By Matt DiMera
The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) council voted nine of their members a raise in their annual pay, at a seven-hour long council meeting Thursday, April 14.
Campus directors can now make $2,860 more per year, an increase of 25 per cent, and executives can make $6,240 more per year, an increase of 40 per cent. The change will cost the KSA roughly $43,000 more per year.
The increase in compensation was part of the sweeping changes to the regulations proposed by the executive board. The new regulations passed 13-4. None of the nine council members receiving the increase opted to declare a conflict of interest and abstain from the vote.
The new regulations deleted a previous provision that any changes to compensation for elected officials could not come into effect until April 1, in the following term, to avoid conflicts of interest. Langley representative Ken McIntyre tried to amend the new regulations to restore the April 1 clause, but was voted down 14-3.
The five members of the executive board have had their paid hours raised to 35 hours per week, up from 25. The four campus council directors have had their paid hours increased to 25, up from 20. The executives earn $12 per hour and campus directors earn $11 per hour.
Langley campus director Jennifer Campbell (holding her own vote and Langley representative Ken McIntyre’s proxy vote), Surrey campus council officer Sunita Sohi (holding Richmond representative Sasha Mirza’s proxy vote), and Ashley Fehr (holding Richmond campus director Harj Dhesi’s proxy vote) all voted against the regulation changes including the pay increase. Council members who are unable to attend a meeting can assign their proxy to another student, allowing them to vote in the council member’s place.
The proposed regulations also included higher tuition subsidies for campus directors and executives. The proposal raised campus directors tuition subsidies by 202 per cent to $3,400 per year and raised executive tuition subsidies by 83 per cent to $4,400 per year.
Nina Sandhu, the director of finance, spoke in favour of the increased hours and increased tuition credits, explaining that elected officials deserved to be reimbursed for taking summer classes.
“We’re not giving ourselves raises,” said Sandhu. “Currently we’ve been claiming overtime anyways, we have been working quite a few hours.”
Former KSA director of operations Ashley Fehr was outraged at the proposal.
“I’d like to know why you feel that has to be that high; that’s insane,” said Fehr, addressing the executives. “Especially when the board has made decisions to not fund fundraiser events and to cut the HR budget.”
Student Colin Fraser also spoke up, saying, “Everyone’s wondering why do you feel that you deserve more tuition credits. As students that are paying all of you, no one understands why you feel that you deserve that.”
The council passed an amendment to reverse the increase in tuition credits, but opted to let the increased hours stand.