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Editorial: Hushed removal of RHA perpetuates corruption

Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 28, 2000
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In the UA Residence Hall Association, honesty seems to play second fiddle in an organization riddled with scandal and alleged corruption.

Over the course of the past year, executive board members have faced numerous counts of inappropriate conduct and RHA constitutional violations. Following developments this week, the board faced accusations of corruption from a committee of other RHA delegates.

A fiasco last January over an unapproved $58 breakfast and several personal long-distance phone charges resulted in the resignation of four executive board members.

Apparently, this year's board decided to take it up a notch.

Executive board members allegedly spent $1,200 on a new couch for La Paz Residence Hall offices, despite their $200 approved expenditure. They were also accused of overbudgeting for items like food for association events - and hoarding the leftovers for themselves.

Additionally, accusations included possible tampering with members' e-mail accounts, underage drinking in the residence halls, unprofessional behavior while in a professional capacity and sexual activity in the RHA office.

In a bizarre case of deja vu, two executive members of the UA Residence Hall Association resigned last night after being accused of corruption.

Facing numerous allegations, former RHA president Rebecca Zilm and former vice president of services Audra Shattuck resigned, denying all accusations.

Both were given the chance to defend the allegations, and both refused the opportunity.

The relatively torrential misappropriation of hundreds of dollars was "common knowledge" according to RHA recording secretary Andy Folkening.

Whereas those accused bear the brunt of the responsibility for these actions, no one in the association seems responsible enough to own up to his or her own offenses.

In light of the recent debacle, RHA voted nearly unanimously to elect an entirely new executive board. While this may seem like a good idea - getting rid of the bad seeds - it comes down to a whitewash. Once the current executive board is gone, there will be no reason for them to answer the serious questions surrounding their behavior. It will be hushed up, and quickly forgotten. They will cover up yet another scandal in the highest ranks of the association.

While cleaning house will initially benefit RHA, in the end, it will only sweep the fiascoes of the past and present under the rug - and they already proved that is an ineffective method.

The board members obviously care more about their own reputations than the welfare of the association, and the silent avoidance of the recent accusations will only come back to haunt the new executive board.

This editorial represents the collaborative stance of the Arizona Daily Wildcat Opinions Board.

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