KSA to hold public budget consultations
News / October 27, 2015
They’re looking for feedback on-campus and online
Look, you’re smart. So much so that your resumé includes that obligatory “skilled with Microsoft Excel” bullet.
But if you’re a real keener you’ll add that you penned in a budget consultation session with the Kwantlen Student Association, just to see some real-life spreadsheets. The KSA is steadily tying up their draft budget for the next fiscal year and they’re planning to hold consultation sessions on each campus, where students can prod and ask and suggest all things budget.
“Number one, it enables them to know that the fees we are collecting from them are being used,” says Waheed Taiwo, the KSA’s vice-president of finance. “Secondly, it enables them to know how they could benefit from the services that we are providing through their fees.”
Dates have yet to be posted on the KSA website for when the sessions will be, but Taiwo says there too will be an online venue to provide feedback on the budget, possibly through a designated email. That way no one has to leave the house.
Speaking of the internet, the KSA has to post the draft budget online for everyone to see. The newly amended KSA regulation on budgets ensures that—and has always aimed for—some sort of consultation process to be held for the Kwantlen community.
Taiwo maintains that the process is mainly for “concerned students,” but the regulation does specify the Kwantlen community. Taiwo says that would include faculty and even KPU administration, given a couple of factors.
“If faculty have ideas about programs we could be offering our students, I’m always open,” says Taiwo. “I love feedback, I love hearing from all of our stakeholders. And from what you’ve seen in some of our meetings, you would have noticed we do support the KPU community, and that involves faculties, administrators—if they are providing programs for our students that we are not currently doing, we’d like to support them.”
“That is contingent on the fact that we have the resources, we are not already providing the program—and it’s not something that KPU should actually be doing within the resources that they have.”
Besides the process functioning as a way to inform the KPU community and bounce ideas, Taiwo adds that the consultations function as an indicator of transparency in the governance structure of the KSA.
“Especially where money is concerned based on our past experiences,” says Taiwo. “So that all students know the money is there, we are spending it for their benefit, and they have the opportunity to determine how this money is spent.”
That said, Taiwo claims that nothing in his recent experience would indicate a student’s feedback could draw heavily on how funds are allocated here or there. He couldn’t immediately speak to the degree that the input could “affect the whole budget allocation.” But, citing the heightened activity of student club executives, he did say that clubs at least would plausibly “want something to get done.”
These consultations have happened in the past, before Taiwo’s time as vice-president of finance. From his own knowledge about them, he’s not that hopeful that there’s going to be a lot of students.
Still, he says they’ll try. They’ll announce it on Facebook to all relevant KPU groups among other advertising tactics. They’ll push the idea to all the KSA committees so the word spreads at that level. Taiwo hopes this would draw in a larger number.
“At least any number of students that show up at this consultation would be an improvement,” he says.