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FCAD union breaks down budget

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By Zoe Melnyk

The Ryerson Communication and Design Society (RCDS), the university’s youngest student society, held its first semi-annual general meeting on Nov. 13.

Tyler Webb, president of RCDS, spoke about the efforts being made to help students through funding and offering opportunities to network with companies that could lead to possible internships.

Webb explained that the five core functions of RCDS are to offer support to student groups, student projects, attendance at conferences and competitions, creating and hosting year-end shows and offering bursaries.

“That is our mandate, to serve those students,” Webb said, referring to the 4,000 Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) students.

Casey Yuen, vice president of finance, explained how the budget is broken up and the goals RCDS hopes to reach in order to benefit students. Operating expenses came to a total of $145,080, taking the largest portion of RCDS’ $400,080 budget.

Student group funding came second with a total budget of $100,000. Year-end show funding came to a total of $40,000, followed by student project funding at $30,000 and conferences and competitions at $20,000. $5,000 was set for bursaries.

Yuen said that the board members are made of students paying the same fees as any other FCAD student so budget spending decisions are made to benefit the students as much as possible.

“We understand and we know exactly where that money is going,” Yuen said.

A major priority of the meeting was transparency of the budget. Students at the meeting wanted proof of the budget spendings.

Miri Makin, manager of student relations and development, offered the students reassurance.

“There is a yearly auditing process to keep the budget even more transparent,” Makin said.

Questions were then raised about the annual auditing process being performed by a Ryerson staff member.

Makin, who performs the annual informal internal audits, assured the students that it is done purely in the interest to save money.

Makin also explained that an official audit by a non-Ryerson employee will be done every three to five years.

After the budget was discussed, each executive member of the board had the opportunity to explain the purpose and benefits offered from their department. Executive members said they would work to give students access to the funds they need to further their own projects.

Because student groups play such a large roll in the budget decision process, a bylaw amendment was passed in order to allow one student group representative sit in on Student Group and Project Funding Committee meetings.

A second motion was immediately passed that allowed voting for the student group representatives to take place during the academic year. Previously, voting was held over the summer during an RCDS retreat.

The meeting wrapped up with a reminder that nominations for new board members will begin January 2015 and voting will follow in February.

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