Barbershop funding may violate of finance code, SG president asked for an apology
When Student Body President Juan Cubillo brought the mobile barbershop to campus, he said it would be at no cost to students or Student Government. But records obtained by Eagle News show that $1,600 of student fees went toward reserving a parking space for the bus and to subsidize discounted haircuts.
According to a Florida Gulf Coast University purchase requisition, Cubillo paid $1,100 from SG’s Activity & Services account, funded by student fees, to Campus Reservations to have the barbershop on campus for all of fall semester. Cubillo also spent $500 of A&S fees from the future initiatives budget to provide discounted haircuts when the barbershop fi rst came to campus, according to Appropriations Chair Michael Danis.
In September Cubillo explained to Eagle News the barbershop “functions as a private vendor and is not affiliated directly with FGCU. Each time it parks on campus, it must pay a fee to the University. The only profit that Highlights N Cutz will make is from those using its services.”
That same month, Jenny Rodgers, the former director of communications for SG, posted a letter on unofficial SG letterhead on Facebook stating that, “President Cubillo wants to share the financial information with you. It will cost Student Government $0.00 to bring this service to campus.”
Now Rodgers, who has since resigned from her SG communications position for unrelated reasons, says “When that letterhead went out (Cubillo) was giving me that information. I was under the impression it didn’t need to be fact-checked. If your boss tells you to do something, you do it.”
In a Senate Executive meeting last Wednesday, Danis accused Cubillo of violating the FGCU fi nance code. “My interpretation of the finance code is that the $1,100 that was used to reserve space for the mobile barbershop is in violation of finance code because you are unable to utilize that service unless you pay to get a haircut,” Danis said. “Therefore not rendering it available to all students. And the $500, too, because in order to use that you have to pay the $7 to get the haircut. It does violate finance code, and I would like to see how we would proceed from that.”
Appendix 1009 section B of the FGCU fi nance code states: “Funds may not benefi t activities for which an admissions fee is charged to students except for the student government association sponsored concerts.” This is also a regulation adopted by the Florida Board of Governors, as stated on www. fl senate.gov.
For violating this code appendix 214 explains, “a violation of the Finance Code may result in the suspension of A&S Account as in accordance with University Policy.”
Rodgers agrees with Danis’ interpretation. “I think it is in violation of the finance code,” she said. Danis suggested giving a cease-and-desist notice to the mobile barbershop, ending its time on campus, and that Cubillo send the student body a formal apology via Eagle Mail for misleading them.
“I just want the money restored to the student body,” Danis said. “I think that will resolve this problem.”
In the meeting, Pro Tempore Sean Kempton said SG could not pick and choose which organizations on campus could be cited for violating the finance code. Danis agreed, but added, “We need to hold ourselves as Student Government accountable first, before we hold others accountable.”
When Cubillo was asked if he thought the barbershop was in violation of the fi nance rule, he said, “Every time that we make a purchase or we make some kind of expense, it has to get signed off by other people other than myself, so that was definitely one of the considerations with the expense, and it’s not a violation. They’re just bringing that up as a tactic, but I guess everybody has a right to do that.
Senator Tyler Brown originally promoted bringing the barbershop to campus. Now that Brown thinks that the fi nance code has been broken, he says he owes his peers an apology “As a student government senator, I feel that I have been misinformed,” he said. “I said on social media, to other students that fees would not be used. I would like to formally apologize to my constituents because fees were used.”
Despite Danis’ interpretation and call for an apology, Cubillo maintains he has not breached the finance code. “We’re not generating any revenue,” Cubillo said. “All we paid for was a space for (Campus Reservations). We’re not selling the space. We’re not making a profi t off the space. SG is not generating any revenue at all. So if the guy charged for his service, that’s his deal. As far as generating revenue, it’s just like Campus Recreation. Campus Recreation … we pay for their facilities and the weights and stuff. They still charge for memberships, they still charge for Gatorade. So does that mean there’s a violation? Absolutely not.”
Cubillo says the finance code is put in place to prevent someone using A&S fees to start their own business with student funds. He also says if this case needs to move to the judicial branch for interpretation that is fine with him.
When Eagle News asked Cubillo if he tried to tell students that some A&S fees had been spent on the barbershop he said students can make public records request to obtain the information. He is not keeping anything secret and is happy to share that information.
“I don’t do a play-by-play every time something happens. I don’t do press conferences every time that I make a move, but it’s always open and everybody is always welcome to ask me or to request the records that say what was spent. So when I decided to do that, that’s great.”
He concluded his comment on the barbershop by saying, “I’m glad and I’m happy that senators are doing their job and that they care about the students. That’s refreshing and it’s good to see. I just hope that they do it with the right intentions.”
No mention of the violation was brought up at Tuesday night’s Senate meeting. Danis confirmed that the case has moved to the judicial branch for interpretation.