After discovering shortcomings in financial management, the University of St. Michael’s College (SMC) is investigating St. Michael’s College Student Union (SMCSU). The college is working with an independent auditor to look into the union’s financial records.
Stefan Slovak, Director of Communications, Events and Outreach at SMC, denied The Varsity’s request for comment as the investigation is still ongoing. Slovak referred The Varsity to SMC’s online statement, which partly reads:
“In the course of our efforts to renew and improve campus life, we have discovered shortcomings in financial management at our student union (SMCSU)… This is an important effort as it relates to our core management values: transparency, accountability and adherence to best practices. The investigation is currently underway. As soon as the results are conclusive, we will disclose our findings.”
SMCSU president Zachary Nixon also declined The Varsity’s request for an interview. SMCSU released a statement on Facebook, which says:
“We’ve been working closely with the administration to make sure our financial reporting is improved and up to standard. We share the University’s values of transparency, accountability and adherence to best practices. As such, the student union is acting in full cooperation with the investigation. As soon as the results are determined, we are convinced they’ll be released to the public. Both we and the administration share the goal of fostering a fully alive and vibrant student body.”
Last year, the college withheld the fees that SMCSU collected from students through its levy. In February, SMC Dean of Students Duane Rendle told The Varsity in an email statement that the college withheld SMCSU’s funds twice — once for each semester — until it retained a chartered accountant for its audit and publicly announced its annual general meeting.
“Once these requirements were met in November and January respectively, SMCSU’s funds were immediately released,” explained Rendle.
The investigation began in mid-July; it is unclear when it will be completed.
SMCSU is not the only college student society to experience difficulty with financial management. Last October, The Varsity reported that U of T had withheld student fees from the New College Student Council (NCSC) for failing to file an audited report for the 2013–2014 finances on time. The NCSC executive alleged there were instances of falsified information, destroyed documents, and misappropriated funds in the previous year.