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Some SFUO businesses’ earnings lower than expected

Andrew Ikeman | Fulcrum Staff

Illustration by Mathias MacPhee

The Board of Administration (BOA) held its second meeting of the 2012–13 school year, during which the budget for the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) was revealed and subsequently passed.

The SFUO-run businesses (1848, Agora Bookstore, Café Alternatif, and Pivik) reported earnings from 2011-12 were approximately $52,000 dollars below what was projected in the previous year’s budget. SFUO VP Finance Adam Gilani attributed this discrepancy to two separate issues: the Agora following a province-wide trend in the publishing business, and 1848 needing new equipment.

Gilani cited a report given to him by the manager of the Agora that detailed the decline in revenue for all bookstores across Ontario during the winter months, and asserted that the student-run Agora bookstore was not immune to this trend. In the case of 1848, the need for new equipment created a worse-than-expected deficit.

“The reason for [the higher deficit] is that there was an investment last year in a new oven,” said Gilani. “1848, because of where it is located, is not allowed to have any gas connections … so [that] really limits the bar to have a functioning kitchen. ”

Gilani also said that along with the electric ovens, the purchase of new dishwashers and refrigerators contributed to the campus bar falling further in the red.

On a positive note, Pivik nearly doubled their estimated earnings. Part of their success can be attributed to the fact that Pivik is now accepting students’ meal plan and flex dollars as payment for many items sold.

“There are a few fridges [in Pivik] that actually count [toward] the meal plan,” said Gilani. “So there was a huge amount of new revenue coming from [students on the meal plan].”

The 2012–13 budget projects that all SFUO-run businesses will make a combined total of $290,284, an increase from the previous year’s earnings.

The revenue generated from last year’s student health plan came in lower than expected, as more students than anticipated dropped out of the SFUO health coverage in favour of other options.

“It was budgeted that there would be more people taking the health plan up, and less opt-outs,” said Gilani. “There were a lot more opt-outs last year, from students who have other health plans.”

The SFUO will work within a budget of approximately $3.3 million—which goes toward all facets of the SFUO, including levies for different organizations on campus, general administration costs, clubs, and philanthropic activities.

After the passing of the budget, the BOA debated and passed an amendment to the employment equity policy. The policy amendment, which was brought forward by Gilani, aims to facilitate better hiring practices in regards to previously marginalized individuals. The policy amendment also removed two other entries from the SFUO policy manual—numbers 17 and 24.

“[Policy] 17 is the original policy, entitled employment equity, which is incomplete,” said Gilani. “It is not very useful in achieving the ends that are required by this policy.”

Before the vote was taken and the motion passed, Gilani went on to say that the two policies should be ammended.