Illustration: Izabella Balcerzak

6 Fest and $1.2 million deficit discussed at RSU annual general meeting

In Campus News, News, Student Politics /

By Annie Arnone

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) annual general meeting did not reach quorum but it turned into a group discussion about the Wellness Centre, 6 Fest, Appian Way Group and the deficit—which has reached about $1.2 million.

Vice-president student life & events Harman Singh was not present during the meeting for reasons that are unknown.

Vice-president operations Neal Muthreja addressed audience members’ questions surrounding the RSU’s two-day concert 6 Fest. There are currently over 1,100 student refunds remaining, excluding e-transfer refunds. 

A motion was passed at the last RSU board meeting on March 20  that requested Singh release a report regarding all 6 Fest financial information within 24 hours—but it has not yet been completed.

An Eyeopener editor asked why non-RSU employee Ram Ganesh was allowed access to 6 Fest finances and documents, despite the fact that he’s not an official employee with the RSU.

“At the end of the day I trust that employee more than some board members,” replied RSU president Obaid Ullah.

Ganesh responded by saying he was a volunteer for the RSU, but that he was employed when the refunds first began in October. Ganesh’s personal bank account and business bank account, MERCH, were involved in issuing refunds to students.

Additionally, audience members voiced their concerns about the fact that Ganesh received the financial information about refunds while board members did not.

Ullah said there was no system in place to avoid conflict of interest, despite his and Singh’s friendship with Ganesh. Vice-president equity Tamara Jones said before her term ends she hopes to put a policy in place that prohibits hiring “friends.”

Jones also addressed the delay surrounding the Wellness Centre’s opening. RSU general manager Sid Naidu said the centre’s construction has cost approximately $18,000 so far, and that no budget has been put in place. 

The Eyeopener reported that the opening of the Wellness Centre was postponed until September 2017.

Also in the meeting, Muthreja confirmed the RSU is currently in a $1.2 million deficit.

Within the RSU budget, the health and dental plan funds are in the general cash flow section. But health and dental funds are not supposed to be touched for any general expenses.

Muthreja said he is working on presenting the budget in a new format that separates the health and dental plan from the general cash flow, so that it the allocation of funds is more distinct.

Also in the meeting, an audience member asked the executives for a timeline pertaining to Appian Way Group , the auditing firm that recommended the RSU’s “restructuring” which lead to the controversial lay off of Gilary Massa. Ullah said he was not involved with the process, but he will work on providing a report for the next board meeting.

All motions on the agenda will be tabled to the next and last RSU board meeting on April 24. The motions on the agenda are bylaw amendments and approving the RSU’s financial auditor.

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