October 7, 2006

The Sheaf - University of Saskatchewan Student Newspaper - October 5th Edition

I always enjoying reading The Sheaf, I feel rewarded for reading it because I learn so much of what is happening at USask by it.  There are two interesting stories in this past week’s Sheaf: A story about their USSU Presidential By-Election and a article that is a to-do list for the USSU.

1.  The USSU Presidential By-Election

The interesting part about the Presidential article was that it was not really that interesting.  I guess their is not much to talk about when there is only one candidate.

**NEW INFO / UPDATE: **Ryan Allen the only candidate in the election only received a 68% Yes approval in the voting.  There were 1,186 votes for YES and 559 votes for NO.  This is very interesting for an uncontested election.  That means that 559 people bothered to vote knowing that it was unlikely to make any difference to the outcome.  Now, were they protest votes against the USSU? or against Ryan Allen? or just against “the system”?   I do not know the answer to that question but I am sure interested to find out.  Election Results are available on the USSU website here.

2. USSU To-do list

The Sheaf is like many student newspapers in the country in that it looks out for the student interest and hold their Students’ Union to account for things.  Of course, that fact that the Sil does not do anything like that is primarily because the Sil is run by the Students’ Union and is not an independent student newspaper.

I was impressed with the to-do list and the points it makes.  On the CFS issue:

  1. The issue of CFS membership must be resolved, and will be resolved with or without the direction of the Executive. The USSU is currently liable for the $160,000 in CFS membership fees the Board of Governors chose not to collect due to the well documented, publicized, and now litigated referendum controversy.
    At the very best, Robin Mowat’s lawsuit fails and, though it may choose not to, the Board of Governors allows for the collection of fees without a further referendum. It is the Board’s policy not to alter the fee structure during term, and unlikely that it would allow for the collection of CFS fees in term two.
    Therefore, the USSU is still on the hook for $160,000 this year. With a budget surplus of slightly under $2000, the USSU must then cut expenditures or sell assets to cover the expense; convince the Board of Governors to collect fees sufficient to cover the expense retroactively; somehow convince the CFS to forgive the debt; or face a long-dreaded CFS lawsuit, none of which will be easy tasks, all of which should be planned for. This is a best case scenario.
    At the very worst, Mowat’s lawsuit is successful, the Board of Governors maintains its position, and the CFS continues to demand an annual offering. This contingency is particularly troubling for the four Executive members who also happen to be ardent CFS supporters; if they are to act in the best interests of the organisation they head, they will have to set aside their loyalties and run the risk of coming into conflict with their Federation friends. The variables involved in this scenario are so diverse they do not allow one to
    speculate on courses of action.

The third item was good as well.  We at McMaster have a campus pub that lost $200,000 dollars in the last year that it was audited.  Yes 200Gs!  The Silhouette has steadfastly refused to publish this information despite a former Speaker of the SRA (Chair of Council) submitting an article with all the necessary details to be published.  Again, this is because the MSU clique that runs things does not want students to know the truth.  No one really cares up there anyway that so much money is being wasted.  The MSU’s office expenses are definitely higher than USSU and probably one of the highest per-capita for a Students’ Union in Canada. Here is The Sheaf on the state of the USSU finances:

  1. Though number three is not as pressing, it has been an issue for a very long time and must eventually be addressed. The USSU, as a legitimate organisation, is an embarrassment; some long overdue, difficult and unrewarding housecleaning is needed. Louis’ and Browsers again stand to lose around $40,000 each without excessively and counter-productively micromanaging these businesses, the Executive needs to make them at least revenue neutral. The USSU office has staffing expenditures of $575,000. At the very least, the necessity of this expense is suspect, as is the necessity of several other expenses. The Executive would be unwise, with little to no management experience, to try to restructure the USSU itself. It would be well advised to commission an external value for-money audit, and retain one or two independent consultants to aid in the process.

Link to The Sheaf – October 5th