Student association approves 47 per cent pay hike for executive board.
By Matt DiMera
The Kwantlen Student Association council voted unanimously Friday to hike up their executives’ pay by nearly 50 percent to $24,960 annually.
The four KSA executives will see their annual pay jump by more than $8000 starting April 1.
Steven Button, KSA director of student services and the current chair of the executive committee, argues that the changes are necessary to reflect the demands put on executives. He says that he originally supported the 60 per cent increase but eventually decided to push for the lower amount.
“The size of the executive portfolios are quite large. They’re not something it can be realistically expected that anybody could be a full-time student and doing this job,” he explains.
The KSA’s governance committee had originally recommended a 60 per cent increase and other benefits, including free parking passes, and paid medical services plan benefits. However at their Jan. 10 meeting, council decided not to approve the extra benefits.
With the pay increase, executives will also be asked to work 40 hours weekly instead of the 30 that are currently required.
Button says that the positions are too demanding to be a full time student, but don’t pay enough to make up for being ineligible for student loans.
“They need to be paid a living wage,” says Button. “Our executive board is the lowest paid of any executive board in — almost the country — but definitely within B.C. This increase still leaves us in the very low-end, but brings us at least a little closer to what other student unions pay their executive boards.”
A cursory online review by The Runner of several other local student unions found at least two executive boards in B.C. who are paid less than the KSA.
Richard Hosein, KSA director of external affairs also supports the increase.
“It’s a high-demand position and if you’re asking executives to split their duties between their school duties and their executive duties, they basically do a half-assed job on both sides,” says Hosein.
“If you’re going to represent students represent them to the fullest.”
No member of council, present at the meeting, spoke against the motion to increase executive pay.
In an interview before the meeting, the KSA’s director of finance, Gaurav Kumar, says he originally wanted an annual increase of $2,600, but that it was the student association’s general manager Jeremy McElroy who suggested that the executive hours should also be increased to 40. Kumar says that McElroy also checked what other student unions pay their executives.
McElroy declined several requests to be interviewed.
Button also says that offering free parking to executives, while at the same time urging students to use the U-Pass, would be inconsistent.
“If we’re not incentivizing our executives to experience what it’s like taking transit down here, then how are they supposed to know what improvements are needed the most?” he asks.
Button says that although the issue of what elected KSA officials are paid seems to recur fairly often, he doesn’t think that it takes away from the other work the student association does.
“It’s going to continue to be a work in progress,” he explains.
–with files from Samantha Lego