CSU’s financial practices, budget status called into question by resigning VP Pudwell

When the CSU’s VP sustainability and promotions Morgan Pudwell resigned last Thursday, she left a trail of accusations behind her, many of which focused on potential financial mismanagement within the student union. Pudwell wrote in her letter of resignation that the budget, as originally presented, was in fact entirely fabricated, that councillors and executives were told not to speak about the financial situation to anyone, and that nearly every budget line had been overspent.

All of these accusations have been denied by the remaining CSU executives, both in a statement and in interview with the Concordian. “There is in no way mismanagement of the budgets,” said current VP finance Ramy Khoriaty. “That’s an accusation that she doesn’t have any proof of.”

In her letter, Pudwell wrote that most budget lines had been overspent, explaining later that “In the budget that I was shown everything, even mail and office expenses, was pretty much over budget.” Khoriaty said this isn’t true, but that this was limited to three lines of spending: the speaker series, green initiatives and promotions budgets, and that these had been frozen as a result.

Additionally, Pudwell said that upon sitting down with Khoriaty she was told that certain items had been placed under her budget line that were not supposed to be there, including promotional material for orientation and mugs. “I was told when we ordered them that I was just doing the ordering simply because it was easier for the VP promotions to do all the ordering at once and it was cheaper,” she said. Khoriaty denied that extra expenses were added to her budget, though he admitted that a small error had been made which has since been corrected, a correction she said, if real, she had not been made aware of.

Due to the additions to her budget, the former VP said she was told that she had gone over budget and therefore had no finances at her disposal for the rest of this year. “With over half a semester left in office this left me in a position in which planned project and promised support/funding fell through,” she wrote in her letter.

And while Khoriaty denied any financial mismanagement and reasserted the CSU’s commitment to openness and transparency, having posted budgets online and having one on one sit-downs with each executive to go over finances, Pudwell alleged that she had not been given access to her own budget on multiple occasions. “I was specifically told that no executive would have access or be able to see their budget,” she said.

“Because of this secrecy,” she wrote in her letter, “I am still unaware of the CSU’s current financial status, despite having done everything in my power to find out. I question whether student money has been spent with respect for our members or in consideration of the law.”

Pudwell also said she was told not to speak about the union’s current financial situation, which CSU president Heather Lucas explained saying that executives were told not to speak about budgets because “they were numbers that were projected that we were waiting to get confirmed.” Lucas also said that in the end they had gotten both more and less money than expected from certain sources, resulting in changes to the initial budget Pudwell called ‘fabricated.”

The Concordian also requested financial documents from Khoriaty via email in late January, but received no response.

As of last night, a copy of the CSU’s projected budget, updated Mar. 4, was available for download on their website. For all except four fields however, the spending for this year to date is listed at $0.

Khoriarty says he will be giving a full, detailed budget report at the CSU council meeting tomorrow.


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