Heated Student Association board meeting goes behind closed doors before budget discussion
As the discussion on the Student Association’s (SA) annual budget was about to begin at the April 16, board meeting Yassi Yassini, the St. James campus director, immediately made a motion to make it a closed meeting with only directors and senior SA management allowed.
“I’ve been on this board for four years, and when talking about money we fight a lot. I prefer if we don’t embarrass the Student Association in front of all the students in The Dialog,”said Yassini. “They will be aware of what gets passed and what doesn’t but they won’t have to hear about our arguments and say, ‘Wow, these guys are such little children.’ ”
After the board passed the motion to go in-camera there was a brief break and then the meeting resumed for about 20 minutes before opening the doors to the public again.
“I have sat on the board for the past three years and sometimes disagreements get out of hand.” Yassini told The Dialog. “The in-camera (session) was to remind everyone why we were there and whose benefit was our interest.”
The board discussed the increase to the food bank’s budget that was proposed to increase by $30,764 to hire more staff.
“Our food banks are not operating as we should be operating, they don’t stay open because student (staff) are not showing up,” said Geneve Gray, the SA’s director of finance and operations. “So we need to hire staff on contract to be able to stay there and make sure the food bank is operating.”
After an hour of discussion the board decided to table the proposed budget to the next board of directors meeting, which will be the 2015-2016 board of directors.
“We’ve only been given five hours to look at this budget, it was sent out at about three o’clock today, there’s a lot of questions I have about this on a huge variety of issues, as well as the fact that it’s a deficit,” said the Thomas Hadwen, the Casa Loma campus director, adding that he thinks students’ money should be spent every year.
The proposed budget would have allowed for a $81,991 deficit if the SA spent all allocated money next year.
According to the Student Association’s audited financial statements the unrestricted fund, or general operations budget, had a surplus of $334,309 in 2013-2014. In total, the SA has failed to spend over $537,500 collected from students to provide them services since 2009.
The proposed budget is subject to change and will be up for debate again at the next Student Association’s board of directors meeting.