KSA Attends Slew of Spring Conferences
Featured / June 30, 2017
Delegates were present at meetings for the Canadian Federation of Students, Alliance of B.C. Students, and Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
Alyssa Laube, Associate Editor
Being able to attend conferences for student lobbying organisations is imperative to the success of the Kwantlen Student Association, as doing so informs and empowers its members. However, the working relationship between the Association and the organisations they are members of can easily fluctuate if either party fails to properly communicate or follow expected procedures.
The KSA’s relationship with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and the Alliance of B.C. Students is doing well. However, its relationship to the Canadian Federation of Students continues to waver.
The KSA and CFS have been at odds for years. Each organisation has taken the other to court, and last year’s KSA President Alex McGowan voiced concerns about feeling excluded and silenced at CFS meetings. Recently, the current executive team attended the Federation’s annual general meeting and returned with a bad taste in their mouths.
At a council meeting on June 9, KSA President and VP Services Tanvir Singh described being at the meeting as “a really bad experience,” adding that the executive was “routinely silenced,” and that “discussion was called in such a way that [they] couldn’t actually have discussions.”
“We had two or three people at the mic waiting to make comments, and whenever another member came by, they kept calling the question,” Singh elaborates in an interview. “I believe that the speaker of that meeting was quite biased towards those that are in the opposition.”
When Singh refers to the opposition, he means those member organisations that have tried or expressed the desire to leave the CFS in the past, as well as those who are dissatisfied with how it currently operates.
The several motions that the Kwantlen Student Association proposed were not spoken about at the meeting due to time restrictions.
“The reason a lot of these motions came by is because a lot of us are ready to leave the CFS,” says Singh.
In response to these statements, CFS National Treasurer Peyton Veitch encourages the KSA to get in touch with the Federation directly.
“That’s obviously a very serious allegation, if the KSA feels that the chair was ignoring them during the meeting, and that’s something that I suggest they should put in writing and send to us so that we can deal with it appropriately,” says Veitch. “I tried and my colleagues tried to be very attentive to everyone that was speaking during opening and closing plenary. That’s something that we do regardless of who’s speaking.”
Singh responds, “It would have to be a discussion between myself and my VP External with council…[but] Peyton has a point that we haven’t reached out to them, so we might reach out at the next general meeting.”
Representatives from the KSA also attended a CASA meeting, which they found productive, but decided to abstain from membership due to financial limitations. Because CASA collects student fees for membership, and students are already paying for membership with the CFS, the KSA feels that it would be unfair to get KPU students to pay for both organisations. However, CASA will continue to include associations like the KSA that cannot afford to pay the fee at their meetings.
The Alliance of B.C. Students will soon welcome KSA VP External Caitlin McCutchen, Policy & Political Affairs Coordinator Nicky Simpson, Arts Representative David Piraquive, and Student Member of the Committee on External Affairs Sydney Walsh to Kelowna’s UBCO campus for its annual general meeting. According to executive meeting minutes from June 1, the KSA released $1460 to send the four delegates to the event.
Unlike previous KSA Presidents Alex McGowan and Jessica Larson, who also served as ABCS Chairpeople, Singh will not be heavily involved with the ABCS. Instead, McCutchen will be the KSA’s primary representative with the organisation.