By Jacob Dubé
The events of 6 Fest, the Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) controversial concert in October 2016, left a lot of people with numerous questions that may never be answered.
The high cost of the concert greatly contributed to the RSU’s $1.2 million deficit that year, and $80,000 of RSU funds were transferred into the personal accounts of executives and their friends.
In early 2017, the RSU’s board of directors passed a motion requiring then vice-president student life & events Harman Singh to release all information he had pertaining to 6 Fest and its operations. The motion required Singh to provide the board and the financial controller, among others, documentation of ticket sales and refunds for the concert, the logins for the Eventbrite account and the Gmail used to manage operations and ticket sales, along with a comprehensive report on 6 Fest.
The Eyeopener reached out to Singh for comment three times but did not hear back in time of publication.
It has been a year since that motion passed, and despite Singh still sitting on the board as student groups representative, it seems like the report will never see the light of day. But the RSU is still looking into the 6 Fest finances.
“He gave the bare minimum that he had to give for us to be able to verify the 80k, as well as the invoices”
Former vice-president student life and events Lauren Emberson, who resigned last month, said she worked to reconcile the 6 Fest refunds with the help of the financial controller and part-time staff. “It’s a lot of information for someone who’s 21 years-old, who stepped into this role without access to a lot of information that I think is pertinent to the 6 Fest report,” she said.
According to Emberson, Singh never gave over the login information for the Eventbrite and the Gmail used to organize the event, nor did he release the report to the board. He did provide some information about the finances for the end-of-year audit.
“He gave the bare minimum that he had to give for us to be able to verify the 80k, as well as the invoices,” Emberson said. “He gave us all the documentation we needed for the audit, but he didn’t do anything past that.”
Last year’s RSU president Obaid Ullah said a lot of the documentation for the refunds was still being processed until May 2017. After that, it became the job of the current executives to follow through with a report.
“We have not seen a report from either individual”
“It became Lauren’s responsibility, just like Susanne took on the Wellness Centre from me,” Ullah said. “It should have been her responsibility to complete that report to the board.”
But according to current RSU president Susanne Nyaga, her team isn’t required to follow through with the report. She said motions only stand for the term they are passed in, and only move on to future years if they’re transformed into policies or bylaws. “Stepping in, Lauren [Emberson] had been very vocal about releasing a report to provide students with the information, however, Harman never expressed an interest in creating one,” Nyaga said. “We have not seen a report from either individual.”
However, Nyaga said, the 6 Fest finances—not just the refunds, but other invoices and purchases—were still a concern for the RSU. Nyaga said she hopes to release some information to students before the end of this term. She would not comment on how or what the RSU is looking into specifically, saying the research is still ongoing.