Photo: Allie Downham

Vice-president operations: RSU reserve funds have hit an unhealthy low

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By Sarah Krichel

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) has a projected reserve fund of $600,000 after this year’s expenses, according to vice-president operations Neal Muthreja.

This reserve fund is not considered “healthy,” Muthreja said.

A reserve fund is backup cash from the student levy that can be used if the RSU has gone over budget. But in the next year, the reserve fund will be used for general expenses due to the large $1 million net loss that the RSU ran this year.

Muthreja said the RSU is hoping to “break even” next academic year with this amount of money and the planned expenses. But the only way they can do this is if they cut all possible expenses starting immediately.

“This is a really bad situation that we’re in,” Muthreja said. “To think we’re in a perfect and really healthy cash flow is not a good way to think. Right now we need to stop spending money on pretty much everything.”

Muthreja added that student groups and course unions have already received their base funding, and have now reached the cap for their additional grants as well.

The cap for additional grants for student groups of $110,000 has been reached, as well as the cap for course union grants of $50,000, according to Muthreja.

Prior to publication, no proof was provided to The Eyeopener of these caps being reached.

Muthreja said if any group were to apply now for further grants, it wouldn’t be wise for the RSU to provide the new grants because they’re “already in a huge loss.” “Even though we might have a thousand dollars left in that line item, you [have to] look at the overall bigger picture,” Muthreja said. “We’ve already lost so much money.

“If [we] don’t cover our expenses and at least break even, we’re going to run out of money eventually … It’s not just events I’m going after. I’m going after general expenses.”

But on March 17, a Rang De Holi Event was put on by the RSU on Gould Street, which was given an additional $10,000, according to Muthreja. The initial cost estimate remains unconfirmed.

In a previous executive meeting, only three of the executive members were present to vote on the event receiving this extra funding, which was approved. The vote went two in favour and one abstained.

At the Board of Directors meeting on March 20, the board voted for a statement to be put out “outlining the deficit and how this will impact the allocation of funding collected from student levies in the upcoming years.”

The executive team was given two weeks to provide this statement.

The motion cited reasons such as 6 Fest being expected to break even, instead causing a deficit of more than $700,000, as well as the projected unhealthy cash flow that will be passed off to next year’s students and RSU board and executive team.

It additionally cited RSU executives having “demonstrated a lack of transparency regarding the management of students’ funds.”

Muthreja said that no more big concerts can take place next year. “If we do another 6 Fest, we’re going to go bankrupt.” He added that there is only enough money currently to cover the expenses and nothing more.

Muthreja also said once reports and audits are complete, he will have a meeting with the incoming executive team regarding what steps to take for funding.

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