Red tape diaries

Student Services swamped by bureaucratic inertia

A pencil illustration of Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Langley Campus.
Scott McLelland / The Runner

By Chris Yee

Leah Godin, the chairperson for the Kwantlen Student Association student services committee, says her group faces a year-long backlog of projects, even after the KSA took on the services of capital projects manager Kim Baxter last July.

Among these projects include the introduction of a cut-down version of the Grassroots Cafe called Grassroots Express, which was proposed in November 2013. Other proposed projects include a number of upgrades on Langley campus, including a renovated student lounge (proposed in January 2014), hot water dispensers (proposed in April 2014) and a fitness centre (proposed in July 2014.)

According to Godin, the job of the capital projects manager was to serve as a “contact point” between KPU’s Facilities department and the KSA’s general manager, Jeremy McElroy.

While the student services committee consistently passes a number of proposals at their bi-weekly meetings, the implementation of these proposals relies on the planning work of KSA’s general manager and the cooperation of KPU’s facilities department.

The latter is often absent where the KSA is concerned, says Godin, who related a story about requesting a garbage can for Langley campus.

“I made the request to facilities in June . . . there’s still no garbage can out there,” she says. “Their excuse was that, ‘We don’t have any in stock,’ and that was the end of it.”

According to Godin, such incidents were the impetus for the KSA to retain Baxter as capital projects manager. In order to help expedite the planning process for the KSA’s projects, the capital projects manager had 35 hours a week dedicated to KSA work.

Yet progress continues to be slow, despite good intentions.

“Our hope was [that] hiring the capital projects manager would [bring] these projects into fruition faster than with regular facilities,” Godin says. “But [with] a lot of them, we are still waiting on reports, and they’re still in the planning stages.”

While Godin admits that the workload of the general manager and the capital projects manager is heavy, she still believes that planning could progress faster.

“[The] services [committee] and the councillors have great ideas and initiatives,” says Godin. “It would be nice to see them done in a more timely manner.”

The Runner was not able to contact McElroy or Baxter before publishing time.