DENIS OSIPOV/THE VARSITY

Student societies at the University of Toronto have submitted their end-of-year financial statements to Governing Council. 

The statements, which were reviewed by the Office of the Vice-Provost, Student & First-Entry Divisions and presented as a report to the University Affairs Board (UAB) on April 22, detail the state of society finances for the fiscal year 2012–2013. The Summary of 2012-2013 Auditors’ Opinions report highlighted the financial statements of CIUT, the University of Toronto’s community radio station, and of the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU), as containing irregularities.

According to the financial statements, CIUT’s audit does not reflect its claim of approximately $160,000 in damages from an ongoing civil suit against its former station manager. At this point, the suit is pending.

CIUT fired its station manager in 2010 over alleged long-term embezzlement. The former station manager has filed a counter-claim for $40,000 relating to outstanding funds owed. CIUT has not made any provision for any financial losses that could occur upon the settlement of either claim.

CIUT’s management maintains that the former station manager’s claim is without merit, and that the organization is not liable.
Ken Stowar, CIUT station manager and program director, said financial provisions are unnecessary. “It’s highly unlikely we’re in any kind [of] position to lose anything in this matter as it moves forward. That’s not even a concern,” Stowar said.

According to Stowar, as the suit is being handled pro-bono, CIUT is not funding it or incurring any cost.

In 2011, SCSU acquired franchises from Kentucky Fried Chicken and Hero Burger in response to a demand for more halal and hormone-free food options on campus, as well as a need for more student jobs.

According to the summary presented to UAB, “it is unlikely that the amounts invested [in the franchises] will ever be recovered.”
The report states, “SCSU’s initial investment in the restaurant included $100 for 100 common shares, together with advances to fund its operations over time and further investments.” Investments in those restaurants totalled $323,478 in 2012 and $266,394 in 2013.
The financial statements also revealed that the restaurants continue to accumulate a deficit, and the value of the shares has been reduced to one dollar.

“Monies that were issued by the SCSU are to be recovered once reasonable profit targets are achieved. We have consulted both internal and external parties, [including] UTSC food and beverage services, UTSC financial services, and franchise head offices, to ensure that the franchises are operating as efficiently as possible,” Tahsin Chowdhury, president of the SCSU, said in an e-mail to The Varsity.

Chowdhury also said that the SCSU has made significant changes to the operations of all subsidiaries. “Such changes have had positive results and will allow us to begin the process of realizing on our initial investment,” Chowdhury added.

At the time of the report, nine of 42 student societies had not submitted their 2012–2013 audited financial statements or had not yet received an audit exemption. These societies will not receive incidental fees until their audited financial statements are submitted, or an exemption is granted.

Since many student societies change leadership in May, audits are often submitted later in the summer.




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