Mix-up cost students money
By Brendan Howe
A recent Laurier Students' Union investigation discovered $525,698 in misappropriated funds by the university's administration. This money was not being put into student financial aid where by law it must go.
Ministry of Education guidelines state that 30 per cent of proceeds from tuition increases for this school year are to go to student bursaries.
But Stewart Wong, president of the Laurier Students' Union said he discovered over the summer this was not happening. He said the funds were being put toward the work study program, which already receives $1.33 million, and not toward financial aid.
The Students' Union began their investigation into the matter after receiving complaints from students and faculty about signing a form declaring they were in financial need before receiving a work study job, Wong said. The forms did not have to be filled out before administration decided they would allocate funds to the work study program, he added.
"If the Students' Union had not investigated this matter there wouldn't be a larger bursary," Wong said, adding this was cause for alarm.
Laurier President Bob Rosehart said if administration had not changed the allocation of money, they would not have been following government guidelines.
"It was a mistake. The person in charge made a mistake," Rosehart said, adding it was a good demonstration of student democracy working.
The decision was a result of an interpretation of government guidelines, he said, explaining Laurier's administration changed drastically over the summer after both the president and VP-finance and administration resigned. Rosehart did not know why the former VP-finance and administration Andrew Berczi made the decision.
Berczi's replacement Bob Byron said once Wong raised the question about where the money was going, they dealt with it immediately.
Western's University Students' Council VP-student issues Sam Castiglione said he has to take administration's word that they properly allocate funds from tuition increases.
"The budgetary process at Western is not open enough for us to know," Castiglione said, adding presently there is no way the USC could obtain hard proof about where Western puts the money.