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Student union execs suspended over alleged fiscal mismanagement: campus paper

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 29th, 2019

The Ryerson University newspaper that reported allegations of fiscal mismanagement involving the school’s student union says two of the group’s executives have now been suspended over the matter.

The Eyeopener says the president and vice-president operations were removed from their posts after the student paper reported on Ryerson Students’ Union credit card statements that apparently show expenditures of more than $250,000 over the course of eight months.

The paper reports that the spending includes thousands of dollars at nightclubs and bars.

Ryerson University spokeswoman Johanna VanderMaas says the school takes the allegations seriously but is a separate corporate entity from the student union and cannot conduct an investigation into the matter.

In a statement addressed to members of the Ryerson community, 21 student union representatives say the information reported and photos shared by the Eyeopener were accurate.

The statement says it’s not clear who used the credit cards to make the purchases, but notes that they are under the name of RSU President Ram Ganesh and Savreen Gosal, the vice-president operations.

The Canadian Press has not seen the credit card statements, and the union’s financial controller declined to comment on the matter.

Reporters with the Eyeopener broke the story a week after Premier Doug Ford announced a series of changes involving post-secondary education in Ontario. Tuition was cut by 10 per cent, while grants for low- to mid-income students, which made post-secondary education free for some, were reduced.

The government also announced that some once-mandatory student levies – which fund student unions and student newspapers, among other things – would become optional.

“I’ve heard from so many students who are tired of paying excessive fees, only to see them wasted and abused,” Ford tweeted, along with an article about the alleged fiscal mismanagement at the Ryerson Student Union. “That’s why we’re giving students the power to choose to pay for the campus services they actually use.”

Raneem Alozzi, a third-year journalism student and news editor at the Eyeopener, said without those student levies, the Eyeopener itself would lose a chunk of its funding.

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