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Fed bodies surprised by expenses that went 30 per cent over budget

Photo: courtesy of Zoom Productions.

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) ran a deficit for 101 Week last year and more than doubled it this year, the executive recently announced.

Dave Eaton, the SFUO’s vice-president of finance, told the general assembly on Nov. 17 that the student federation ran a $32,357 deficit for 101 Week in 2013 and a $77,857 deficit in 2014. Those figures put them 15 per cent and 30 per cent over budget, respectively.

However, Eaton said that after former vice-president social Pat Marquis resigned on March 1, “there (were) a lot of things that didn’t get added to the 101 Week costs until much later.”

Last year’s 101 Week was a much bigger event, he said, though the SFUO had budgeted $45,000 less than they did this year.

The SFUO wasn’t able to adjust the budget in time for this year’s 101 Week in order to account for the previously unrecorded costs from 2013, “hence an even bigger deficit this year,” said Eaton.

This month’s budget announcement followed several complaints from students about the planning and consultation involved in 101 Week, epitomized by a $10,000 surplus in unused fireworks meant for this year’s closing ceremonies.

Complaints about the budget, however, have been in regards to the SFUO’s enlistment of the University of Ottawa Student Emergency Response Team (UOSERT) during September’s activities.

Several vice-president socials of federated bodies are saying they weren’t informed about the extra costs of having UOSERT replace safety ambassadors at 101 Week this year.

The responders cost approximately $15,000, according to Eaton.

According to Anne-Marie Cooke, vice-president social of the Science Students’ Association, she and others were aware that the student-run team—which became an official SFUO service after a successful by-election referendum in late October—would be replacing safety ambassadors.

“But we were never explained the extent of their implication,” she said, “nor were we made aware of the exorbitant amount of money it cost.”

Hanna Fazal, vice-president social of the Students’ Association of the Faculty of Arts (SAFA), said she also wasn’t informed about the added costs of UOSERT.

Imroze Shaheen, president of UOSERT, confirmed the cost Eaton gave is correct, but said “almost all of it are costs for equipment that we will not incur again.” Shaheen estimates that future UOSERT costs for 101 Week will be $500.

She added that the individual members of UOSERT contributed $300 to help bring down costs.

UOSERT also cut down the number of ambulances needed throughout the week, and incidents were “much lower than in previous years,” said Eaton.

Emergency response costs weren’t accounted for in the May budget because the SFUO didn’t decide to have the student responders at 101 Week until July, he added.

Beginning this January, UOSERT will be dispatched 24/7 to respond to student emergencies.

In regards to the deficit, Eaton said that the university charged them to use certain facilities that they had not had to pay for previously.

Due to construction on Tabaret lawn, the SFUO had to move the location of their annual Eid Dinner to the Faculty of Social Sciences parking lot.

Caroline Milliard, the university’s manager of media relations, clarified that as in previous years, anyone who uses any of the university’s parking lots has to pay.

“I am fully aware of the cost of renting the parking lot,” wrote Eaton in an email, but assumed that because of the nature of the event, the university would waive the fee or provide a discount.

Eaton also pointed out that the university charged the SFUO for use of guide-training rooms, which was “never the case in the past.”

The last major factor, he said, was the cost to bring in Lupe Fiasco and Kardinal Offishall for Fedstock, which cost more than previous entertainment costs of 101 Week.

Eaton said the SFUO remains at an overall surplus despite the 101 Week deficits.