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CSU reveals orientation sponsors

by The Concordian October 25, 2011 52 comments
After an email exchange that lasted almost two months between the Concordia Student Union and one of its members, the CSU finally revealed on Monday its orientation sponsors and the amounts each contributed.

The figures show that the CSU received $22,450 from sponsors this year, although not all of it was in cash. Much of it was in the value of something else, such as Sleeman’s contribution of $5,760 worth of beer.

In early September, Alexa Newman, a former VP finance for the Arts and Science Federation of Associations, had requested from CSU VP finance Jordan Lindsay the above mentioned information, as well as the sponsorship package distributed by the CSU to potential sponsors.

“I had read in the papers that they had gathered several thousands of dollars in sponsorships, so it was just general curiosity,” Newman told the Concordian.

But that information didn’t come, at least not as quickly as Newman had envisioned. At first, she was referred to the CSU’s sponsorship director Jose Garcia, who took close to a month to answer Newman, citing orientation and classes as reasons for his late reply.

Receiving no promise of a hard copy of the sponsorship figures from Garcia, Newman was sent back to Lindsay, who indicated in emails his preference to go over the numbers with her in person rather than leave a hard copy at the front desk, as she had requested.

In an Oct. 13 email, Lindsay indicated that he “would like to know what you are planning on using this information for.” When Newman replied the same day that it was for “general knowledge,” Lindsay wrote on Oct. 14 that he “would like just a bit more clarification than that.”

It was then that frustration reached the boiling point for Newman.

“I have played along by answering irrelevant questions about my motives for requesting the information and waited patiently with a promise that all would be answered at the next council meeting and yet again my clear simple question […] has been left unanswered,” wrote Newman to Lindsay on Oct. 14. “So please tell me what the big deal is?”

Newman also went on to quote from the election platform of Your Concordia, the slate Lindsay ran on in the last election, noting that YC had pushed for increased financial transparency at the CSU. Newman had run against YC with the Action slate, vying to win a seat on the CSU council.

On Monday, Lindsay told the Concordian that he had not spoken about the orientation sponsors at the Oct.12 student union council meeting because no one had asked him about it, while Newman watched the meeting via live feed, hoping he would discuss the topic.

“I still don’t know her final reasoning. Was it maybe to cross-reference against the orientation budget?” said Lindsay. “When financial information is being requested, I would expect a reason. I have no problem giving out the information, but I want to make sure I have done my due diligence. I would expect any VP finance to do the same.”

The documents were finally sent to Newman on Monday after the Concordian contacted Lindsay, who said he had sent the figures to Newman on Saturday, but later realized he had sent them to the wrong email address.

Newman wrote back to Lindsay on Monday thanking him for the documents, but noted that she still has yet to receive the orientation package distributed to sponsors.

In an earlier interview with the Concordian, Newman, who ensured that all of ASFA’s financial documents were placed online during her mandate last year, expressed her worry over an organization’s failure to turn over figures in a timely fashion.

“As a former VP finance you start playing different scenarios in your head. It’s a huge amount of money and you start to think that maybe something went wrong, or that they’re hiding something,” she said.

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