UPDATED: What Happened At CASA’s Halloween Party?
Students Looking for Refunds and More Transparency From JMSB Student Association
The Commerce and Administration Student Association’s Halloween party Carnevil went as planned on Oct. 28.
This article has been updated.
But confusion arose after the party when leaks from CASA’s private executive page were posted to the public “CASA-JMSB” Facebook page.
The leaks showed a post by Evan Pitchie, the CASA President, saying the association would not advertise that full refunds for tickets were available. Soon after it was deleted.
In the leak, Pitche said, “We will only do refunds for those who request for one before 10 p.m. today” and that, “We are not advertising this.”
The post caused some backlash, with their Vice-President of Academics, Shaumia Suntharalingam, worrying that ticket holders might sue in reaction to this. Pitchie responded to that by saying “We cannot afford to pay everyone back, if people sue, let them sue.”
“There’s no good way of interpreting this, and these are the people who are supposed to be representing us,” said JMSB student Anojan Kanagalingam, who posted the leak he obtained from an anonymous CASA executive to the public “CASA-JMSB” Facebook page.
He was unhappy with how the party ran, explaining that the attendees were left to wait outside of the venue for hours before being able to get in.
“This is a Halloween party and you’re leaving people out in the cold for two, three hours?” said Kanagalingam. “People are in the cold, and a lot of people due to these reasons ended up never going to the event because they got fed up.”
According to Kanagalingam, a number of these students have reached out to CASA executives after the party to ask for full refunds. However he says none have been given so far.
Kanagalingam said that when he spoke to CASA’s VP External Affairs, Rudy Grow, he told him that those people with unscanned tickets were eligible for full refunds—however that was never advertised to students anywhere on CASA’s website or Facebook page.
When asked about this, Pitche said that CASA did not provide full refunds to those students because “long lines are not an excuse.”
He also mentioned that many were left waiting outside for hours because they choose to show up well before the doors opened at 10 p.m.
Kanagalingam announced after his interview with The Link that he is running for the VP Events position at CASA.
For the time being, it is difficult to determine exactly how many students decided to leave for this reason.
Tickets for the party ranged between $30 to $50 each.
“If People Sue, Let them Sue”
According to Pitchie, the comments made in the leaked post were made in the heat of the moment. CASA had initially thought the party might be cancelled, as an unknown person had called the Régie d’Alcool on them.
This was in reaction to an advertisement on their CASA JMSB website saying that the event would have unlimited alcohol. This is not in accordance with the law.
Finally, the party wasn’t cancelled. Drinks were sold for one dollar each to be in line with the law, and according to Pitchie, someone from the Régie d’Alcool showed up to check up on the party
“Sometimes [in the] heat of the moment, we all make mistakes. I have no problem admitting that,” said Pitchie, who wanted to stress that the leaks only showed what was one part of a much larger conversation.
To make up for the false advertising of unlimited alcohol on their site, the coat check fee was dropped, and $10 partial refunds were offered to all tickets holders who attended the party and had their ticket scanned. Those partial refunds were advertised through their Facebook page.
By mid-January, Pitchie said, everyone who had applied for the partial refund had received it.
No CASA executives other than Pitchie responded in press time for a comment.
Students Want More Transparency
Kanagalingam has asked several times that CASA executives send him breakdown of all the expenses that we’re made for the party.
“It’s really questionable how the budgets are being spent,” he said.
CASA’s policy states that the VP Finance is required to “be prepared to discuss at any time” CASA’s finances if called upon by JMSB students or their Board of Directors. But for the time being, Kanagalingam’s yet to receive a breakdown of the budget.
The Link was not able to get a detailed breakdown of the party’s expenses either.
Update: Applebaum, the VP Finance of CASA, wrote in an email on Monday afternoon that he was unable to provide Kanagalingam with a breakdown of the expenses because he was still in process of giving partial refunds to students, and so could not provide an accurate breakdown of their expenses.
As well, he said the event generated $116,050 in revenue and $125,792 in expenses—the party incurred a loss of $9,742.