In regards to many questions and concerns that have been raised by our members about the overturn in funding for the Undergraduates of Political Science (UPS) and their upcoming conference “Discourses on Sovereignty: Land, Borders and Bodies” the Board of Directors would like to issue this statement to explain our actions.
On October 7, the UPS requested $6000 for their conference on Sovereignty: Land, Borders and Bodies through Course Union Council. According to Course Union Council Policy, any amount over $2000 must also get the approval of the Board of Directors. While this is explicit in our policy, the UVSS Director of Student Affairs issued a cheque prior to Board approval in order to allow UPS to meet their deadline. The UVSS General Manager signed an agreement with the hotel on behalf of the UPS after the approval from Course Union Council.
When the Board of Directors asked for more information before approving the conference, a stop payment was issued on the cheque. But, the contract with the hotel had already been signed. We have since reimbursed the President of the UPS for the cost originally associated with the hotel booking.
The UVSS takes full responsibility for the mistakes we made in this process and for breaching our financial policy. The cheque should not have been issued until it was approved by the Board of Directors. While we did try to accommodate the UPS’ time sensitive request, policy was not followed and for that we must be accountable. We also want to let our members know what we plan to do in the future to ensure that mistakes like this do not happen again.
Moving forward, there are a number of actions that we are going to take. We are in the process of revisiting how we can accommodate event organizers on tight timelines while ensuring Board oversight. As a part of this, we will update our policy to require board minutes (draft or approved) to be attached to cheque requisitions for Academic Grants over $2,000. We will also conduct a thorough review and update of our Finance & Operations Policy, specifically our financial controls, and will complete this work by the end of the 2015-2016 board term.
We as a Board hold ourselves accountable for our actions. We apologize to the Undergraduates of Political Science and to our members for this financial error.
The UVSS Board of Directors.
If you have any questions or concerns please send them to UVSS Director of Student Affairs Kaylee Szakacs at firstname.lastname@example.org