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Student awaiting refund after all-ages party event changed to 19+

Students are frustrated and demand their money back.

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The Eyeopener

(CUP) — Some first-year students across Toronto are awaiting refunds after an all-ages event at Orchid Nightclub was changed to 19+.

Frosh Festival 2019 was initially organized as a club event for those aged 17 and over on Friday, Sept. 6, by student events organization International Student Festival (ISF).

ISF promoted the event through their Facebook page where over 1,000 students from across the city showed interest in attending.

“[Frosh Festival 2019 is] the legendary annual frosh party in Toronto that sells out every single year!” said the ISF on a Facebook page.

But post-secondary students in Toronto started noticing that the age requirement had changed from 17 to 19 and over on the same week of the event.

Granite Rrafshi, a first-year biology student, said that he heard from other students that the event was a “scam.”

Despite double-checking the Facebook page when purchasing his ticket, Rrafshi said he saw “absolutely nothing” indicating a 19+ restriction.

“I’ll do everything in my power and use all my connections to make sure you will be held accountable”

He said that once he heard the minimum age of entry had changed, he went to check the Facebook page description again, where he saw an entirely new paragraph stating that the event was now for those 19 and older.

According to emails, Adam Krausz, online marketing manager at NC&C Limited, a music experience company, was the representative who pitched and discussed ISF hosting the Frosh Festival at Orchid.

Nadin Kara, Orchid’s marketing partner, emailed Krausz on July 22 stating that the club is “a strictly 19+ venue on Fridays,” according to emails obtained by The Eyeopener.

In response, Krausz said that ISF  “indicated the age limit in the event description [on Facebook]” and that from their side, “guests are being notified about the venue being 19+.”

In a separate email thread obtained by The Eye from Sept. 6, Jozef Baiden, event manager at NC&C Limited said that they apologize for the inconvenience, saying: “We apologize to the students that are under 19.”

“We are planning to refund everyone under the age of 19,” Baiden states in the email.

First-year professional communications student Khiara Ali said that she and a friend emailed ISF and have not yet received a response.

“We don’t know if we’re getting a refund [or] getting our money back,” said Ali.

In the same email thread, Kara said that ISF was “unprofessional” and “disappointing.”

“If I was aware of your tactics beforehand I would have never booked your event or I would have cancelled it weeks ago,” Kara states in the email. “If I hear that one person did not get a full refund, I will do everything in my power and use all my connections to make sure you will be held accountable.”

In a Facebook post published Friday afternoon, Orchid stated that the venue was “not aware that the promoter was advertising the event as 17+.”

“We apologize to the students that are under 19…the promoter has changed all the information and will be refunding everyone who has purchased tickets wrongfully.”

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Canada

1st possible case of coronavirus in Canada hits Toronto

Provincial officials make an announcement.

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File photo of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Provincial health officials announced Canada’s first “presumptive” confirmed case of the new coronavirus on Saturday with a male patient in Toronto.

“We’re pretty well 95 per cent sure” that the patient has the virus, said Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams during a press conference. Authorities will give a new update if the patient upgrades to a confirmed case of the virus.

Williams was flanked by provincial officials, including Health Minister Christine Elliott.

The 50-year-old patient had returned back on a plane from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus originated from before being admitted to hospital feeling “quite ill”, an official said.

The patient is being treated at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto and is in stable condition.

“Toronto Public Health is continuing to work closely with provincial and federal health colleagues to actively monitor the situation and respond as appropriate,” Mayor John Tory said in a separate statement.

The Canadian case is just the latest of several confirmations that have sprung up around the world over the last week.

The province has set up an information webpage that will have daily updates. ■

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Toronto

In defiance, RSU plans to continue on despite university cut off

Ryerson said the RSU failed to meet conditions set out last year.

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Photo by John Zacherle.

The Ryerson Students’ Union said late on Friday that it would continue on and encouraged student support despite Ryerson University saying that it would no longer recognize the organization as the official student government. 

The university said that it would cut off the RSU because the student union did not fulfill all three requirements set out by Ryerson last January in the aftermath of an incident involving the misuse of student union money.

The RSU said the termination of a 34-year-old agreement between Ryerson and the student union “undermines the authority and democratic rights of students”, adding that it “does not accept this termination as valid under the agreement.”

The student government said in a statement it anticipates talking to students at an upcoming general meeting on Feb. 3 and encourages students to get involved in upcoming yearly elections.

The RSU is a separate entity from the university, with its own Board of Directors elected from among the students on a yearly basis and corporate structure.

In January 2019, The Eyeopener unveiled alleged financial mismanagement to the amount of $250,000 by former RSU executives that took place over an eight-month period that started in May 2018.

The questionable spending included bills from LCBO locations, a shisha lounge and Casino Rama, The Eyeopener reported. It led to the impeachment of former president Ram Ganesh.

Ganesh’s successor announced in March 2019 that PricewaterhouseCoopers would tackle a full forensic audit of the expenses. It was recently completed and the students’ union earlier this week filed a report with Toronto Police.

In its statement earlier on Friday, Ryerson University said that it had “tried, in good faith, to negotiate an agreement that ensures that a model of good governance and accountability forms the basis for a partnership that puts the student experience first.”

“Despite the university’s best efforts to be an accommodating and collaborative partner, the RSU has failed to meet the conditions set out in January 2019,” Vice Provost, Students Jen McMillen said.

The university made the decision last year to withhold the ancillary fees collected from students instead of transferring them to the RSU unless three conditions were met: a forensic audit was carried out, the audit was shared with Ryerson and a new operating agreement was negotiated.

Ryerson claims the forensic audit the RSU just completed was not shared with the administration. A new deal to replace the now-cancelled 1986 Operating Agreement has not been worked out.

Despite not fulfilling all of the requirements set out by Ryerson, the RSU insisted it “has always been willing to engage with the [u]niversity, but refuses to make concessions to the [u]niversity that will jeopardize students.”

Decision undermines ‘democratic rights’: CFS

The Canadian Federation of Students’ provincial division said Ryerson University’s decision “undermines the democratic rights of students and student organizations that represent them”.

In a more formal statement released on Friday evening, CFS argued that autonomy was key for a student union to “effectively represent their membership”.

“Internal challenges are best addressed through the democratic structures that exist within students’ unions because they are the processes agreed upon by the union’s membership,” the organization said.

They added that the RSU has demonstrated it took the allegations of financial mismanagement “seriously” and had taken several actions to address the problems.

The statement did not mention the university’s statement that the student union did not follow through the three demands set out by the administration.

The CFS went on to argue that there are mechanisms in place internally so that the greater student body can hold student organizations accountable, explaining that students are empowered by elections, general meeting and referendum to solve issues that arise.

“Ryerson University’s move to terminate their agreement with the Ryerson Students’ Union is a paternalistic overreach that undermines these democratic mechanisms,” the press release says. ■

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Toronto

Ryerson University cuts ties with RSU

Administration terminates agreement with scandal-embroiled student union.

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Ryerson University has terminated its agreement with the student government after it failed to follow terms set out in January 2019. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

In a dramatic move on Friday, Ryerson University said it no longer recognized the Ryerson Students’ Union as “the official student government” after it failed to meet conditions set out by the university following a credit card scandal uncovered last January.

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“The university has lost confidence in the RSU’s ability to represent students with good governance and to supply the services that students pay for,” Vice Provost Jen McMillen said in a statement, adding the administration has terminated its 1986 Operating Agreement with the RSU.

The RSU is a separate entity from the university, with its own Board of Directors elected from among the students on a yearly basis.

The Canadian Federation of Students Ontario called the termination as an “attack on student democracy”.

The development comes just days after the RSU asked Toronto Police to investigate alleged financial mismanagement by its former executives after completing a forensic audit.

The scandal was first unveiled a year ago, when an RSU credit card bill with approximately $250,000 in unusual spending was revealed by The Eyeopener.

At this time, the university said it would no longer pass along fees students paid to the RSU until three conditions were met. The university asked for a forensic audit that would be shared with its administration and a new operating budget negotiated between the RSU and Ryerson.

“Despite the university’s best efforts to be an accommodating and collaborative partner, the RSU has failed to meet the conditions set out in January 2019,” McMillen said.

The vice provost said the university was further concerned by the recent impeachments and resignations by student leadership over the past two months, though they are unrelated to the credit card affair.

The recent turnovers have largely been due to executive failures to work full 40-hour weeks and for alleged harassment, according to reports from The Eyeopener.

Since Dec. 10, four out of six executives that were on the Refresh slate have left office with the vice-president equityvice-president marketing and vice-president education resigning and the vice-president operations being impeached.

Vice President of Operations James Fotak told The Eyeopener that the RSU has “no comment right now.” The Avro Post has reached out for comment from President Vanessa Henry.

Decision undermines ‘democratic rights’: CFS

The Canadian Federation of Students’ provincial division said Ryerson University’s decision “undermines the democratic rights of students and student organizations that represent them”.

In a more formal statement released on Friday evening, CFS argued that autonomy was key for a student union to “effectively represent their membership”.

“Internal challenges are best addressed through the democratic structures that exist within students’ unions because they are the processes agreed upon by the union’s membership,” the organization said.

They added that the RSU has demonstrated it took the allegations of financial mismanagement “seriously” and had taken several actions to address the problems.

The statement did not mention the university’s statement that the student union did not follow through the three demands set out by the administration.

The CFS went on to argue that there are mechanisms in place internally so that the greater student body can hold student organizations accountable, explaining that students are empowered by elections, general meeting and referendum to solve issues that arise.

“Ryerson University’s move to terminate their agreement with the Ryerson Students’ Union is a paternalistic overreach that undermines these democratic mechanisms,” the press release says.

With files from The Eyeopener/Canadian University Press. ■

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