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On November 30, 2000, just before the Student Bar Association members and organizations of Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law filed a petition with the judiciary of the Student Bar Association, challenging various actions of the SBA’s senate, executive and budget committee on constitutional grounds, the SBA executive ordered a cancellation of the student government’s meeting scheduled for 7:30 PM that evening. On the morning of December 4, 2000, SBA Vice President Adam Grant issued a directive to SBA Treasurer David Tawil not to disperse senate pre-approved funds, allocated under the current student activities budget, to the student groups and organizations that were named petitioners in the complaint that was filed with the judiciary. The vice president ordered a complete freeze on all funds allocated to the groups that challenged the budget and the budget process. In the directive memo, he ordered the treasurer as follows: “[Y]ou are not to disperse funds to any group included in the caption of the dismissed complaint until such time as that group’s claims are either resolved by the judiciary or withdrawn by that club.” The vice president insisted that this was the only reasonable and fair way of dealing with the situation presented by the petition. The executive and the senate were aware of the solicitation of signatures for the petition on November 30 and the previous day, and the SBA meeting which was suppose to take place on the abovementioned date was canceled only a few hours before its scheduled time. Some senators stated that the meeting was canceled for the personal reasons of one senator. Other senators and student group leaders who were involved in filing the petition with the judiciary were suspicious of the reasons that led the executive officers to order the meeting cancelled, especially since the cancellation was on such short notice and the meeting would have been the last one of the fall semester. In regard to the vice president’s directive, some senators said that the officer was without constitutional or legislative authority to override the senate’s legislation that approved the budgetary allocations to the student groups. Also, the rules and regulations of the budget committee did not vest veto powers in the vice president in the instance of an application to the judiciary by a student group. These senators pointed out that instead of freezing the entire budget or proceeding as approved by the senate, the vice president chose to single out the petitioners for fund depravation, even though the judiciary dismissed the petition challenging the entire budget on December 1, 2000. Whether SBA President Andrew Leftt ordered the vice president to issue the directive, or whether the president took no part in the issuance was not clear. In response, on December 5, 2000, the Black Asian Latino Law Students Association, on behalf of itself and its affiliated organizations, who were all named in the caption of the petition to the judiciary, sent a memo to Dean Paul Verkuil, Dean Stewart Sterk, and Dean Matt Levine, asking for the deans’ immediate intervention in this seemingly retaliatory maneuver by the vice president. Dean Sterk summoned the SBA president and vice president to his tenth floor office. The dean questioned the vice president’s motives, as well as those of the president, and threatened to take the entire budget process out of the student government’s hands, since this was the second straight year that the administration was caused to be involved in an SBA budgetary dispute. Within thirty minutes of the meeting with the administration, President Leftt issued a retraction of the vice president’s questionable directive, and only suggested to Treasurer David Tawil that he decrease budgetary spending while the dismissed petition was still pending resolution. The retraction stated that it clarified the confusion of the directive. President Leftt and Vice President Grant, however, insist that the vice president issued his directive before the judiciary dismissed the petition, and that the president’s retraction was published before the dean’s intervention. They add that the meeting with Dean Sterk only took place after the retraction “to clarify that the matter was resolved,” as the president put it. However, neither the president nor the vice president would disclose why the clarification with the dean was necessary, especially after the president declared in his comments to the Cardozo Insider that the SBA president does not answer to the administration and criticized student organizations for dealing with him through the dean’s office. Meanwhile, Vice President Grant stated that he firmly stands behind his retracted directive. Nonetheless, the president’s retraction was not made available for publication to the student body. Later in the week, at the SBA budget committee’s last meeting of the semester, the committee voted unanimously to open their meetings to the student body. Several senators stated that it was about time. However, this was quickly reversed by the president. This week President Leftt commented that the matter of the petition and student complaints about the SBA’s closed door policies is behind the executive and that “we are ready to move on with making the school the best place it can be.”

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