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Inside the scandal that made the case for the campus press

Last Updated Jan 29, 2019 at 11:22 am CDT

A general view of the Ryerson University campus in Toronto, is seen on Thursday, January 17, 2019. The Ontario Government has announced it's changes to student tuition programmes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The invoices were embarrassing: Booze, nightclubs, Airbnb’s, shisha lounges and casino dinners, all billed to Ryerson students courtesy of the university’s student union over the past eight months. The union says receipts are coming. Right now, there are none. And when the scandal exploded into the news last week, it was a campus newspaper that owned the story.

Campus papers, along with just about every other student group or organization, could be in real trouble when Ontario’s new model for non-essential campus activity funding arrives this September. But universities are multi-million dollar institutions and there’s nobody watching that money on behalf of their spenders except the campus press.

Nobody is expecting the world to cry for student journalists’ career prospects…but what happens to all the money that flows through our institutions of higher learning and student unions with nobody on the beat and at the meetings? Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned this week, it’s how badly every organization handling cash for its members needs a watchdog.

GUESTS: Sherina Harris, The Eyeopener; Robyn Doolittle, the Globe and Mail

 

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