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A call for retroactive audits falls short

by Matthew Guité February 5, 2013 0 comment
A call for retroactive audits falls short
The Graduate Students’ Association voted to table a controversial motion and pass one of their own Tuesday following proposals from current and former Concordia Student Broadcasting Corporation’s Board of Directors members regarding retroactive audits.
The tabled motion introduced by former CSBC BoD member Sabine Friesinger and Chadi Marouf, would have the GSA encourage CSBC to begin retroactive audits going back three years. If this was not done, the motion would allow the GSA to pull their fee-levies from CJLO, the student radio station that CSBC manages. Instead of accepting that, the GSA passed a motion advocating that the CSBC revise their bylaws in order to provide democratic and transparent practices within one year and publish three years worth of financial statements on their website.
Friesinger and Marouf spoke first on the matter, outlining what they interpreted as a history of financial mismanagement and unanswered allegations from an organization that Friesinger said received the most in student fee-levies of any group on campus but had the least oversight.
A second topic which became the focus of much concern was the CSBC’s membership list, the existence of which many at the meeting were unaware of. The list, which dictates who is and who is not considered a member of the organization, only contains the names of individuals who ask to be included despite the fact that all graduate and undergraduate students pay fee-levies into the corporation.
Angelica Calcagnile, president of the CSBC, argued that retroactive audits were an unnecessary expense and a waste of student money. The auditor employed by both the CSBC and the GSA advised CSBC’s board that audits were not needed for a corporation of their size, and that a financial review would be the industry standard. As Calcagnile explained, the difference between financial reviews and audits are that a review is less expensive but also less thorough than an audit, and is used by almost every organization on campus. The Concordia Student Union, as a multi-million dollar corporation, is legally obligated to provide audits.
During the question period that followed, GSA executives and members raised concerns on a number of issues, including the CSBC’s membership policies. According to Calcagnile, fee-paying students must sign up to be considered voting members of the CSBC according to laws that require them to hold a list of all their members. Due to privacy concerns, the university cannot give the CSBC a list of all fee-paying students, which means that they must keep one themselves.
“We are open to any undergrad or grad student to come and vote at our [Annual General Meeting,]” Calcagnile said. “All they need to do is register with us that they are an undergrad or graduate student, and the agreement that we make people sign basically says ‘I am a student and I have a vested interest or I am interested in voting.’ Nobody has ever been denied and there’s no reason for us to.”
Once both Calcagnile and Friesinger left the room, the GSA debated what actions would be the best response to the motion in question and the concerns they now had. Simon Vickers, one of the GSA’s Arts and Science directors, said at the meeting that he was concerned with the tone of the presentations and some of the additional information provided by Friesinger. This included a copy of a personal email exchange with Wendy Kraus-Heitmann, a former member of CUTV’s provisional BoD.
“It seems to me that they’re positioning us between some sort of infighting that deals with things that are outside of this audit,” Vickers said. “It seems that we’re being asked to attack [CSBC], and I don’t think that we should move forward with this, I think that we should find an alternative.”
Friesinger’s motion was eventually tabled until a future meeting to allow the GSA more time to investigate the matter, and to allow them to pass their own motion in response.

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