ACCUSATIONS OF THEFT, HARASSMENT ROCK IRANIAN STUDENT GROUP

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By Vanessa Greco

Members of the Iranian Students’ Association (ISARU) say they are picking up the pieces after their former president allegedly walked away with $300 of the group’s money.

Arash Shahravan stepped down as ISARU president in December 2007 when it was revealed that he wasn’t a current Ryerson student, making him ineligible to hold the position.

Shahravan was also accused of selling what the Ryerson Students’ Union believed to be $10 membership fees, and not depositing the $300 profit in the Ryerson Students’ Union trust.

The group, however, argues that the cards were VIP discount cards for offcampus events.

The RSU put the group on probation on Jan. 31, but it was partially lifted after a board of directors meeting last week.

Shahravan denounces the RSU’s accusations. He said the group spent the $300 on ISARU events before it could be deposited into their trust.

“If they’re suspicious, I’d be happy to provide the invoices,” he said.

As well, he said he wasn’t aware he was violating student-group policy by no taking any courses, and that he willingly stepped down as president.

When elected last May, Shahravan was a full-time student. After he decided he wanted to open a restaurant, he returned to Ryerson in September enrolled in only one course. Halfway through the semester, he dropped it.

Still, Pendar Paul Hadian, public relations director of ISARU, accuses Shahravan and events co-ordinator Mohammad Golzari of monopolizing the responsibilities of ISARU’s executive branch and not giving the rest of the board the resources to do their elected jobs.

“We weren’t occupying our roles, not because we didn’t want to, but because the executives operated behind closed doors,” he said. “The signing powers of the trust were never granted to our treasurer. We had to procure the account information later on.”

Golzari has resigned as the group’s events co-ordinator. While Shahravan urges ISARU to contact him to work things out internally, Hadian says he is focusing on rebuilding the group.

ISARU is currently rewriting their constitution, which will replace its presidential structure with three people sharing the lead role.

He doesn’t plan to go after the $300.

For its part, the RSU is happy to have resolved the issue. “We like to keep our student groups autonomous,” said Ibrahim (Abe) Snobar, RSU’s VP Student Life and Events.

“We’re not there to police them, we’re there to make sure everything is accounted for.”

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