Concordia Student Union councillors and executives got down to unfinished business at the March 16 council meeting. The original meeting, held on March 9, came to an abrupt and early end when chair Marc-Antoni Tarondo adjourned it after the meeting turned into a screaming match. Students refused to leave during a closed session meeting to discuss what the executive termed ‘human resources,’ referring to the resignation of former VP sustainability and promotions Morgan Pudwell. All the items left on the agenda were left tabled at the end.
But the second meeting was more cordial, taking place down the hall from the room from the previous week. On the brief agenda were two points of business: the finance report which had been left at the last meeting, and a new point: a presentation by the CSU’s lawyer on the CSU executive’s lawsuit against the Canadian Federation of Students.
Ramy Khoriaty, who has been filling in as VP finance since Zhuo Ling resigned in January, presented a slideshow of CSU spending, revenues and deficits. At the March 9 meeting, CSU director of finance and administration Michele Dumais was present and appeared ready to answer any questions students would have, but she was missing at last week’s meeting.
Allegations of financial mismanagement have swirled about the current executive since Morgan Pudwell resigned, stating she had concerns about money.
According to Khoriaty, most budget lines were overspent by under $5,000, with a total of 17 lines with deficits. One of the higher losses was the annual handbook, which lost over $13,604. Other cost overruns were found in the promotions budget. President Heather Lucas attributed this to an increase in press releases by four or five put out this year, triggered by events like the Woodsworth dismissal and protests. Each release, she stated, costs $800.
The executive maintained that many of the deficits would be filled with incoming grant and sponsorship money, like the orientation and speaker events, and that the CSU is on track to make a surplus this year.
While CSU signing officer and independent councillor Aaron Green vouched for the veracity of the financials, he asked for a breakdown of the financials for campus bar Reggies. Khoriaty did not have them for the bar, which was posting a deficit earlier in the year.
A recess was called so that Khoriaty could provide councillor Joel Suss with further documents.
Several councillors proposed that the CSU make monthly or quarterly financial reports to council. A motion for quarterly reports passed, and will go to the custodial committee for further meting out.
The second portion of the meeting was devoted to a presentation by CSU lawyer Philippe Tessier, who gave the details of the suit filed the next day on behalf of the CSU against the CFS and former CSU president Keyana Kashfi.