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Saturday, October 24, 2020

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SGA votes to oust Administration and Finance VP Carlucci, deputies


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SGA President Charles Haston addresses a packed house with an impassioned speech at Wednesday night’s meeting. | Brittaney Penney/The Cougar

The Student Government Association voted Wednesday night to unanimously, with one senator abstaining, call for the immediate resignation of Administration and Finance Vice President Carl Carlucci, Associate Vice President Emily Messa and Assistant Vice President Esmeralda Valdez after repeatedly voicing concerns about the disorganization and lack of leadership over auxiliary services, parking and transportation, HigherOne, an over-budget TDECU Stadium and disappearing funds for Hofheinz Pavilion renovations.

“I think what the issue boils down to is that he has people underneath him like Emily Messa and Esmeralda Valdez that demonstrated that they’re entirely incompetent and unable to hold the positions they hold on this campus,” SGA President Charles Haston said. “Dr. Carlucci’s solution to that is to take as many shortcuts as possible…he doesn’t have a staff that’s capable of actually doing their jobs.”

Haston has been butting heads with the Division of Administration and Finance since November, when during a public comment portion of Student Fee Advisory Committee hearings he commented that parts of a referendum passed by students were not honored.

According to an email obtained by The Cougar, an audit of the Higher Education Assistance Funds that were allocated for TDECU Stadium have been completed and will be made public before the Feb. 19 Board of Regents meeting.

Additional audits are underway to investigate the Request for Proposal-procurement process that is associated with the VenuWorks/Aramark contract that Carlucci initiated, as well as an audit looking into the Memorandum of Understanding agreement between students and the University that Haston said was “violated.” Another audit is looking into the SFAC process.

“Substantial” progress on the three unfinished audits will be done before the Feb. 19 meeting, of which a summary will be given to the Regents, according to the email.

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Outgoing Faculty Senate President Wynne Chin addresses SGA about the Faculty Senate’s resolution in support of Administration and Finance VP Carl Carlucci. | Brittaney Penney/The Cougar

The UH Faculty Senate executive committee, led by President and decision and information sciences professor Wynne Chin, wrote a resolution in support of Carlucci, telling SGA that while they understand the issues, Carlucci’s supervision of the Division of Administration and Finance has overseen numerous changes on campus, such as the increase in residential housing and the improvement “of the overall community here at UH.”

“Faculty by definition, as scientists, need to get all the information,” Chin said. “If you’re going to make a judgment, we need all the information. Until we actually get the other three (audits), we ourselves are not in a position to make an opinion. And that’s why we made the resolution. It’s just simply that we’re going to have to continue to support (Carlucci) unless you have other evidence to the contrary.”

The Faculty Senate’s resolution states that “it has found Dr. Carlucci and his staff to act only with the highest level of integrity and professionalism in forwarding our shared vision for the future of the University.”

“This University can never be stronger unless faculty and students continue to understand what the issues are,” Chin said. “Carlucci has spent a lot of time investing and ensuring that there is an operation under him that is focusing on a lot of the other areas besides the issues that have been raised recently by SGA.”

UPDATE: The University has responded to The Cougar saying it would be inappropriate for them “to comment further or provide interviews until all the facts of the (audits) are known.”

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