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RSU in $812,000 deficit, according to audited financial statements

By Alanna Rizza

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is in a deficit of about $812,000 according to the union’s audited financial statements.

According to the financial statements from the 2015-2016 academic year, the total amount of revenue was $17,445,497, while the total amount of expenditures was $18,258,434.

The statements also show that the deficit is primarily a result of increased spending from the 2015-2016 school year compared to the 2014-2015 school year. The increased spending is from event programming, wages and benefits, professional fees, bad debts (unrecovered money) and CopyRITE purchases.

The largest increase is from event programming, which saw an increase in expenditures of about $533,000. This is primarily from the 2015-2016 frosh concert and 6 Cent concert that saw appearances from Drake.

The total amount spent on event programming last year was about $1 million, according to the audited financial statements.

“A big focus for us last year was to make students aware of the RSU and be involved with the RSU,” said RSU president (and last year’s vice-president operations) Obaid Ullah.

“So we thought that events would be a good way to keep students engaged.”

The deficit is also a result of increased wages and benefits for RSU staff, which saw an increase of about $150,000. According to the financial statements this occurred from hiring “experienced fulltime and part time staff as well as change over in positions and providing compensation.”

The total wages and benefits expenditure from last school year was about $1.5 million.

The deficit is also from the increase in expenditures that reached about $147,000 for professional fees. This was a result of “many matters [that] came up that were not expected,” according to the financial statements.

Ullah and Muthreja said the increased spending was from the pro-life group taking the RSU to court, auditor fees and the legal matters that ensued after Gilary Massa was laid off from the RSU last school year.

About $185,000 was spent in total for professional fees.

The deficit was also from increased purchases for CopyRITE, the student owned and run printing service. This saw an increase of about $47,000 in expenditures. The total amount spent last school year was about $196,000.

Bad debts, which is money that cannot be recollected, totalled to about $49,000.

According to the audited financial statement, the deficit is “mainly due to the lack of controls, improper accounting and correct procedure not being followed.”

However, Ullah said that the auditors said the RSU has a “healthy cash flow” and “a good cash balance.”

“We still increased our funding for student groups, we gave more money for student group events, [and] there’s new scholarships,” he said.

As of this school year, the RSU has a new auditor and they switched banks from Scotia Bank to TD.

“In terms of better systems in the future, we have a lot more controls set up and we have changed our financial systems,” Ullah said.

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