KSA Presents Annual Report at AGM, Passes SUB Debenture Approval

KSA Executive Director Benjamin Newsom (far left) delivers his report at the KSA Annual General Meeting. (Braden Klassen)

The Kwantlen Student Association presented its yearly report at the society’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, March 19.

Executive Director Ben Newsom’s report covered a variety of yearly updates on topics such as campaigning and advocacy efforts, student services, progress toward building a student union building, and the KSA’s audited financial statements from 2018.

The Scholarships and Bursaries fund grew after fees that were originally collected on behalf of the Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group were transferred into it. This is a result of the KSA’s decision to stop collecting fees for the organization after it was discovered that KPIRG had allegedly been defrauded out of more than $100,000 by former founder and director, Richard Hossein.

The KSA’s legal defence fund was also reduced after a court case between them and the BC Federation of Students concluded last spring.

At the meeting, which took place on the Surrey campus, the KSA passed a motion to approve the renewal of a debenture on the loan that the society will use to support the construction of a student union building.

“This is a long-term process, so we won’t see it complete for a number of years. However, this year the project really started, and the process has [begun],” said KSA President Joseph Thorpe. “You guys will have a huge voice in saying what happens with this building and how it looks, so make sure you guys voice that. This is your chance to really get involved in its creation process.”

Thorpe also reported on his experience with hiring a number of new staff members for the organization. Some include Multipass Coordinator Michelle Lam, Sustainability Coordinator Erin Pedersen, ActiveKSA Coordinator Piper Greekas, Events Coordinator Shannen Johnson-Barker, Policy and Political Affairs Coordinator Jewelles Smith, and Clubs and Outreach Coordinator Naveen Shums.

Thorpe says that there will also be a new student services manager in the near future.

The VP University Affairs report prepared by Murdoch de Mooy included references to KPU’s “current financial situation,” which has led the university to suspend intake for a number of programs. De Mooy said that the way KPU dealt with the problems was “marred by very little communication,” which led to confusion and pushback from students and faculty.

VP External Affairs David Piraquive’s report included a summary of outreach and lobbying efforts and made a reference to the passing of the U-Pass referendum.

VP Student Life Sarah Strachan’s report summarized some of her work in the past few months, such as holding the Chinese New Year event in Richmond, organizing the KSA’s Karaoke Nights, and helping with the creation of the Indigenous Student Council by KPU student Samantha Jack, who is a member of the Nuu chah nulth Nation. Strachan is a member of the Tet’lit Gwich’in Nation and also sits on the council alongside Jack, Thorpe—who is a member of the Métis & Cree Nations—and several other students.

“This council is really important in [bringing] discussions and understanding to Indigenous students at KPU, and we need to do what we can to provide support for the council,” she said in her report.