IGNITE, the joint-campus student government, has produced another vague budget for students to vote on this year, reported the Humber Et Cetera on Wednesday.
Editor Andrew Jeffery raised questions over why the budget did not go more in-depth past a one-page infographic, with President Maja Jocson saying that a budget with all the line-by-line details may deter students from attending the Annual General Meeting.
The March AGM is where the final budget is proposed for the upcoming fiscal year and is open to all students and faculty to attend, and those who are present can question student government officials about the budget and vote on it.
IGNITE’s operating budget is over $11 million, based on a projected population of some 32,000 students, with the majority of the revenue pulled from student fees paid by those at the University of Guelph-Humber and Humber College.
Humber Et Cetera pointed out in an article that the operating budget breaking down IGNITE’s expenses “consistently lacks the detail of budgets publicized by other Ontario universities and colleges.”
The publication, tied to Humber’s journalism program, noted that the broad categories of $1.68 million towards full and part-time employees, $617,000 slotted for promotions and events, and $45,000 set aside for “student advocacy” lack depth.
The vagueness of the IGNITE budget has been reported on by The Avro Post in the past, with several students pointing out the lack of information published by the joint-student association, club management and services organization.
Mr. Jeffery pointed to a difference between IGNITE and the more transparent methods employed by student associations of other post-secondary institutions, using numbers that The Avro Post independently verified.
While IGNITE has a single budget line for staffing, the York Federation of Students provides totals for each individual’s salary and the George Brown Student Association breaks down its advocacy expenditures.
Students have expressed concerns over spending in regards to advocacy, questioning exactly what IGNITE is advocating for, and whether that is what they would want their student leadership engaging in.
The University of Guelph’s Central Student Association, one of the largest in Canada, breaks down their finances into 20 pages, giving line-by-line information on all expenditures.
The Avro Post was disbanded as an IGNITE club in March due to “committing an offence or engaging in an activity that damages the reputation of IGNITE”.
Shortly before, the Academic Reform Group, which advocates for student democracy and representation in academic policy on campus, provincially and federally at the University of Guelph-Humber, was kicked from IGNITE clubs for the same reason.
ARG aims to establish a student government for Guelph-Humber, a university that currently elects representatives to IGNITE and senators to the Guelph Senate.
The Avro Post has reached out for comment from IGNITE student leadership.
More details to follow. Image of IGNITE from Fredrick Larivere/The Avro Post.