RRRA postpones budget over discrepancies

The Rideau River Residence Association (RRRA) was forced to delay tabling its budget due to discrepancies over executive tuition costs at its Nov. 27 council meeting.

In the proposed 2017-18 budget, RRRA allocated $4,000 for executives’ summer tuition fees and $43,509 for their yearly academic tuition.

According to the RRRA bylaws, “All executive members will be compensated for 1.5 course credits for their term as executive members.”

However, Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) president Zameer Masjedee said the number was about $40,000 more than it should have been.

“I’m just wondering what the justification is for that discrepancy,” Majsedee asked executive members at the meeting.

He said the cost for 1.5 credits—or three courses—of the most expensive undergraduate degree at Carleton is about $2,800, meaning the executives’ three 1.5 credits should be closer to $8,000 in total, which he called a liberal estimate.

Since tuition for international students is generally higher, Masjedee clarified that none of the executives are international students.

“I’m no mathematician, but $8,000 is surely nowhere near $47,000, and I think that instead that additional $40,000 could be allocated to things that would serve students,” Masjedee said. “As of right now, I don’t know how we could approve this budget.”

RRRA president Hyder Naqvi said that some fees might be missing, such as staffing fees and the cost of textbooks, which executives also receive compensation for per RRRA bylaws.

“It’s a fair point, and I think if you do have that concern we can follow up on that as well,” Naqvi said.

He also said the university is responsible for the transfer of credits.

“We submit a document to the school. We say, ‘this is how many credits we’re allocating from RRRA for the execs’, ” Naqvi said. “If there was a discrepancy there, we can follow up with the school.”

“I would have hoped that you’d have those numbers here today because, for me at least, I can’t vote to pass the budget when it’s like over double the allocated funding that should be awarded to tuition fees,” Masjedee responded.

In RRRA’s 2016-17 budget, the association allocated $45,500 for yearly academic tuition fees and an additional $3,965 for summer tuition.

Naqvi said additional documents would show what the money was being allocated for and the council could discuss it further at the next RRRA meeting.

“It’s going to require looking through the sheet a little more,” he said.

Jacob Howell, RRRA vice-president (administration), suggested that council table the budget until the discrepancies could be accounted for, which he said are “quite clearly are not adding up.”

The vote to table the budget until after RRRA’s financial review committee could go over it passed unanimously.

Photo by Rachel Emmanuel