Our View

Editorial Board

KIC’s deficit not fair to students

Most of us have had to balance a checkbook. It’s really not too difficult a task. When people put money into their account, they add the deposit to their balance. Conversely, when they spend money, they subtract this amount from the balance.

What we fail to understand is how Kent Interhall Council was not only unable to do these simple tasks, but how they were able to fail so miserably at adding and subtracting numbers that they have a debt to the tune of $68K.

How did this happen, you ask? KIC claims that its budget program is outdated and difficult to use, and that it wasn’t clear that some of the amounts were negative.

On Friday, the Daily Kent Stater reported that the council has two accounts that contain the funding for the organization. Previous boards misunderstood that money transferred from one account to the next — causing a negative amount to accumulate and not be clearly noted as negative on the university financial software called the monthly Financial Records System.

This budgetary misunderstanding lasted for two years. This is a rather large error.

The money KIC will use to pay back its debt will come from the fees allocated to KIC from students who live in the residence halls. Sixteen dollars is allocated to KIC per each student that lives in the residence halls, and a smaller portion of that amount will go toward paying off the $68K.

This is not fair to future residence hall students, who will have to pay for these debts out of their own pockets when some of them, including next year’s freshmen, weren’t on campus enjoying the abundance of wealth that was the KIC budget.

KIC is going to start paying off the debt this semester, said KIC President Scott McCallen. They are starting out small, paying $8K of the $68K debt. That is 6 percent of KIC’s $120K budget. Next semester, the number is going to jump to a lofty $25K, 20 percent of the overall budget. This number is so large because they plan on paying off the debt by Spring 2006.

He said KIC will not have to take out loans to repay this debt — the money will be paid by deducting the amounts from the overall budget.

We’re all human, and we all make mistakes, but when talking about large sums of money, someone has to take responsibility. It’s easy to blame the problems on the computer software and lack of training, but these shouldn’t have been problems in the first place.

There is a solution, however, and this solution costs a paltry $100. The editorial board suggests KIC throw out its archaic software that allows for $68K errors and buy a copy of Microsoft Excel. Then, they can hire a 5-year-old to decipher the program and balance the budget.

If the software is so hard to use and be trained on, we fail to see why other university organizations are not having the same problems with their respective budgets, assuming they, too, use the Financial Records System. If staff members are not competent enough to update the budget, then we need to be looking elsewhere for our help.

We cannot have errors like this happening. It’s unfair to the students.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.