Politics Tahir is wearing a white shirt and is facing Abdul-Raheem, who is wearing a black shirt with the green, yellow, and white Ignite sign on the corner of his shirt

Published on October 25, 2016 | by Aastha Shetty     Photography by Aastha Shetty

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Ignite releases budget details

Ignite has released a categorized breakdown of its budget. It includes details such as the specific amount of money spent on equipment or research.

The categorized breakdown says that Ignite spent $207,253 of its $400,000 budget as of Oct. 19, 2016. Ahmed Tahir, the president of Ignite, said that the categorized list of expenses will help answer any questions that students may have about Ignite’s spending habits.

Decker is holding up a sign to onlookers. She is facing away from the camera and you cannot tell what is on the sign.

Mikki Decker protesting “Ignite’s lack of transparency,” after a press conference in October 2016.

The breakdown details categories like, “new equipment and supplies,” which includes costs for “removal of signage, signage and electrical, tents, media walls, portable promo booths, backdrops & banners, posting supplies,” and “printing materials.”

Tahir said, “I think there has been a lot of misinformation on why we are doing certain things and I think people have been jumping into conclusions…We release[d] the information because people definitely need to know where their money went. There has been a lot of confusion.”

The Student Collective’s founder Mikki Decker said, “A categorized budget only allows for Ignite to bury the real issues under a generalized number.” She said that the real problem is a lack of transparency. “You could ask anybody in Guelph-Humber or in Humber – nobody knew Ignite was coming. So who did they survey?”

Page one of FIPPA request submitted by Decker.

Page one of the FIPPA request submitted by Decker

Decker referred to the information posted in an “FAQ” section on the Ignite website, where it mentioned that “several hundred students were surveyed,” over the course of the last academic year. Decker said more students should have been surveyed, “Ignite could have avoided all of this controversy if they had involved students more in their decision.” She said she had spoken to several students on campus and through social media but she could not find anybody who had taken the survey mentioned on the Ignite website.

The general manager of the College Student Alliance Jennifer Howarth, who works with student governments and gives them advice said, “Generally, there is a very high level of apathy, and students don’t pay attention” to student politics.

She added, “for any college, many times it is hard to get student opinion and sometimes students feel like it doesn’t affect them… So, [the number of students surveyed] is generally 5 to 10 per cent of the population.”

In an attempt to get more answers, Decker emailed a Freedom of Information Act and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) to Tahir and Ignite Executive Director Ercole Perrone. In the email, Decker told Tahir and Perrone that “I have no other choice but to obtain information this way.”

Page two of FIPPA request submitted by Decker.

Page two of the FIPPA request submitted by Decker.

The FIPPA is a government legislation that allows citizens to request hidden or undisclosed information from a public-sector organization.

In her request, Decker wanted details about “the job descriptions of all part time and full time staff”, as well as “any increases in salary for President and Executives.”

At a press conference held earlier this month, Perrone addressed Decker’s FIPPA request and said, “We are a non-profit organization.. Why didn’t we respond to a Freedom of Information Request? Because that legislation is not meant for organizations like ours.”

Tahir said that students with more questions regarding their student government are encouraged to “reach out to Ignite.” Tahir said, “If I couldn’t meet with you, if I couldn’t talk to the press, that would be the real problem.”

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About the Author

is a student journalist and she would like to work for the big leagues one day. Sometimes she writes poems, experiments with graphic design or polishes her photography skills. Sometimes she says "f@$% it!!" and watches 12 hours of Dr. Phil reruns on YouTube.



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