We don’t want a loan!!!

After years of tolerating the draining of precious funds to Concordia student groups, the university is trying its best to get us back above their bottom line. This means a new policy for organizations ranging from the Women’s Centre to Q-PIRG, the student newspapers and the student union.
It seems groups have been receiving funds that were never paid to the
university. The Concordian understands the situation in which the administration finds itself. Along with our counterparts in all the affected organizations, we are willing to work out a system that fully addresses this problem.
What the Concordian is unwilling to accept is to allow the administration to suddenly yank away part of any group’s budget in the middle of a fiscal year, after budgets have been approved and people have been told their money would be there.
Although 1.61 per cent doesn’t sound like much of a surcharge, it can mean a bust for some organizations. Groups with large budgets or those with supplemental income might be able to weather any losses as a result of the surcharge. But groups like the Frigo Vert or the People’s Potato may end up continuing to spend money they suddenly no longer have on inflexible budget items such as fixed costs, supplies and payroll.
The lack of communication and advance notice from the university administration was the most jarring aspect of the current situation. Concordia never sought to talk with any of the affected groups before the measure was implemented. As far as we know, there was no forewarning of the extra charge on collected fees. The organizations affected by this new measure only found out about it at the end of
October – the Concordian first heard about this via the CSU president’s office, rather than Concordia financial services. The official memo came a few days later.
This semester’s fees have been remitted – late, it should be noted – with a portion going to the new fee. Some groups were expecting the old system to continue, where the whole year’s fees would be paid in the fall. This was helpful in defraying annual heavy costs involved with starting up at the beginning of the school year. They’ll now have to wait until January.
Furthermore, the new system of remitting fees should prevent any group from receiving money they don’t deserve. If a student fails to pay his fees in the fall, he would be prevented from re-registering in the winter, therefore student groups would not be receiving any money from that student. This might not eliminate the need for a bad debt surcharge, but it is certainly an argument for reducing the rate.
To top it all off, the university is offering loans to groups that might end up in the red because of the change.
Concordia should avoid penalizing student groups as much as possible. It is not their fault that some students decide to default on their payments. Instead of taxing those groups that can least pay, perhaps the university should be more scrupulous in screening out non-payers and invest in a fee recovery system.
In any event, any changes that eventually do come about should be implemented later, when all parties will have time to make the necessary changes and adapt to a new financial situation. There is really no need to rush.
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