Students Vote Yes on SUB Debenture, Strategic Plan, New Councillors at KSA AGM

Revisions to the Association’s bylaws postponed due to inability to reach quorum
Jesse Pottinger, Contributor

AGM (2)
(Jesse Pottinger)

The Kwantlen Student Association held their Annual General Meeting on KPU’s Surrey campus on Mar. 30, with the Richmond, Langley, and Cloverdale campuses participating via video conference.

Students voted on topics such as the authorization of the student union building debenture, the KSA strategic plan, and the appointment of additional KSA council members.

The KSA bylaw revision, however—which included the creation of an Internal Committee to replace the KSA’s Governance and Appointments Committees—could not be voted on as the student association requires 200 students to be present in order to make changes to its bylaws. Only 129 students attended between the four campuses.

The student union building debenture authorization passed by a vote of 107 to 1, meaning that KSA Council will now begin negotiating a loan agreement with Vancity. The new project will come at no additional cost to students, as fees have been collected through tuition since 2009.

When asked about a timeline, KSA General Manager Jeremy McElroy said that it would be difficult to give a definitive answer.

“Ideally, from this moment, we’re on a three-year timeline to have the finished building ready for occupancy, but I would build in a six to eight month bumper.”

Also up for vote was the approval of the KSA Strategic Plan for 2017 to 2020, which received a “yes” from all four campuses. The new plan is based on six core values: advocacy, leadership, learning, service, integrity, and social justice.

The Strategic Plan’s mission is “to foster an environment for KPU students to thrive—personally, professionally, and socially.” Over the next three years, it will act as a guide for the KSA.

The appointment of ex-KPU student Ryan Reynolds as honorary member of the KSA, arguably the most immaterial item on the agenda, turned out to be the most heavily debated. Reynolds was ultimately voted in as an honorary member, but the position is largely symbolic. Don’t expect to see him around KPU anytime soon.

Members then approved the KSA’s audited financial statements for 2016, and re-appointed Tompkins, Wozny, Miller & Co. as the KSA’s auditor for 2017. These financial statements are available on the KSA website.

Several vacant positions on Council were also filled at the AGM, though some of those voted in have already resigned from their positions. The KSA now has representatives for Richmond (Landon Charney), Aboriginal Students (Samantha Davis), Students of Colour (Munir Dossa), Queer Students (Joseph Thorpe) and students in the Science and Horticulture (Mariyam Mohammad).

Seats for the Langley campus, as well as those for Design, Trades and Technology, Academic and Career Advancement, and International Students, remain empty.

Following the election, the KSA Executive Committee and General Manager reported on their accomplishments for the 2016 year. Then-KSA President and Vice-President External Affairs Alex McGowan said that this year the KSA focused on two priorities.

“For the most part we’ve put our resources into student housing, so getting on-campus housing for KPU, and then getting young people voting in the provincial election.”

McGowan also said that the U-Pass will continue at the same cost in the upcoming year, and that the provincial government has reduced student loan interest down to Prime, a move that the KSA has been advocating for several years, which will “[save] the average student loan holder about 1400 bucks.”

The KSA had previously stated that the Student Rights Center report—a document that highlights student rights issues brought to the KSA by KPU students—would be made available at the AGM. When asked by one student, Singh said that, due to issues with student confidentiality, the report could not be released at that time.

“Until that issue is resolved and both parties are okay with the information that is being sent out, we can’t really release the report.”

General Manager Jeremy McElroy wrapped up the meeting with his annual report, detailing the KSA’s capital projects: the Westerman Campus garden expansion, Grassroots Cafe renovation, Cloverdale ActiveKSA weight room, Langley ActiveKSA fitness studio, Surrey KSA office reorganization, and the Birch building renovation.

“We’re very proud of the work we’ve done this year,” said McElroy. “And we’re excited for the year ahead.”