By Shirley Lin
Some of Ryerson’s top executives are calling on the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) to explain to students the details of an audit reviewing the union’s operations conducted earlier this year.
Months after the scathing $85,000 audit by Deloitte & Touche, there have been few changes. The review, paid for by the university, looked into governing policies and the health and dental plan, calling on the RSU to clean up its act.
Ryerson’s president Sheldon Levy said that although the university isn’t owed an explanation, the students deserve one.
“It does not necessarily mean they have to accept the recommendations but in any type of business audit, you respond to the community under which you serve,” Levy said. “I do think that in an audit, those that paid their salaries and bills deserve a response.”
Julia Hanigsberg, general counsel and secretary, echoed Levy’s point.
“You would expect that they would be clear with at least the directors of the RSU about how they plan to respond to the recommendations,” Hanigsberg said. “It doesn’t mean they have to follow every [recommendation] but we expect transparent process about what they’ve found.”
Toby Whitfield, the RSU’s vice-president finance and services, said they are only recommendations. He adds that some have been implemented such as the new time frame for opt-out cheques pickup and having separate accounts.
“[Students] hold us accountable by going to the polls and voting, when they come to general meetings and set the direction of the organization.”
Deloitte found that election policies and procedures are rife with inconsistencies. It suggested switching to online voting instead. This vote was considered in 2008 but failed to pass.
Deloitte added that politicking and personal agendas take priority over serving students, leaving little room for opposing opinions. It suggested an un biased general manager to be overseer.
Deloitte added the RSU can’t use unclaimed opt-out cheques to fund other RSU initiatives and losses, which is current practice. Tighter budget control is needed to avoid unnecessary cash shortfalls and loans. This year, the RSU is running an $84,000 deficit.
The audit also refers to poor recordkeeping for health and dental opt-outs so the RSU should take extra steps to notify students to pick up their cheques.