Popping Bottles: It’s Over 9,000!

Party Tab for Former Execs is a Misuse of Funds

Graphic Graeme Shorten-Adams

If recent allegations about a certain extravagant end-of-the-year party are true, last year’s CSU executives may have left us with one last lapse of judgment to marvel at.

Earlier in the summer, an overview of 2012-2013 expenditures by current VP Finance Scott Carr revealed last year’s CSU executives spent over $9,000 in one night at an end-of-the-year party which, according to CSU councillor Wendy Kraus-Heitmann, included vodka bottle service and was attended nearly exclusively by their own friends.

A party primarily attended by the student body at large would at least provide a partial explanation for the exorbitant event costs, but instead the attendance was allegedly around 50 people. There was no event on the CSU Facebook page advertising the party; in fact, last year I sat on council—the oversight body these people were supposed to be accountable to—and heard nothing about this party taking place.

What else could they have done with $9,000? Eighteen more $500 bursaries could have been created for undergrads; 180 emergency food vouchers (valued at $50 each) for students in need; a Quebec student’s tuition could have been paid for a bit more than three years; over 70,000 condoms could’ve been purchased and distributed for free on campus to promote safer sex; several months’ worth of food at the Loyola Luncheon or People’s Potato could have been funded.

All I’m saying is there are some pretty productive things one could accomplish with $9,000, and many of them would benefit more than 50 people.

This less-than-judicious use of student money wasn’t an isolated incident, either. These same individuals were criticized throughout the year for money spent on a fruitless party to “rebrand” student space, the central accomplishment of which was the distribution of free candy and beer.

They were also reprimanded for approving the spending of $30,000 for the poorly attended ASFA Talks speaker series without approval from council or the CSU Finance Committee—an incident which resulted in requests from council for the resignation of two executives, which went ignored.

It’s important for students to realize that this is more than a simple case of terrible judgment or a lack of moral compass. It was also likely a violation of the CSU’s bylaws and standing regulations regarding spending limits, committee approval, and budget line management.

Given this, one would have hoped that they would have been a bit more mindful in the allocation of money than to host a party with alcohol paid for by student union funds and not come under fire for it. This is now coming back to them, as this past Wednesday’s council meeting saw a motion passed that requested for all but one of last year’s executives to pay back the roughly $9,000.

To be clear, it’s perfectly fine to want to throw a party to celebrate the end of your term in office. It’s a little bit less acceptable to pay for your friend’s drinks with student money that you were elected to use responsibly.

When I was VP Clubs and Student Space (now called VP Clubs and Internal) at the CSU two years ago, our end-of-the-year party consisted of inviting friends to come hang out with us at Brutopia and celebrate, and everyone paid for their own drinks.

Hell, if they wanted to be indulgent, they could’ve gotten creative and installed a hot tub in Reggie’s, or even paid for a week-long trip to Cuba for eight people.

In any case, it’s doubtful that the CSU will ever get this money back, but at least it’s out in the open now, and we know who’s responsible. Alexis Suzuki, Nadine Atallah, Keny Toto, Simon-Pierre Lauzon, Andrew Roberts, and Stefan Faina—you owe students a $9,000 apology.