By Jack Russo
This was the fifth time I stared into the hopeless piece of paper: “Has not taken treasurers exam,” it read. The open wrath I had unleashed on the S.A. office on previous occasions didn’t seem worth the hot air anymore. My crusade was over. For the prior month and a half I had played a game of legal ping-pong with the S.A treasurers office. I had bought pizza for my group’s GIM under the assumption that the S.A reimbursement process would be a breeze. Boy was I in for a treat.
The paperwork seemed relatively straightforward, Name, purchase, receipt, and mailing address, what could possibly go wrong? When I returned a week latter the rejection notice was crammed on to a post-it-note in barely legible handwriting. I was miffed, but undeterred. I wanted to learn to do the voucher process right.
“The receipt’s not itemized, we don’t know what you bought” said the S.A Financial assistant.
“But it’s Nirchis!? Who the hell buys anything other than pizza from Nirchis?” I protested.
“It’s just S.A protocol.”
“O.K, are there any other problems with the voucher?” I asked.
“Just use the typed voucher form next time, and you’ll be good to go.”
Later that day, I hoofed it back to Nirchis only to find they had to hand write the receipt because the original was no longer in the database. After finagling with adobe reader (this involved being spoken to like a child by the SA VP for finance), I was ready for another go. One week later, I was rejected again.
The stupid yellow post-it-note was once again crammed with barely readable objections. I was furious; I made sure everyone in that cozy office knew it. The SA bureaucracy had consumed more time than the money was worth but I was determined to get what was mine, if for no other reason than principle. And so my game of molasses ping pong continued with the S.A.
Every time I got a little closer, but with every voucher a new objection that was previously absent was added. After several more tries, an S.A staffer who had been helpful remarked “Why you doing this? This is your treasurer’s responsibility. Have you ever read Atlas Shrugged? You’re libertarians right? When people put their responsibility on your back, you should just shrug it off.” I was truly in Alice in Wonderland. An SA staffer was preaching the virtues of Objectivism.
Ultimately, It was our group’s fault. Unbeknownst to me, neither our President nor our Treasurer had taken the treasurer’s exam and therefore I could not be reimbursed until one of them did so. However the other objections should have been addressed the first time I asked, “are there any other problems with the voucher?” Not after six trips to the SA office.
I’m not trying shame anyone. Rather we should confront the obvious. The University is holding back the student community, not supporting it. The $95 that gets sucked out of our wallets every semester to pay for our student group’s budgets needs to stop. Student should have the choice of making a difference, not be forced to jump through hoops to get a their money back.