It doesn’t appear that the tension between URSU and the CFS is going to end any time soon.
The URSU executive has formally requested the CFS national office conduct an audit of the CFS Saskatchewan bank account for all fiscal periods dating from the opening of the account. URSU president Nathan Sgrazzutti said this is a response to the way CFS has handled Haanim Nur’s embezzlement of their money earlier this year. Sgrazzutti believes that they have not dealt with the situation well.
“We needed to react immediately to the CFS not deciding to not take any action themselves,” he said. “With forgery and the misappropriation of funds, it is important that they look into their accounts and see if anything else has been taken.”
The CFS national office has remained fairly quiet about the incident since the matter became public. They have not issued a statement outside of the address made by CFS Saskatchewan, days after news of Nur’s actions were known.
“We are still trying to work to figure out what happened to students’ funds,” Sgrazzutti said. “Why has nothing been done? [Why] haven’t they said that Haanim is paying them back, or that there has been a settlement out of court? What is going on? Nothing. So we are going to try and jump-start them into action.”
“They said that CFS had not received our payments, and that they had gone into some account that was beyond their control.” – Nathan Sgrazzutti
CFS national has not responded to the audit request made over two weeks ago. In fact, URSU has had no contact with them at all since a conference call was held between the two parties shortly after Nur admitted to embezzling funds in an interview with the Carillon.
“It was a conference call between us, Kent Peterson, Paige Kezima, and their CFS national executive [Adam Awad],” Sgrazzutti said.
Apparently, the conversation did not go well.
“It was an argument that ended in us saying that ‘our job in this is done,’” Sgrazzutti added. “CFS originally wanted URSU to go to the authorities and say that it was our money that was stolen. They wanted us to say that the money needs to be paid back to us, and then after that, we pay it back to them. That way it looks like it was URSU’s fault.”
In recent years, the CFS’s standing in Saskatchewan has been fragile, to say the least. In addition to several membership disputes across the country, the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union spent over $60,000 on lawsuits disputing their own membership in the organization according to an article published in the Sheaf last week.
The University of Regina held its own referendum on October of 2010, that passed by a slim 88-vote margin to remain members of the CFS. Given the extremely polarized consensus amongst students at the U of R, Sgrazzutti believes that CFS is desperate to avoid further damage to their reputation.
“CFS has taken so much flack, especially on our campus,” he said. “They can’t take any more hits like this. They have had four separate students’ unions try and pull out.”
After the aforementioned conference call, Sgrazzutti claims that the CFS attempted to absolve themselves of any responsibility for further action.
“Their reaction was to claim the account was not given the OK by CFS. They said that CFS had not received our payments, and that they had gone into some account that was beyond their control,” he said. “But URSU actually had standing letters and emails asking us to open the exact account, telling us who is going to be in charge of it, and telling us that ‘this is where your funds to us can be paid.’”
As for the audit itself, Sgrazzutti is less than optimistic the CFS will respond to the request.
“I don’t expect them to even do it.”
The CFS Saskatchewan national executive representative declined to comment on the audit request or the confrence call with the URSU executive. The Carillon contacted CFS national, but no representative was able to return our calls by press time.