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Bye bye, bylaws! Photo: Elana Emer
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RSU executives’ credit cards break policies and bylaws

By Emma Sandri

Two Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) executives were issued credit cards despite it being against the union’s financial policies. 

RSU president Ram Ganesh and vice-president operations Savreen Gosal were given credit cards following the firing of their general manager, said Ganesh. 

Previously, the RSU only had two credit cards—one held by the financial controller, Dharshini Jay, and the other by the general manager,  Sid Naidu. 

The Eyeopener previously reported that the RSU executive fired Naidu, the top permanent manager, during their first day in office. Naidu  had the ability to exercise authority in the management of the union and oversaw all financial operations. 

According to Ganesh, the amount allotted to the general manager’s card was split between him and Gosal—each recieved $10,000 in credit.

“I still don’t think this is a board decision”

According to the RSU’s financial policy 4.1, only the general manager and the financial controller are permitted to have their own corporate credit cards. 

“As of January we are cancelling both cards and streamlining it back to Dharshini, so there will only be one credit card,” said Ganesh. 

According to Maklane Dewever, the student groups representative on the Board of Directors (BoD), any change to the union’s credit cards should have been approved by the board. 

“It came up in a September board meeting when Ram mentioned that [the cards were] the reason for a delay in the reconciliation statement,” said Dewever. “A motion to allow them was never brought forward to the board.”

The RSU bylaws state that “property and business” of the RSU is to be “managed” by the BoD. Acccording to Dewever, the board’s job to oversee the RSU—including the executives—cannot be done if they are not kept up to date. 

“The actual policy forbids having those two credit cards,” said Dewever. “It’s important, in any organization with a large budget, to ensure the financial policies are … followed.”

Dewever said there is a risk to allowing students, like the executives, to have credit cards with large sums of money attached to them. 

“I personally don’t think it does [break policy],” said the RSU president. “We weren’t aware we had to take this to the board, and I still don’t think this is a board decision.” 

According to Ganesh, the union issued the two credit cards before the first board meeting.

Dewever said the union is in the middle of their third quarter, but no reports have been shown to the board since the RSU executive started their term in May 2018.

The RSU’s vice-president operations is required to present quarterly financial reports to the board. 

Dewever said he has emailed the RSU executive about seeing the credit card statements, as well as the quarterly financial reports, on multiple occasions. 

“The policy forbids having those two credit cards”

Dewever said he was only shown a portion of the reports, and has yet to see them in full.

“It’s unfortunate that we haven’t been seeing much financial statements, because it’s impossible for the board to do its job,” he said.

Dewever has submitted motions for the upcoming board meeting regarding the RSU executive’s spending. If passed, one of the motions would allow the BoD to meet with or obtain documents from Jay. 

The same motion would also require the financial controller to share information regarding the union’s finances with the board.

Ganesh told The Eye the quarterly financial statements are ready to be presented to the board and that Dewever has already seen them. 

“They’re ready, we had a hiccup on them but … we’ve let the board of directors know,” said Ganesh. “We seem to be OK. We are in good standings for the end of the year. We’re going to balance the books, if not have a huge surplus.” 

The Eye reached out to Gosal and Jay but neither of them responded to a request for comment in time for publication.

1 Comment

  1. Chris Drew

    As a former three-term RSU board member and two-term RSU VP Finance and Services, I am very disappointed to read this. Good work by The Eyeopener to cover this and it certainly shows the important role of student media.

    If any RSU board or executive member is reading this two words: do better.

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