From the Editor: Keeping up with the KSA

How to know what’s happening behind those glass doors

The Runner Staff keeping an eye on the KSA office on the KPU Surrey Campus. (File photo/ Art by Kristen Frier)

During on-campus welcome weeks, the Kwantlen Student Association set up tents in order to showcase their services to students eager to get involved in the university. They would play music, and offer games and food in order to attract people and welcome newcomers. Then, once the week was over, it seemed to a lot of students as if the KSA council disappeared for the rest of the semester, unless a large public event happened. But they were always working behind the glass doors to their office in the Cedar building.

As I walked past their office when Kwantlen Polytechnic University was still open, I didn’t think much about the KSA. However, the organization is a great way for students to get involved in KPU life, get experience in student politics, organize events, learn about sustainable practices, and get volunteer experience.

It’s good to keep up with what they are doing and catch up with them once in a while. After all, we do pay for their services.

For those who aren’t too eager to join clubs or run as a representative or council member, students are still able to participate in all of the KSA’s council and committee meetings to ask questions, and vote during elections. In the meetings, members will sometimes appoint students to committee roles.The KSA has 10 committees, all of which serve a unique purpose in making life better for all KPU students, and students can apply to be in any of them or attend just to observe.

The KSA typically has council meetings once a month on Fridays, which are now hosted via Zoom. The links to these meetings should be posted on the calendar on their website, however, they haven’t been doing that for some time now. Nor have they been posting their meeting minutes.

This is one reason why students should be keeping up with the KSA to keep them accountable and make sure that they are working on projects that will benefit students.

For example, during a council meeting on Jan. 22, Jeremy Law, the Tech Campus Representative, brought forward motions to remove three of the executives. Law noted that they had not been attending several organizational meetings, advocacy campaigns, and events.

Additionally in September, before Law’s motion, KSA council members complained about executives not fulfilling their duties.

When attending KSA meetings, pay attention to the attendance of the representatives and familiarize yourself with their names and roles. They are in that position because enough students trusted them and voted for them, and therefore they are required to show up. If they don’t, you can raise your concerns to the KSA Executive Director, Benjamin Newsom, at complaints@kusa.ca.

During council meetings, sometimes motions cannot be passed if the meeting doesn’t reach quorum. This has been an ongoing occurrence since last year when a councillor sent a letter to absent council members asking them to resign. However, that didn’t incentivize members to participate. In a virtual council meeting held on Oct. 30, 2020, only seven of 19 council members attended.

This happened again in the first meeting of 2021, and quorum was not met. This significantly impacts those representatives that want to put their ideas to work. If there aren’t enough representatives to vote, then everything in the KSA gets delayed.

If they do reach quorum and the meeting goes ahead, listen to the motions they pass, which is when you can see a portion of your tuition fees being put to work.

Their 2021 Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday, Mar. 25, at 1:00 pm, and the link will be posted to their website. This can be a great first step for students to get involved and find out what their student association is up to.

Once KPU opens the campuses, students will be able to participate in these meetings in person and know the association is responsible for representing them.

The meetings aren’t always predictable — sometimes council members will argue with each other which is when things get interesting. When the meetings are in person again, all you have to do is show up, sit back, eat some free food provided by the Grassroots Cafe, and keep up with the KSA.

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