Just one of the many things to see on an engineering campus tour.

PHOTO: NATALIA BALCERZAK

Tours better have my money

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By Behdad Mahichi

Nearly two months after orientation week, more than half of the engineering students hired to conduct campus tours have not been paid for their work.

The First-Year Common and Engineering Office (FYCEO) hired 35 students to conduct campus tours on Aug. 31 for nearly 1,000 Ryerson newcomers at a cost of $50 per tour leader. But faulty payment planning on FYCEO’s behalf has left 20 students in a confusing limbo as they await their overdue payday.

Tour guides were contacted mid-September and given two payment options — either in gift cards, or petty cash. Students were asked to specify their choice and submit paperwork to the office. Only two students a day could be processed for the cash option. Eleven students were paid in cash, while two received gift cards.

However, the cash office notified FYCEO that they could no longer process the payments, as they go against Ryerson’s petty cash funds procedures.

“They said there is no actual receipt. They need a receipt of actually purchasing things and they would process it based on the receipt,” said Atifa Rasoul, project coordinator at FYCEO. “So I emailed them and said we can’t do the petty cash option anymore.”

After looking into alternatives, Rasoul said that the students who have not yet been paid are being put into the school’s eAppoint system, an online system used to pay temporary employees for their one-time payment — though registration for eAppoint is a lengthy process that demands a lot of paper work.

“You can’t do it tomorrow, it’s whenever the next payment is for the university,” Rasoul said.

Aamna Ahmed, a third-year biomedical engineering student has yet to receive her payment.

“It’s midterm time … I don’t have time to go back and forth to their office at the times that they’re available,” Ahmed said.

Last year, the Ryerson Engineering Student Society (RESS) organized the tours, which were held as volunteer positions.

Obaid Ullah, vice-president operations of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) was an RESS executive last year and helped conduct tours. He said there are easier ways to make the payments.

“They could probably even pay it off to the RESS and they will pay the students,” Ullah said.

“If they don’t want to deal with that headache, they could transfer the amount to the society, because for the society, cutting the cheque is very simple compared to the university.”

Currently, the outstanding payments total $1,000.

“If FYCEO wants, I’ll do it from the RSU. Transfer me the list of students who applied and I’ll cut them a $50 honorarium cheque,” said Ullah.

Ahmed said helping first-year students become familiar with Ryerson was an enjoyable opportunity, though the hassle that followed muddled the experience.

“It reached a point where I don’t even want to go anymore, I’m tired of being contacted for $50,” she said. “It’s just frustrating, when you’re doing something … that involves more than 10-15 people, you should have better preparation.”

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