBA Senators, who are not part of the committee. In fact, Senator Peretz Berk was asked to leave one of the committee’s meetings when he dropped by uninvited. “What was I supposed to do, wait for security to come and get me?” said Senator Berk. “I left.” When asked why the committee’s meetings were closed, SBA President Andrew Leftt stated, “This is the way it was always done.” President Leftt also added that it is more efficient and convenient for the committee to put the Student Activities Budget together by this method. The budget proceedings were also closed to the student newspaper. SBA Treasurer David Tawil would not disclose any information about the budget to Insider reporters. The treasurer stated that the budget would only be disclosed following the appeals process, which, according to the SBA announcement to all student groups, is also closed to the public. In the week of October 2, 2000, the budget committee’s pre-appellate work on student groups’ budgets was completed and approved by the Senate. However, the finished product was not disclosed to the students at large or the newspaper. Meanwhile, the student groups were only permitted to see their own budgets, and not the entire Student Activities Budget. The newspaper was informed that the SBA will not disclose any portion of the budget for publication. However, if the individual student groups want to disclose their budget information and allocations, they are free to do so. According to one SBA Budget Committee member, all budget documents distributed to the committee by Treasurer Tawil and Vice President Adam Grant were ordered to be returned for destruction, and will not be disclosed either before or after the budget appeal. It was also confirmed that the committee has yet to finalize the Student Bar Association’s own budget for the year, even though the Senate voted and approved the student groups’ budgets. This means that less than 50% of the entire Student Activities Fund for this year has been accounted for thus far. In total, the activities fund at the SBA’s disposal this year is approximately $100,000. The exact number was not disclosed for this edition. Additionally, the treasurer and the vice president did not disclose the exact amount of this year’s activities fund to the Budget Committee. They only disclosed an unconfirmed approximation. Several senators on the Budget Committee objected to this type of disclosure, but it is unknown whether any committee member confirmed the approximate numbers with Cardozo’s Office of Business Affairs. Furthermore, according to Senators David Gross, Vivian Walton, Tova Rosenberg, Kunle Bankole, and Peretz Berk, the Senate does not know the reason why the Budget Committee meetings and proceedings and the SBA meetings related to the budget are closed to the public. It is unknown whether any senators objected to the closed door policy, or whether any senators decided not to proceed under the policy. “They are not even telling us what the criteria for the budget is,” stated Senator Berk, referring to the budget committee. Treasurer Tawil added that all SBA meeting minutes for the entire school year to date, requested by the newspaper for disclosure, will not be released due to their content on the activities budget.

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