SG VP, Founders' Day Director defend actions

SG VP, Founders' Day Director defend actions
Jacque Martin defended her actions in regards to the postponed Founders\' Day Ball at the SG meeting Sunday.

In a question-and-answer session with the Undergraduate Senate yesterday, Alex Prescott, the Student Government Vice President, defended his and his team’s actions regarding the now-postponed Founders’ Day Ball.

“We got everything in when [the Post Office Pavilion] asked for it, and it was circumstances beyond our control,” Prescott said. “The ball was in their court at that point.”

The Ball, originally scheduled for last Saturday, was put off due to complications from snowfalls earlier this month, as well as contractual complications, The Eagle previously reported.

Prescott said there are no financial ramifications resulting from the postponement aside from a $500 application fee for the Post Office Pavilion, the venue that was supposed to host the Ball.

He said that AU might pursue legal action against the Post Office Pavilion to recover the fee since the site “did not hold up their end of the bargain,” Prescott said in his testimony.

In a subsequent interview, Prescott said he could not comment on the situation. At press time, The Eagle could not get in touch with Student Activities Programs Adviser Jarrod MacNeil, who has helped oversee the planning of the Ball and is now handling relations with the pavilion.

“At this point, it’s escalated to a level where it has to be our professional office, especially where legal might have to come in,” Prescott said.

Rodney Dyer, general manager of the pavilion, said that the planners of the Ball submitted the application and contract later than recommended.

“Even without the snowstorm, they were already in a situation where they were extremely low on time,” Dyer previously told The Eagle. “If you don’t [submit the contract early] there is a good chance we won’t get back to you.”

MacNeil previously told The Eagle that contract negotiations were on track when Dyer surprised them with an extra step in the process to secure the pavilion. Because of a previous incident at the pavilion where a student was stabbed, all universities must submit an application and a fee before submitting a contract.

In the meantime, Prescott and Jacque Martin, the director of the Founders’ Day Ball said they are looking for other venues to hold the Ball and they are looking at a few dates in mid-March and early April.

“We’re hoping because we have good relations with some of the people we’ve been working with that it shouldn’t be too difficult and that there shouldn’t be too many obstacles in the planning process,” Prescott said.

During his time at the podium, which clocked in at over 30 minutes, Prescott answered extensive questions from senators, some supportive and others more pointed in nature.

Class of 2010 Senator Steve Dalton cited his own research into the pavilion’s scheduling practices as a reason why Martin and Prescott should have secured the venue earlier.

When a senator asked Prescott why he did not advertise for the event prior to the snowstorm, Prescott said he was following university policy that groups cannot advertise for events before contracts are finalized.

Martin, who took the stand after Prescott, said her biggest problem throughout the planning process was a lack of communication between her and the pavilion.

A senator asked Martin why she didn’t send members of the senate an e-mail informing them of the contractual issues she was experiencing. She said she needed the approval of Student Activities before she could notify the Senate.

“Student Activities is the one who signs the contracts for us, and unfortunately that means I have to report to them before [the Senate],” Martin said.

Overall, Prescott said as time goes by from the day he announced the postponement, more senators are vocalizing their support for him. Yet some meetings with members of the student body took a different tone.

“People are angry, and rightfully so, that the event didn’t happen this weekend, and that’s usually how I’ve been approached, is with a sense of confusion and anger,” Prescott said. “I don’t think they’re aware of the planning process, and I’ve been able to answer their questions, which has cleared up a lot of things for them and I think students are just most concerned that the event actually happens.”

You can reach this staff writer at thallerman@theeagleonline.com.

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