A Knight News investigation into student stipends revealed that from July 2016 through January 2017 Karandeep Singh was paid $1,275 for serving as the “Greek Life Chair.”
However, Singh was not listed as chair of any standing committee of SA on the 2016-2017 list provided by the Office of the Dean of Students. As such, the handling of student stipends among the SA administration over Japneet Singh’s administrations, are called into question, due to a recent investigation conducted by The Knight News.
Moreover, two of the months for which K. Singh received stipends, July and August 2016, along with January 2017, were times when the college was on break. There are no minutes of any public meetings indicating any work done by K. Singh or his “committee” during that time.
The Knight News has reached out to Japneet Singh for comment on multiple investigations, including Student Association Event Funding, and Student Senate, however J. Singh does not respond. The Knight News contacted Singh regarding a stipend investigation, and provided him the opportunity to sit down and present our findings, however, upon receiving email receipts that Singh read our requests, he has not responded.
Student leaders within Student Association receive stipends for their work, however the SA constitution provides no such guidelines as to how stipends are distributed. This has raised concerns amongst our staff as to whether this system is being abused by those in power.
Karandeep Singh’s payments, which were authorized by SA President Japneet Singh, raise serious questions about the payment of stipends for committee chair work, as there is no evidence indicating K. Singh’s role as Greek Life chair during 2016-2017.
Beena Kanhailall held the Greek Life Chair during 2016-2017, as confirmed by three former SA members including, Almadina Adzemovic, Vice Chair of Greek Life, Emerald Cazeau, and Marco Sin. The Knight News obtained private documentation regarding the chair positions within SA for 2016-2017 which state Kahnilall as Greek Life Chair, additionally Kanhailall was given an award by Japneet Singh during the 2017 SA Award Night, that indicates her position as Greek Life Chair.
“As Greek Life chair for 2016-2017, I did not receive any payments for my position,” Kanhailall said, “as I was told by the president that Greek Life, along with several other committees did not receive stipends.”
Stipends are determined by the SA’s executive board and are based on how much work the committee chairs do, according to the minutes of an executive board meeting on Oct. 30, 2016. The minutes said the executive board can cut previous stipends as it sees fit.
Stipends paid to Ramneet Singh, who was listed as the Nontraditional chair of SA, the chair designed to cater to weekend and evening students, on the list provided by the Office of the Dean of Students, also raise questions.
R. Singh was paid $90 each month from September through November, 2016, with a pay increase to $325 a month for December 2016 and January 2017. With a final $75 paid in May 2017, R. Singh received a total of $995 for the 2016-2017 school year.
Ramneet Singh’s increase in pay parallel that to Karandeep Singh, who received a $200 pay increase also in December 2016 and January 2017.
Singh was also paid during the January 2017 break. There is no record of any non-traditional committee work being done. The $325 amounts given to Ramneet Singh, along with Karandeep Singh are $25 less than the amount that was provided to Matthew Shamash, SA executive board Vice President.
Each of the payment request forms submitted by SA President Japneet Singh include meeting minutes that “verify” the positions each chair held and the stipends they received.
However, The Knight News has discovered fabricated Student Senate meeting minutes in the past, which were reported in the Oct.11 issue of The Knight News. All of the minutes were signed off “Respectfully Submitted, Japneet Singh.”
Stipends paid during the 2017-2018 school year continue to be questionable.
Some SA members who have belonged to the organization since last June 2017 received payments of $60 for one month of work, while new members, including Haramprital Singh, chair of the campus affairs committee, who took office around October 2017, received $120 in both November and December 2017. Haramprital Singh is also a member of the space committee, but as of February 2018, the space committee did not provide any records of walk-throughs of the Student Union basement to support the allocation of office space to clubs.
Ramneet Singh, the current SA treasurer, was contacted regarding the monthly financial reports the SA constitution says he is responsible for. However, he has not responded.
As of January 2018 R. Singh had received one stipend of $200 for the month of September 2017, $125 less than he received for December 2016 and January 2017 as nontraditional chair.
Emerald Cazeau was chair of the Honors and Scholarships committee in 2016-2017, but resigned in October, 2017 after SA failed to address her concerns over the payment of stipends.
Cazeau commented on the lack of transparency, stating, “We were told chairs of newly established committees were not allowed to receive stipends. Personally, I didn’t question the ‘rule’ because the veteran student association members present at the meeting didn’t contradict his statement. Without direct administrative supervision of SA, it was easy for Japneet to assert his directives.”
Cazeau continued, “When the rumors surrounding Japneet’s handling of SA funds started to spread around campus there was never any real evidence to support them. It’s almost unreal viewing these documents depicting his distasteful decisions. Essentially, he took advantage of my and other chairs’ desire to have a meaningful impact on the student body.”
Cazeau resigned after SA failed to address many of the concerns she voiced. “We didn’t join SA for the money and therefore, continued to devote hours towards the organization without receiving stipends. It is a slap in the face knowing that non-members and members who contributed far less to SA pocketed what was technically our money. This is a clear sign that there needs to be greater supervision of Student Association, whereby students seeking to join the organization are trained by administrators of their obligations prior to taking office and are supported while fulfilling their positions.”