College Council leadership is planning to meet with Emory’s Office of the General Counsel to confirm the legality of a proposal to make certain club funding requests public, according to College Council co-Chief of Staff Jacob Hicks (18Ox, 20C).
The proposal, which Hicks described as “preliminary,” would give individual clubs the option to release their funding requests to the public. The plan comes after College Council began restricting student access at legislative meetings and redacting club funding bills this semester. When the Wheel requested a copy of club funding requests approved during College Council’s Sept. 26 meeting, Vice President of Communications Alexander Chanen (21C) said the information is “protected” and emailed a document with all information redacted.
Hicks previously said making funding requests public could put clubs in danger of price manipulation from outside vendors.
College Council Vice President of Budget Hithardhi Duggireddy (20C) said College Council received mixed feedback about releasing financial information during a Nov. 2 budget hearing.
“It was 50-50,” Duggireddy said, noting that some clubs were “indifferent” while other clubs expressed reservations to sharing their finances.
However, he reiterated that any proposal would not be finalized until after College Council’s meeting with the General Counsel. Attorneys within the Office of the General Counsel are University employees who “provide legal representation to Emory University and Healthcare,” according to the office’s website.
“We don’t know if [our proposal] has a constitutional basis or not,” Duggireddy said. “It’s whatever the General Counsel will advise us to do because we don’t know if clubs have the autonomy to do so or if we are the only ones that can do so.”
Student Government Association (SGA) Attorney General Kaia Ordal (17Ox, 19C) wrote in a Nov. 5 email to the Wheel that she met with Duggireddy to develop the proposal. Ordal and Duggireddy presented the proposal to the Constitutional Council on Nov. 1, which “agreed that it was a great solution,” Ordal wrote.
After consulting the Office of the General Counsel, College Council leadership plans to draft a more concrete proposal and meet again with the Constitutional Council, Duggireddy said.
At the Nov. 1 Constitutional Council meeting, “the concept was OK’ed, but we’re trying to figure out how do we implement it,” Duggireddy said.
He said College Council leadership would also consult legislators before submitting a final proposal to the legislature in the form of a bill.
“In the end, it’s them who make the decisions on the bills,” Duggireddy said. “We feel it’s only right for them to have a say in all of this.”
Duggireddy hopes to have a final proposal “ready to go” by Nov. 28 but said the timeline could change as the proposal is still only tentative.
“One decision leads to a whole cascade of other things that need to be looked at, which is why we’re taking our time with this,” Duggireddy said. “We just want to make sure that … everything we do has a constitutional basis.”
Senior Vice President and General Counsel Steve Sencer redirected the Wheel’s request for comment to Associate Vice President of Communications Nancy Seideman, who told the Wheel to “follow up with Jacob Hicks.”