RYERSON FOOTS THE BILL FOR RSU AUDIT

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By Aleysha Haniff

Associate News Editor

Abdullah Snobar and the Ryevolution slate will now get their answers. After alleging missing funds and a corrupt election process, the board of directors, led by Snobar’s group, voted to have a third party audit the RSU.

The proposed audit will look at the entire corporation over the last 20 years, examining everything from finances to staff relations.

They also want the university to oversee and pay for the review and have it finished by Feb. 5.

“The simplest word as to why we are doing this is because we are hopeless,” Snobar said. With no certified accountants within the RSU, he said the union needs outside help.

On Jan. 15, the motion approving the audit passed by a vote of 14-11.

RSU president Muhammad Ali Jabbar has no problem with the idea of an audit. The issue, he said, lies in the timing and the execution.

Voting for executive, faculty representative and graduate executive positions runs from Feb. 9-11.

“You cannot go on a witch hunt and completely destroy the students’ union,” Jabbar said.

He is concerned the motion only asks university administration to conduct the audit, making no official mention of using a third-party service.

But Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said administration would give the results of the audit to the RSU to determine any course of action. Since the RSU is a separate corporation, he feels that the university should interfere as little as possible.

Toby Whitfield, VP finance and services, said auditors would have to examine more than one year a day to finish the 20-year review on time.

“I don’t think we’re going to have much success going back 20 years,” Whitfield said.

The RSU’s last audit evaluated the school year until April 2008. The school conducts an audit every year, running at around $10,000.

“I can tell you, I haven’t stolen funds. I haven’t stolen money,” Whitfield said.

Whitfield turned down a position on the audit review committee. He said having members from the RSU overseeing their own audit would defeat the purpose of an impartial committee.

“If people on the board don’t get along, an audit isn’t going to fix that,” Whitfield said.

Snobar said an extensive audit is needed to get money where it belongs — back in the pockets of Ryerson students.

He said the RSU owes its members about $400,000 in unfunded money.

“Unfunded money essentially means this money that we owe to the students but we just don’t have it.

What the majority wants is what the board has to do,” said Snobar. “The majority voted [Thursday] night and that’s it. Respect it and go with it.”

And Dana Houssein, the community services faculty director who moved the motion, said the audit had to happen before the next election.

“After last year’s elections, we knew that something was wrong,” she said.

The 2008-2009 elections were plagued with allegations of fraud, many concerning the chief returning officer (CRO). The CRO is responsible for running the election objectively.

She also said staff were stressed to the point of needing to go on medical leave.

“In the end, all we want is facts, because facts trump everything,” she said.

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