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ANU newspaper regrets lost money and integrity

The Australian National University.

The Australian National University. Photo: Louie Douvis

The Australian National University's student newspaper has apologised over its conduct around the alleged embezzlement of more than $125,000 of students' money by a former office holder in the organisation.

ANU Student Media, which publishes Woroni, says it has lost not just the $34,000 said to have been taken from its funds but its journalistic and organisational integrity.

The publication's editor, Cam Wilson, said it had been prevented by ''the powers that be'' from publishing more details of the alleged fraud and apologised to its readers.

The Canberra Times revealed in June that a former undergraduate student was suspected of siphoning off tens of thousands of dollars during a two-year period from campus groups, ANU Student Media, the Student Association and the Interhall Sports Association.

The full scale of the alleged theft was revealed on Friday, after a forensic audit by law firm KPMG revealed more than $125,000 was missing from the three groups.

Woroni reported the larger figure hours after The Canberra Times approached the university and its Student Association about the missing money. ''Someone has stolen a lot of money from all of us,'' Wilson wrote on his Editor's Blog on the same day. ''Our money was stolen from you, our journalistic and organisational integrity has been stolen from us.''

The former student accused of the theft, a member of a wealthy Sydney family who no longer attends the university, remains under police investigation but no charges have been laid.

''This former student, and their decision to siphon funds from various ANU student organisations including ANU Student Media, has compromised our ability to carry out our job as your most important face to the ever-fleeting name of on-campus transparency,'' Wilson wrote. ''It is with frustration that we cite legal impediment as the reason for our ability to report on the issue in the way we would have liked.

''The ANU Student Media editorial board would like to apologise deeply for the actions taken by past students in our positions.

''We would like to apologise on behalf of all student organisations who have let you down, not because we were involved in their carelessness, but because we were prevented from being involved in the one and only real remedy that these kinds of actions can produce: transparency.''

He wrote that Student Media could have done its job better. ''It was our job to let the students know where their money had been hidden and why the powers that be won't let us write about it.''

2 comments

  • It's not hard to speculate about how the suspected offender's ''wealthy Sydney family'' came by its wealth.

    Commenter
    Nicomachaen
    Location
    Kingston
    Date and time
    December 11, 2012, 11:37AM
    • I hope that this alleged crime and the police investigation doesn't result in the community being left with the impression that there is one rule for the rich (ie a crime has been committed and no-one is charged) and another rule for everyone else. Why can't Student Media and the Canberra Times publish more information about this? I'm left with the impression that there is a lot more to this story and there seems to be a bit of a 'smell' around this matter. Public/taxpayers funds are involved here - so we want to know exactly where did the funds went?

      Commenter
      Rocksy
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 6:17AM
      Comments are now closed

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