KSA appoints new president and delivers updates at June council meeting

Council discussed campus construction, a fall by-election, UPass exemptions, and more

Lesli Sangha, Mature Rep (left) and Jaya Dhillon, Disability Rep (right). (File photos)

The Kwantlen Student Association appointed a new council president during the monthly council meeting held June 25.

Jaya Dhillon was appointed president by Lesli Sangha and herself, and Sangha was appointed vice president of student life.

Sangha was also appointed to the chair position on several KSA committees, including environmental sustainability, external affairs, internal, social justice and equity, and university affairs.

As vice president of university affairs, Dhillon reported discussions with KPU’s President’s Diversity and Equity Committee about changing honour roll requirements to make them more accessible for students with disabilities and spearheading an American Sign Language workshop program.

Benjamin Newsom delivered their executive director report, which addressed the university’s plan for a return to in-person learning, adding that some KSA services would see a  “slightly reduced number of hours, number of days” in operation.

Newsom also reported that the KSA’s plan to construct a student union building at one of the KPU campuses has not progressed.

“I wish I could have more things to say about it, but I can’t,” they said, describing the situation as being in a “frustrating holding pattern trying to find out where on campus this might be.”

Newsom reported that KPU is currently looking for an on-campus site to construct a building offering child care services within the next two or three years. They said that the KSA would be “open to pushing these two projects together into a single building” and that more updates would come in August.

For the fall, Newsom said the KSA is planning on holding a byelection. The association has been testing out the Simply Voting online election system that KPU uses for electoral processes.

Newsom also said that the previous plan to renovate the Grassroots Cafe on the Surrey campus could possibly be postponed until December due to construction material costs and delays.

Sangha delivered several committee reports, touching on efforts to train new councillors in the fall, advertise committee vacancies on social media, advocate for KPU to hire an ombudsperson, and establish relationships with MPs following a potential federal election.

She also said that the student life committee is looking to “expand our cultural celebrations to events we have not celebrated before,” like Carnival or Oktoberfest.

Dhillon reported that progress is being made in efforts to grant exemptions for students with disabilities wishing to opt-out of UPass transit fees.

“We would like students to have just one exemption that stays with the student for all of their terms at KPU,” said Dhillon who, along with Sangha, is hoping to reform the process in a way that protects student privacy and reduces accessibility barriers.

Dhillon also reported plans for a graduate school fair event similar to the KPU career fair, where students will be able to learn about graduate programs at other institutions,

“It has happened at other universities, so it is possible,” said Dhillon. “I think it would be really beneficial for students in first year to fourth year.”