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Former Laurier employee pleads guilty to theft

Student card manager stole $30,000 from the university between 2001 and 2007

Mike Lakusiak — The Cord (Wilfrid Laurier University)

WATERLOO, Ont. (CUP) — Nick Tomljenovic pleaded guilty on Feb. 17 in Kitchener Superior Court to charges of defrauding over $30,000 from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Tomljenovic was manager of the university’s OneCard, the student identification card that acted as a key to many facilities on campus as well as a meal card.

An employee since 1999, Tomljenovic engaged in illicit OneCard usage between April 2001 and Novemeber 2007 when he was placed on leave by the university during an audit prompted by suspicious accounts and other activities in the office.

Initially, Tomljenovic charged food and services, including tanning, to his own OneCard. He would never pay the accrued bills and erase them from his account, according to assistant Crown attorney David Russell.

While current Laurier students are familiar with the OneCard as being predominantly tied to food, in the past the program extended to various merchants on campus.

“He was obviously using his own OneCard, yet there were never any payments on it,” Russell explained. “He’d go to [establishments], present his card and the bill would be paid for. The university pays the vendor, that’s why the theft is really from the university because the vendors always had to be paid.”

OneCard office employee Tanya Diriye discovered irregularities while examining OneCard accounts with outstanding balances in spring 2005. She found a suspicious identification number that didn’t seem to match up with anything and was not found in the university’s computer records.

Tomljenovic used multiple cards tied to accounts created with fictitious names, usually the alter egos of comic book characters.

“Jason Garrick was [the name on] one of the accounts,” Russell explained. “There is no Jason Garrick at the university, but that is the alter ego of the DC Comics character the Flash.

“There was another one in the name of Thomas Wayne who, as it turns out, is the father of Batman.”

There were also accounts named for Richard Grayson, alter ego of Batman’s sidekick Robin, and Remo Williams, the name of a rogue police officer in “The Destroyer” novels and comics.

The trial resumes June 17 for sentencing.

Camosun gets involved in UVic-CFS fight

Students’ society authorizes unlimited spending on pro-CFS campaign at the Victoria university

Renée Andor — Nexus (Camosun College)

VICTORIA (CUP) — The students’ society at Camosun College recently approved unlimited spending for a campaign to combat the University of Victoria’s attempt to leave the Canadian Federation of Students.

In a motion passed at their Feb. 7 board meeting, the students’ society’s signing officers were given power to approve spending over $500 with no maximum amount on the time-sensitive, pro-CFS campaign. Spending over $500 is usually approved at bi-monthly society board meetings.

Michel Turcotte, director of operations, estimates the pro-CFS campaign will cost a few thousand dollars, and cites possible advertising costs for the high amount.

“If it becomes a very polarizing campaign and there’re many people on different sides, and you have to engage in expensive advertising or something to reach out to those people, that’s going to add some costs,” says Turcotte.

In fall 2009, the UVic students’ society petitioned to hold a referendum on continued membership in the CFS. At that time, Camosun’s students’ society spent about $500 rallying against the petition.

Last April, the CFS rejected the petition based on a counter-petition they conducted. UVic then took the matter to court, and in January a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled in favour of the students’ society.

Meanwhile, some students at Camosun are wondering why their students’ society is spending Camosun students’ money on a UVic campaign.

Camosun university transfer student Lauren Pallot says keeping the UVic students’ society in the CFS is the responsibility of the organization itself, and Camosun student fees paid to their students’ society shouldn’t be spent on this campaign.

“What does it have to do with us, really? It’s not really Camosun’s job. It should be the federation’s job,” said Pallot.

Turcotte says it’s important that both schools are part of the CFS to create solidarity, and that the student voice in Victoria wouldn’t be as strong if UVic was no longer a member. He also points out that many Camosun students transfer to UVic.

“Our institutions are so interconnected in that educational experience, that for anyone to believe that anything that happens at one institution does not impact the other is a falsehood,” Turcotte said.

The University of Victoria students’ society and the CFS are poised to see more legal action before a referendum comes to campus.

According to CFS bylaws, all outstanding debts must be paid before a referendum is held. During the January hearing in the B.C. Supreme Court, an affidavit from CFS staffer Lucy Watson claiming the society is indebted to the CFS was thrown out by Justice Malcolm Macaulay. Still, the CFS is maintaining that the debt must be paid before a referendum is held.

With files from Kailey Willetts — The Martlet (University of Victoria)C

Content courtesy of the Canadian University Press

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