New IUSG leaders may have violated bylaws

Cooper Tinsley and Nicole Santiuste won the latest race for president and vice president of Indiana University Student Government (IUSG) after their opponents, Dylan Schutte and Reese Wiley, were disqualified for over-campaigning in violation of the IUSG bylaws. The disqualified pair already won the popular vote in the election by more than 10 percent. IUSG records, however, indicate both Tinsley and Santiuste may have also violated the bylaws in the past two months in their previous roles on the IUSG Executive Board.

[RELATED: “IUSG budgets $42,000 for sex items”]

Tinsley

Photo Credit: IUSG

Tinsley appears to have incorrectly applied for around $9,000 in total for events and supplies on Feb. 9, Feb. 23 and Feb. 23 respectively.

This occurred while he was serving as Chief of Staff and he received authorization for each request here, here and here.

According to the IUSG bylaws, “No person who is not a director [of an IUSG policy department] may apply or may be granted funding.” The Chief of Staff position would not appear to qualify to apply for funding under this rule. 

The stated reasoning from the Board of Finances to fund one of Tinsley’s events was to “help spread awareness about the religion [of Judaism].” Another of Tinsley’s requests was to purchase books for students to study for the Law School Admissions Test.  

Nonetheless, students who are not members of the IUSG have also been allowed to present and apply for funding for their student organizations, including Shrey Jain on Feb. 16 and Katelyn Wo on Feb. 23, so it is unclear whether this rule is typically followed. 

Santiuste

Photo Credit: IUSG

Santiuste appears to have improperly utilized and transferred funds intended for the Red Zone Initiative. 

The Red Zone is a period which lasts from the beginning of the fall semester to Thanksgiving Break when there is typically a higher rate of sexual assault on college campuses. The initiative funding was set aside for “an information campaign during the 2023 Fall semester for the purposes of educating students about consent in sexual context and of lowering rates of sexual assault on campus.”

The funds were intended to be spent in the fall, but instead, $1,801.11 was transferred to a separate fund for purchasing emergency contraception. 

The Plan B fund had already been budgeted and spent $30,000. Assuming no legislation was passed, it is unclear if this transfer was statutorily permissible. If it were found to be impermissible, the request would be considered void. 

The former treasurer, Aman Gandhi, approved the request three days after his term expired. This also appears to be a violation of the bylaws, which state that “elected executive officers will serve terms of one year ending on April 15.”

The Red Zone Initiative received $2,500 from the budget passed in May of last year, which is roughly comparable to that of previous years. It is unclear where an additional $7,500 granted to the initiative came from or why so much would be budgeted for the fall semester and left over in the Spring.

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IUSG Supreme Court

The bylaws clarify that an “unethical use of finances” is an impeachable offense for officers of the IUSG. It does not go into detail in defining what might constitute an “unethical use of finances,” but the IUSG Supreme Court would likely have the final say. As both candidates are no longer in the same positions as when the offenses occurred, it is unclear what actions could be taken by the court in any case. 

The Collegiate Commons has reached out to the IUSG, and this article will be updated accordingly. NOTE: Most links in this article require an IU email to access, but copies can be found in this folder. If you notice any missing files or any factual errors in this article, please contact the reporter here. This article is the work of the author alone and does not reflect the views of his employer.

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