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URSU finances remain concern at latest meeting

Owl to buy new oven; $4,000 approved for purchase

External company to conduct 7 years of backlogged URSU taxes. / Kyle Leitch
External company to conduct 7 years of backlogged URSU taxes. / Kyle Leitch

On Feb. 25, the University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU) held a regularly mandated board meeting. Interim board chair for the meeting was Barbara Bell. 12 URSU members were in attendance.

The first presentation was by general manager Amanda Smytaniuk regarding the capital fund. Last meeting, a bill to repaint offices had been tabled with concerns as to whether URSU should be spending while the union is in a precarious financial state. Smytaniuk clarified URSU’s financial position saying that this year, URSU has done quite well and could be looking at having $500,000 in the bank by the end of the year. She then went on to explain certain projects such as the creation of six workstations and replacing the Owl’s oven, the student union run bar.

The second presentation was the UR sustainability plan update. The report outlined steps that were taken in creating the plan. The basis for the plan lay in a campus wide survey and engagement sessions with students. The survey noted that people tied sustainability not only to the environmental movement, but also to enhancing the image of the U of R. The three main concerns of students and faculty were waste, energy, and transport.

The draft plan outlines a few measures, such as introducing recycling programs, promoting the shared ride program and tracking progress with a sustainable campus-rating program called STARS. The report also noted that it was necessary for those at all levels to initiate sustainable measures.

After presentations, a number of votes were conducted. Old business included a vote to accept the English students’ society’s funding request. It was noted that the ESA’s presentation did not live up to URSU’s expectations. Vice president external Daniella Zemlak says she is working on an outline for how to put together a funding proposal so that groups “know what is expected.” The resolution passed unanimously.

The next vote was a proposal to use $4,000 to purchase a new oven for the Owl. The old oven had broken down multiple times during the past year, resulting in maintenance costs and damage to the Owl’s reputation. Board member Matt Jacobs was concerned over the previous treatment of the oven and whether the old oven would be sold. Smytaniuk replied noting that the oven was in quite poor condition, but URSU would look to sell the oven. The resolution passed unanimously.

Then came a resolution to contract an outside source to file taxes for a seven-year backlog. If these unfixed taxes were not completed, URSU would find itself in legal trouble with the Canada Revenue Agency(CRA). This would be a one-time cost. The resolution passed unanimously.

Finally, the board was presented with a proposal to hire MNP, the company that conducted URSU’s recent audit, to train URSU’s management in planning a budget. Devon Peters said that having a professional budget provided accountability. Zemlak said, “It’s important that we justify student fees; we want students to see that URSU is good for them.” The vote passed with one opposed.

After the vote, a number of executive and member reports were made. Vice president student affairs Luanne Drake reported that the inappropriate UR confessions posters have been removed and replaced with a new design (now featuring a man, not a women, in a suggestive cop uniform). During reports, only ten URSU members were present.

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