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URSU management addresses audit concerns

Increased accountability and a review of personal advances discussed

Authors: derek cameron and matt wincherauk – news writer and sports editor

More staff to be hired at the Owl for accounting and inventory. / Kyle Leitch
More staff to be hired at the Owl for accounting and inventory. / Kyle Leitch

On Feb. 11, the University of Regina Student’s Union (URSU) held a regularly mandated board meeting with Barbara Bell acting as the interim board chair.

The first presentation of the night was the English students’ association (ESA) represented by Credence McFadzean, who asked for funding to host the ESA’s trash-talking conference. The conference is an opportunity to engage in public speaking, present papers and engage with other universities. Registration is proposed to be $35 to $40 with a target of 50-70 people attending. The group asked for $1000 in funding to help cover the shortfall of $1150. In return URSU would be listed as a sponsor.

The second presentation was the management’s response to the audit presented by general manager Amanda Smytaniuk. The presentation highlighted problems including high turnover in the accounting department in prior years leading to some of the noted problems in the audit. Bank reconciliations are now to be reviewed by accounting, the general manager, vp operations, vp finance, and the president. The Owl has hired more staff to ensure it can meet accounting and inventory requirements. Cash is now being secured in a safe with an additional $300 cashier float being secured in another external safe to only be accessed by employees.

All personal use of the credit card has stopped. The rationale had been to use the card for personal expenses to earn reward points and then each person would pay back the personal expenses as if it was a cash advance. Personal advances will be reviewed by the board if over $5,000. In regards to the $12,000 cash advance previously mentioned in the audit, Smytaniuk stated, “It’s important you know Devon [Peters] and Minsoo [Cho] had no part.” This was to address allegations, stemming from former board chair Kyle Addison’s resignation letter, that alleged Peters and Cho to have been aware of the cash advance since the summer months.

Smytaniuk then presented a financial update. In the update, she noted the Owl’s operating deficit is $100,000 versus last year’s $196,000. The multipurpose room was budgeted to make $17,000 over the year and have already made $16,000.

Also, employee files have now been created for better documentation. Smytaniuk concluded by saying that although the plan was in early stages, the operating deficit has been eliminated and URSU is ready to increase its assets. URSU President Devon Peters also addressed the issue of the management policy, stating that “the board has been saying things like stop payroll advances, change the way the credit card works, the big picture stuff and we have gone to management and worked with them to change procedure.”

The motions were addressed next. The first motion was to pay $8,550 to repair the URSU offices to increase professionalism. People debated whether repairing the paint on the walls really increased professionalism and whether money should be spent when URSU is in a tenuous financial position. Ultimately, the board decided to table the motion until a later date.

The second motion was to fund the Indian Student Association (ISA) in the amount of $2,500 as they previously asked for. The motion was amended to $2,800, the total amount needed to cover the rest of their cost. The motion passed unanimously.

The meeting then entertained a brief in camera session.
After the in camera session, each member made a brief report. One notable issue brought up was the need to hire a new board chair after Kyle Addison stepped down several weeks ago.

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