Concordia Student Association (CSU) en danger?

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Concordia Student Association (CSU) en danger?

Messagede Carbo le Ven Jan 16, 2009 5:52 pm

Concordia student union's financial chaos defeats even auditors

By PEGGY CURRAN, The GazetteJanuary 14, 2009

Tens of thousands of dollars are either missing or unaccounted for. Bills weren't opened for months, taxes and payroll deductions weren't paid for years. Bank accounts were seized while the accounts manager stayed at home and her bosses allegedly turned a blind eye.

Now the Concordia Student Union is preparing a civil lawsuit as it scrambles to pick up the pieces after what they call years of bungling - or worse - by its former comptroller, Marie Lyonnais, and the elected officials who were supposed to oversee spending of $2 million in student fees.

Keyana Kashfi, president of the student government that represents Concordia University's 30,000 undergraduate students, says it was only after her executive took office last spring that outgoing student leaders let them in on a nasty secret. Chaotic budget practices dating back to December 2005 had carved a huge, as yet unfathomed, hole in the CSU's bank balance.

Exactly how much money has slipped away between 2005 and May 2007, and where it went, still isn't clear.

That's because many files, cheques and bank statements are missing. Those that remain are in such disarray that accountants hired to conduct a forensic audit finally threw up their hands, saying they didn't have enough data to decide whether money was mismanaged, misspent or fraud had occurred.

Still, there were troubling details.

The audit found cash sales during orientation weeks for the two years between 2005 and 2007 listed at a total of $40,000 - compared with the roughly $90,000 collected in cash during this fall's orientation events.

There's also an unexplained $6,000 transfer from the CSU's internet bank account to Marie Lyonnais's credit card. Kashfi said there could be a good explanation for that - officials sometimes use their own credit cards to cover expenses, then file invoices to get reimbursed.

Nevertheless, as a precaution, the CSU has since cancelled internet banking services and now requires three signing officers for its cheques.

The CSU has an annual budget of $1.8 million to $2 million, the bulk of it raised through student fees with the rest coming from sponsorships and revenue from campus events. That money pays about 30 salaries and funds orientation, student clubs, the housing and job bank, tutoring and advocacy centres.

The CSU has been burned before.

In the early 1990s, the student union changed its budget measures when an audit showed thousands of dollars unaccounted for, resulting in a huge deficit. Nine year ago, the CSU was bilked of nearly $200,000 by a vice-president who wrote 52 unauthorized cheques. After that episode, the CSU tightened its financial structures and in 2003, hired Lyonnais to look after the books.

But in the autumn of 2005, Kashfi said, Lyonnais stopped going to the office, citing personal reasons to work from home.

For now, Kashfi and CSU executives use words like "negligence" and "incompetence" to describe the financial mess.

An investigation is ongoing while the CSU's lawyers prepare a lawsuit against Lyonnais.

The CSU is also examining the role of student politicians who oversaw her work, notably Mohamed Shuriye, who was CSU president when the financial confusion began in 2005, and his vice-president (finance), Nadia Hissin.

"As the officer of an organization, it is your job and your elected responsibility, your fiduciary duty, to check up on your financial statements and make sure that what you are doing is feasible," said Kashfi, a 21-year-old fine arts student.

Lyonnais, who quit her job midway through the 2006-07 school year, now lives in Quebec City. She could not be reached yesterday.

In a telephone interview, Shuriye accused Kashfi's team of keeping him in the dark about the investigation and "playing petty politics" in trying to "spin it that Mo himself could have done more."

He noted that the current CSU executive is under siege, with a petition with more than 3,600 names circulating demanding they resign.

That petition was launched by Patrice Blais, a long-time Concordia politico who was interim president when Marie Lyonnais was hired.

Shuriye said Lyonnais was still turning up for work regularly during the year he was president and provided him and Hissin with weekly financial updates.

"We did the best we could with the numbers we had," Shuriye said. "Are you supposed to count the cash in the till?"
-- Un éducateur dans l'âme ne prend rien au sérieux que par rapport
à ses disciples -- soi-même non excepté.
- Nietzsche, "Par delà le bien et le mal"
Bantam du tube cathodique radical
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Re: Concordia Student Association (CSU) en danger?

Messagede Cinnic le Lun Jan 19, 2009 1:18 am

Que sont ces semaines d'orientation dont on parle dans l'article?

Et en lisant ça, je me suis dit que l'argent qui a servi à poursuivre le REMDUS vient peut-être de Concordia, sait-on jamais.
Nicolas Jourdain
Gauchiste du Oueb en devenir
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Re: Concordia Student Association (CSU) en danger?

Messagede Ultraviolet-Guard le Dim Jan 25, 2009 11:30 pm

ou de maisoneuve
Apprenti-e militant-e geek
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Re: Concordia Student Association (CSU) en danger?

Messagede Clouts le Mer Jan 28, 2009 10:42 am

Avec 2 millions$ de budget, ils ne font pas contre-vérifier leur bilan pas une agence externe?
Sinon, qu'est-ce qui arrive avec le parti de gauche à Concordia (UNITE! ???) ?
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Re: Concordia Student Association (CSU) en danger?

Messagede Black_Lotus le Mer Jan 28, 2009 4:05 pm

Le "Orientation Week" c'est essentiallement un party d'une semaine qui a lieu chaque session d'automne.

À propos de UNITE! ça fait des années que ce groupe est dissolu (en passant ce n'était pas un parti politique. Ironiquement, le parti de droite de ces deux dernières années s'appelle Unity.). Le groupe a dissolu à cause de conflits internes, dont entre les membres Ethan Cox et Noah Stewart-Ornstein. Stewart-Ornstein a décidé que c'était plus important de gagner des élections (et d'avoir un bon CV) que d'avoir des principes, et donc s'est joint aux rangs de la droite sous la bannière de "Unity" durant les élections.

Des articles intéressants de la presse étudiante sur la marde qui se passe à Concordia cette année (scandale après scandale):
Je suis contente de ne plus étudier la-bas!

P.S. CSU=Concordia Student Union.
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