The Concordia Student Union is funding additional bursaries for undergraduate students to the tune of $10,000 but it has come to light that the executive made the decision without consulting the financial committee or seeking approval from council.
VP finance Keny Toto explained that additional funding, approximately $4,000, is coming from donations gathered at the CSU’s two-week orientation that kicks off the start of every school year in order to “to give more to the students.”
However, it appears that $10,000 worth of unused salary from former VP academic and advocacy Lucia Gallardo is also going towards bursaries. In her January executive report, current VP academic Hajar El Jahidi wrote that more bursaries would be formed from the untouched earnings of Gallardo, who stepped down last fall because she was not a registered student.
“In addition to the $15,000 the CSU is mandated to give in bursaries, there will be another $10,000 taken from the previous VP academic and advocacy’s salary. The amount of bursaries given will go from 30 to 50,” the report read.
Posters boasting 50 bursaries from the CSU are already up in Concordia buildings as of Monday so that students in good academic standing and in financial need can apply for the $500 contribution. In the standing regulations, under Annex A, the CSU is mandated to distribute 30 bursaries every year.
However, if there are any revisions to the original budget provided by the CSU, such as a reallocation of funds, they must go through the financial committee — something that has yet to be done.
El Jahidi told The Concordian Monday that she was unsure if the bursaries had to go through the financial committee at all.
“I talked to [Toto] last semester and he said it would be okay,” said El Jahidi. “I don’t know if he’s planning on bringing it up to [financial committee] eventually or if it’s unnecessary.”
According to El Jahidi, she asked Toto in December if relocating $6,000 from Gallardo’s earnings to the bursaries was possible and she claims he confirmed that it was indeed possible. However, in the January report, El Jahidi cited the amount as $10,000.
Toto confirmed that the bursaries change “didn’t go through the financial committee,” and that “it will during the next meeting.” He went on to say that he was confident that members of the committee will approve the proposed change.
Council also never approved the additional 20 bursaries or the reallocation of student money to facilitate it. Councillor Melissa Kate Wheeler explained that when the issue was first brought to council, there was unease with the notion and that council never consented to the change.
“As far as we know, [council] never authorized it,” said Wheeler.
As part of the tasks and powers listed for council under bylaw 6.3, councillors have the duty to approve the budget. Furthermore, bylaw 18.1 states that council has the power to “revoke, withdraw, alter or vary all or any of such powers” given to sub-delegates such as the financial committee.
Toto said it was likely that the financial committee would meet this Thursday to discuss the bursaries but it remains to be confirmed.
With files from Marilla Steuter-Martin.