Editor’s note: This article was updated on Jan. 24, 2017, to correct the source of scrutiny of Gregory Woodfield’s tenure. It was updated Jan. 29, 2017, to add a link to original budget documents.
As of Dec. 31, WSUSA President Gregory J. Woodfield has spent a total of $21,404.62 of his $24,000 budget.
As with other branches of WSUSA, each leader is given a fixed budget at the beginning of the fiscal year in July, provided by student fees. The funds are then used at the leader’s discretion.
“As I first entered office, I was instructed that these funds came from the students,” said Joe Favero, WSUSA president from 2014–15. “I was then instructed to use the funds to enrich the student experience on campus.”
According to expense reports, a total of $7,487.03 on office renovations and an additional $8,182.25 was spent at the campus store. The funds went toward new office furniture, electrical wiring, a mini fridge, new computers, a microwave and a wall-mounted television.
Student fees, which make up a part of what students pay in tuition each semester, fund the clubs and organizations on campus. Each fiscal year in the spring, a committee is formed to allocate student fees to different organizations according to need. The funds are spent by each organization at its leader’s discretion.
“If you understand how infrastructure works, you know that renovations aren’t something you can just delay,” Woodfield said of his decision. ” We had the money, and so we made the moves to get the renovations done. My goal was to make SIL be a more welcoming and aesthetically pleasing place, some place that students wanted go and hang out.”
The renovations, which took place between August and October 2016, were made to the commons area of the Student Involvement and Leadership offices, as well as the office space dedicated to WSUSA executives. The most extensive renovations took place in the WSUSA common area, where additional electrical wiring was required to accommodate the new computers, a TV and kitchenware.
According to expense reports, the president spent 73 percent of his total budget on the renovations, leaving $2,595.38 — 11 percent of his budget — for the remainder of the year.
“If you look at the past five years, there hasn’t been anything on office renovations,” Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Tara Peris-Caputo said. “The largest expenditure came with the electrical wiring, but with the renovations, we were able to make the work space more comfortable for a total of 17 students at a time, instead of the original eight that it accommodated.”
In documents obtained from SIL, Woodfield’s budget was compared to his predecessors Cash Knight and Favero, who both spent significant amounts of their budgets — 46 percent and 20 percent, respectively — on activities, an area where Woodfield has only spent 4 percent of his budget thus far.
“For me, I saw the funds I was given as money to be spent on the student body as a whole,” Knight said. “Whether it was the membership fees to the Alumni Association to the fundraising activity we had at The Junction for a service abroad opportunity in Africa, I wanted to use that money to help enrich the life of every student if I could.”
Favero’s largest expenditures after activities were in apparel/uniforming and luncheons/receptions at 20 and 18 percent of his budget, respectively.
Other significant areas of Knight’s expenditures were also in membership fees and apparel/uniforming, at 18 and 16 percent of his total budget, respectively. Woodfield has not spent any of his budget on membership fees or apparel/uniforming.
“In the past, the money for membership fees went to the Alumni Center to help provide each member of WSUSA membership in the Student Alumni Association as well as some swag,” Peris-Caputo said of the fees. “This year the Student Alumni Association made changes to their policies in such a way that those fees were no longer necessary.”
Woodfield has recently fallen under the scrutiny of members of the WSUSA Student Senate and other members of the student association and was officially censured by the Senate for neglecting duties pertaining to his office as president.