On March 25, the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) kicked off its Winter General Meeting (WGM) with updates on the past year’s work and proposed changes impacting the union’s future leadership. 

The WGM is the union’s second of two yearly membership meetings to provide a comprehensive look at the union’s advocacy, an opportunity to change bylaws, and a forum to discuss the union’s direction. 

Approximately 100 students crowded the 1265 Bistro stage, voted to change bylaws about who receives the interim president role if the president steps down, and approved the 2022–2023 audited financial statement. 

A $500k surplus

During the meeting, an independent auditor from Yale PGC went over the SCSU’s audited financial statements from the 2022–2023 fiscal year. The SCSU earned just under $500,000 in net income in 2022–2023, about a five per cent decrease from 2021–2022.

The SCSU’s revenues increased by around 16 per cent from 2021–2022 to 2022–2023, from around $6.9 million to $8 million. Its expenses increased by around 17 per cent in the same period, from around $6.5 million to $7.6 million. 

In an interview with The Varsity, SCSU Vice-President (VP) Operations Akaash Palaparthy said that the “SCSU, categorically, is in a better financial position than it’s ever been before.”

The union’s wages and benefits expenses increased by around 60 per cent, from about $575,000 in 2021–2022 to about $924,000 in 2022–2023. The union’s repairs and maintenance fees increased by 90 per cent, from about $43,000 in 2021–2022, to just under $82,000 in 2022–2023. The union’s health and dental plan disbursement, professional fees, and general and administrative expenses also went up. 

“More students than ever before have started using the services. They’ve started using the health and dental plan, we have more people being a part of our events. So we have to increase the programming, we’ve had to increase the [services],” Palaparthy said. “With increased engagement, our revenues go up, our expenses also grow.”

2022–2023 also marks the first year that the 1265 Bistro, the restaurant run by the SCSU in the basement of the Student Centre, has broken even without the use of a subsidy. It managed to rake in $64,000 in net revenue without the subsidy. 

The union ended the 2023 fiscal year with around $10.9 million in total assets, which is almost $1.1 million more than its total assets at the end of the 2022 fiscal year.

“We have enough for maintenance, for students and our upkeep, expansion, capital projects, and events. Everything’s very solid,” said Palaparthy.

Interim president 

Students also passed a motion changing who would receive the interim president role in situations where the president steps down. Before, the VP academics and university affairs (AUA) would take on the interim president role. Now, the VP operations will take on the role instead. 

Current SCSU President Amrith David took on the interim president role during his time as VP AUA after Michael Sobowale resigned, citing personal circumstances in 2023. 

The VP AUA is responsible for supporting students in academic integrity petitions and appeals cases, sitting on almost every academic committee, and organizing the undergraduate research symposium. David mentioned to The Varsity during the March board of directors (BOD) meeting that juggling VP AUA and interim president roles was “a lot.” 

“We hope that the future president doesn’t leave midway… but in the case that does happen, now you’re able to have the VP operations… work on the president’s portfolio,” said David. The SCSU will have its April BOD meeting on April 8, where executives will decide whether to approve the unofficial results of the Spring General Elections.