The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) announced they turned a profit of $17,000 for its August 2012 Arts Frosh at a council meeting on February 13. This came as good news; for the past three years Arts Frosh has been a financial burden for AUS.
In 2010, McGill decided to withhold $90,000 from AUS as a result of two missing financial statements, $18,000 of unpaid taxes, and a $35,000 budget deficit resulting from that year’s Frosh.
The AUS VP Events at that time, Nampande Londe, cited under-registration as a reason for Frosh’s deficit. In that year, the participant cap for Frosh was raised from 1,500 to 1,800, and only around 1,400 students had signed up. AUS needed 1,600 to break even.
An anonymous organizer at the time cited Londe’s absence in the planning process of Frosh as one of the essential causes of the budget deficit.
“[Her] absence caused me to be late on food deposits, and [Frosh coordinator Brock Clancy] to be late on deposits for pubs and club night venues. A large Provigo order had to be done in three days because the SSMU and OAP refrigerators were unavailable after [Londe’s] failure to give them advance notice,” the coordinator wrote in an email to The Daily in 2010.
Miscommunication and failure to report unexpected costs were also cited among the reasons behind the deficit.
Consequently, this event resulted in Londe’s resignation from the position, although the AUS executive had said at the time that her resignation was due to an unrelated personal matter.
The following year was marked with the theft of $12,000 of Frosh money from the AUS office. According to the current AUS VP Finance Saad Qazi, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) gave AUS $8,000 to lighten the burden. The remaining $4,000 has not yet been made up.
Qazi stated that the University and the AUS were two different legal entities and therefore the police report was filed by AUS only.
“The fact that we have received the money from the University doesn’t make any sense,” said Qazi.
Last year’s AUS VP Finance Marlene Benavides, reported that Frosh had produced a profit of $6,000, however, according to current accounting information, there was a deficit of $1,700.
According to Qazi, Frosh gets sponsorship from many companies, some of which provide direct goods instead of money. Coca-Cola, for instance, provides crates of Coke, which are not reflected in accounting statements. However, the value of goods and services obtained from sponsors that do not give money does not exceed $4,000.
When asked how AUS managed to make profits this year, Qazi said that costs were lower than anticipated. But that was not simply an issue of luck: they had built up a buffer, and the budget was ready to absorb unexpected costs.
Another issue with the previous years, Qazi claimed, was that the VP Finances before him did not stay in Montreal over the summer to help with the planning of Frosh. “There is a really steep learning curve,” said Qazi. “The incoming VP Finances did not have the experience to be efficient.”
The profit will be put into the AUS’ savings account.