By Matt DiMera
Students will be headed for the election booth once again this year after the Kwantlen Student Association decided to hold a fall by-election and referendum.
The KSA council voted by secret ballot Aug. 3 to call a by-election to fill vacancies on council and to hold a concurrent referendum to change the KSA’s fee structure.
The proposed fee change would abolish most of the KSA’s special purpose fees and replace them with a larger, single fee. If the referendum passes, the following funds would cease to exist: the student union building fund, the START volunteer program fund, the social justice fund, the REBOOT computer service fund, the peer counselling fund, the intramurals program fund, the clubs and events fund, the advocacy service fund and the lobby fund.
Four fees will not be affected by the referendum: the Canadian Federation of Students fee, the MultiPass fee, the extended health plan fee and the dental plan fee.
The director of operations, a Langley representative, a Surrey campus officer, two Langley campus officers, one Cloverdale campus officer, and the women’s liaison positions are all currently vacant.
The empty Langley representative seat was vacated by Amy Singh before the term started. The former director of operations, Justine Franson, resigned in August after questions were raised about her connection to a defendant in a civil court case being pursued by the KSA.
The polls are scheduled to open on all four campuses Wednesday, Sept. 21 and Thursday, Sept. 22 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
KSA director of finance Nina Sandhu did not respond to an email request for an interview before press time.
Former KSA council member and current student-at-large Ashley Fehr strongly opposes the new fee structure.
“Right now, students can see exactly where their money is going,” said Fehr. “This new structure is less accountable, less transparent, and it opens up the society to more risk.”
“The current fee structure shows the true costs of programs.”
Fehr worries that the programs that directly benefit students will be cut.
“If the referendum passes, the board could spend money on anything they want. They could spend more money on lawyers, or they could give themselves huge pay raises,” said Fehr.