(Clarifications added November 14th at 1700GMT and Nov. 15 at 0445GMT, clarifications are in green)
A couple of days ago, I was informed that the SU at UToronto called Student Administrative Council had included in their financial statements that they owed the CFS over $1 million. It appears that the statements indicate that SAC is about to hand over a million plus dollars to the CFS. (and we all now how great they are with managing money)
The statements are available as part of the SAC AGM agenda which is online and can be downloaded here.
The Varsity based on these statements wrote an article "Varsity article "SAC to pay CFS $1m"") this week pointing to SAC paying this money to the CFS.
The reporter states in the article that SAC was unavailable for comment on the issue. The reporter, however, was able to contact the CFS. The CFS is quoted in the article clearly expecting the money to be coming their way. Based on all the evidence, the article was published.
Almost immediately, SAC cried foul. They quickly (and suspiciously in my opinion) had an extensive statement on their website rebutting The Varsity article. It is available on the SAC website here.
The Varsity has published a correction in Monday’s issue.
I have taken screen caps of the revelant sections of the SAC account statements from their AGM package:
As one can clearly see on this page, SAC states in their balance sheets that they owe the CFS $1,085,608 for two years in dues. That is a lot of money to come from one school to flow to the CFS and disappear. The lack of value for money is another issue all together. Also, this is the only time we will ever know exactly how much money the CFS is getting from a school, norming the money is not transitted from students to the CFS via the local Students’ Union. This means it never shows up on any balance sheet.
Now, one can clearly see on this page that SAC is running a deficency of over a million dollars because of the CFS fees. Now based upon the statements on the SAC site, it appears this is a deficency that is being carried forward from last year. Their statements are a bit confusing. They really should say the date of the balance (aka April 2006) or the fiscal period (aka 2005-2006). I do give them credit for actually making them available on their website. The MSU does not make their statements available in this depth of detail. Of course, neither SU (and very few do) releases the post-audit memos they get that state concerns. I give SAC credit for being more transparent than the MSU (McMaster Students Union Inc.)
Now, this is where I am getting a little confused. Based upon this, I see that SAC has a lot less cash this year than they did last.
This leads me to believe that the CFS was given the money this past year (and could explain where the nearly $500,000 that flowed to the Douglas Student Union could have possibility came from). Yet, SAC on their site states that the deficit last year was only $16,000. The numbers are just not making sense to me based on this quote from the SAC site. What is going on here?
Clarification / Update
It has been confirmed to me that SAC has proved CFS no money towards this account payable and will not be doing so in the coming year. To be clear NO money has been given to CFS for this payable.
*This is the note in the statements referring to the CFS.
This brings me to my next point. It is wrong for Students’ Unions to scream “bloody murder” when the student press reports on a story using the information that the Students’ Union gives them when the Students’ Union gives incomplete, misleading, false, or confusing information! When the Students’ Union does not return calls to student newspapers and generally act like they are a version of Langley North.
If Students’ Unions wish to hold the student media in distain, that is their personal choice. They, however, are not getting the money they have to spent out of the fruits of their labour. They are getting off the backs of students who can ill afford to be paying the high fees they are charging. This means they have to be accountable to students. That means being accountable to the student media when they ask questions.
This example of an SU screaming “bloody murder” is just another in a continuing pattern here in Canada. The more and more I learn about our Canadian Students’ Unions, the more and more I become interested in VSU. I am not a proponent yet but it may be the only way to get Students’ Unions to smarten up in Canada.
I can say this right now, The Varsity is lucky that it is not controlled by the politicians of SAC like The Sil is controlled by the politicians (the majority of votes on the BoD not being students) of the MSU. The writer would probably be looking for a new job if that was the case ’cause “dismissal without cause” is such a easy thing to do.
I was wrong to state the above, that SAC would interfere in freedom of the press if they had the opportunity. That was a poorly choosen paragraph and I apologize for it. The general point I am making is about Students’ Unions in general, not directly at SAC.
Okay, now lets just say that the following sta
tement is true (and I have nothing to believe it is not true):
*Clarification <font color="
008000">The statement is correct.
- The ”
deficit of nearly $1.1 million” is a “theoretical” deficit that has not affected SAC’s operations. To be clear, not a single penny of SAC’s revenues in 2005-2006 have, or will, be disbursed for the Federation fees owed. SAC’s actual operating deficit in 2005-2006 was only $16,636 — which is less than 1% of SAC’s operating revenues.
This means that the CFS is not collecting the fee right now. Why would this be? This brings me to the “Sword of Damocles” illusion that I make in the headline. Simply put, if the students at UToronto ever decide to get rid of their CFS overlords, the CFS will take them to court and effectively crimple the largest solely undergrad SU in the country. That is the sword that now hangs over the heads of students at the University of Toronto. The CFS will most definitely add interest to the debt just to make sure to really hurt the students at University of Toronto if they ever dare to go for independence again. The remainder of students that are in CFS will be helping to pay the lawyers that CFS will waste student money on in order to make independence hurt. The CFS is very smart like that. At over a half million dollars a year, they will never let UToronto student have their freedom at a reasonable price.