Catching up with the KSA

A look inside council meetings, events, slating disqualifications, and everything in between

The KSA has not scheduled a meeting yet with the recently elected new council members due to a delay in releasing the official election results. (Keet Kailey)

The KSA has not scheduled a meeting yet with the recently elected new council members due to a delay in releasing the official election results. (Keet Kailey)

Since 2019, the Kwantlen Student Association has undergone a large number of changes to its internal staff, council, initiatives, and advocacy efforts.

The KSA is a non-profit organization separate from Kwantlen Polytechnic University that exists to provide services and advocate for students’ interests. Almost every student at the university is a member of the KSA, which is mainly funded by students through tuition fees. 

Some KSA fees include the Extended Health Plan which costs $87.55, the student dental plan which costs $113.30 per year, the U-Pass for $43.35 per month, increasing to $44.20 per month in May, and the KSA MultiPass which costs $10 per month. The operating fund, student publication fee, clubs and events fund, peer support program fund, and intramurals are some of the smaller fees the KSA collects, most of which are paid per credit. 



When Canada locked down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the KSA created several initiatives to help students when they needed it most. 

The KSA donated $200,000, with $100,000 going towards financial assistance and KPU student awards, and the university matched the amount. Students who were registered in the spring 2020 term could apply for the funding and were eligible to receive up to $250. The other $100,000 the KSA donated went to food banks around the Lower Mainland and other organizations helping people during the pandemic. 

Their council and committee meetings began to occur over Zoom instead of in-person, with the first virtual meeting on April 3. According to a previous article from The Runner, the council meeting “failed to elect a full executive committee after encountering problems and confusion while casting votes, causing them to postpone the remaining executive elections until a meeting on April 17.” 

During the meeting, Business Faculty Representative Harmandeep Man resigned from the council.

On April 17, the KSA executive election took place. Gurdial Dhindsa was elected president, replacing David Piraquive. Sukhpreet Kaur elected vice president of finance, Palwinder Singh elected vice president of external affairs, and Ravinder Pal Singh elected vice president of university affairs. 

During that time, Dhindsa was also the KSA’s VP student life, Kaur was the Arts Faculty Student Representative, Palwinder was the Surrey Campus Student Representative, and Ravinder was also the Business Representative for the KSA.

In addition to helping students during the pandemic, the KSA reopened its food bank on June 10, while also distributing food with the KPU Community Supported Agriculture program, now known as the CSA Produce Box Program, a 20-week produce box subscription available annually through KPU.

They also began the Transit Pass Subsidy Program, which helped students with the cost of public transit. The program subsidized half of a student’s transit fare to make it easier for students to afford commuting by transit. When classes moved online, TransLink stopped offering the U-Pass program which caused financial hardship for some students who still depended on public transit. The subsidy helped with this. Students who are currently enrolled in only online classes can still apply for the subsidy by filling out an application every month and are on a first-come first-served basis. 

The KSA Peer Support Centre also supported students during the pandemic as previous coordinators Kiran Natt and Kayla MacGillivray launched live sessions through KSA’s Instagram every Wednesday, where before they hosted their Chatterbox events in-person. The organization also offered Zoom sessions where students could learn more about the organization’s services like clubs, the MultiPass, the health and dental plans, and more. 

For the rest of 2020, the KSA saw seven vacancies between constituency and faculty representatives. Sukhpreet Kaur resigned from her position of VP of finance and operations for other employment, and council meetings were rescheduled due to low attendance, which caused a backlog of motions in following meetings. 

However, at their December council meeting, the council was able to pass four motions including the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy, an additional $15,000 in funding to the WUSC student refugee sponsorship program for that year, signing the Sustainable Development Goals Accord, and a motion to support the Divest Canada letter.  

“The online virtual setting has really allowed the KSA to see how we can make our services and opportunities much more accessible to students,” says KSA executive secretary Jeremy Law. 

“I think oftentimes, students don’t know that they can actually attend online virtually.” 



The KSA’s first meeting of the year was held on Jan. 8, but it did not meet the minimum attendance required for quorum, which meant they couldn’t pass motions during the meeting. 

Their next meeting on Jan. 22, which did meet quorum, passed three motions to contribute $20,000 in sponsorship funding for KDocsFF, a fee structure change for the KSA’s membership with the Alliance of BC Students, and discussed if they should continue funding for a Syrian student refugee to attend KPU, which was a sponsorship that began in 2019 through the World University Service Canada. 

In the meeting, Law, who was the KSA Tech Campus Representative at the time, also brought forward motions to remove three executives due to their absence from “several organizational meetings, advocacy campaigns, and events that they had not attended over the summer and fall semesters.”

Before the 2021 KSA election took place in February, Policy and Political Affairs Coordinator Jewelles Smith and Sukmandeep Singh Gill, the finance committee chair, resigned from their positions.

The KSA general election ran from Feb. 25 to Feb. 26. Of the 24 candidates who ran, 21 were disqualified over allegations of slating and forging of signatures. 

Only Lesli Sangha and Jaya Dhillon were elected to positions on the KSA council. Sangha served as the Mature Students Representative, and Dhillon as the Students with Disabilities Representative, a position she also served in the year prior. 

Some of the candidates complained to KSA Chief Returning Officer Ron Laufer about some candidates slating during the campaign period. The disqualified candidates had also allegedly forged signatures on their nomination forms. 

A number of the candidates participated in WhatsApp group chats that contained messages that showed them working together and asking others for their support. In addition to the group chats, KPU student Gursewak Singh collected email addresses from participant lists from Moodle, an international student orientation group, and another KPU student group that shares educational material on avoiding plagiarism.

After collecting the information, he sent approximately 3,000 emails to KPU students, staff, and faculty over the two-day election period asking people to vote for Gurjodh Singh, Aman Khurana, and Rohan Garg.

Although the election didn’t go as expected, the KSA’s annual general meeting on March 25 had some progress. While they didn’t meet quorum, members were able to vote for the association to request additional funds from third-party sources for a student union building (SUB). The building development has been in the works since 2009.

Two months after Sangha and Dhillon were elected, they quickly took on multiple roles at the KSA. Sangha was appointed to the Internal, Environmental Sustainability, Finance & Operations, External Affairs, Governance, Student Life, Social Justice & Equity, and University Affairs Committees on May 7.

Dhillon was appointed as Vice President of University Affairs and to all the same committees as Sangha, with the addition of the Executive Committee. She was elected the KSA president on June 25, with Sangha taking the role of Vice President of Student Life. 

Other initiatives and programs the KSA implemented were the U-Pass exemption for students who face financial hardships, have a disability, have an existing transit pass, or meet other specific criteria. 

They also launched the Sustainability Ambassador Program in September, and were looking into creating American Sign Language workshops, advocating for better access to scholarships for students with disabilities on the provincial and federal levels, and making the university senate more accessible to students. 

“We’re doing that because we feel the student voice is really important,” Sangha says.

“Our focus has been what can we do for students to thrive, to bring a better experience to students, how can we support students. Whether it’s two students, two council members, or 20 council members, we put in that same drive to try to learn without having that student engagement.” 

In the fall semester, the KSA hosted “A Festive Festival!” where students could go to the Grassroots Cafe and create cookies, gingerbread houses, and drink hot chocolate to destress before exams. 

The by-election was held from Dec. 7 to Dec. 8. Alvin Chand was the only candidate who ran and was elected as Arts Faculty Representative. The Runner learned that Chand faced criminal charges in Surrey and Pitt Meadows, and that Chand had been taken into police custody and released shortly after on Dec. 14. 



On Jan. 20, an arrest warrant was issued for Chand after he failed to appear in Surrey Provincial Court. He alleged he was assaulted in a racially-motivated attack while he was trying to visit his ex-partner to discuss an upcoming family court hearing. At that time, the KSA said they were aware of Chand’s charges and were looking into the situation.

This year’s general election was held from March 15 to 17, with 26 positions open on the council and eight candidates running. Soon after the election, Laufer released decisions on March 24 disqualifying three of the eight candidates after allegations of aggressive campaigning and slating. 

According to the election results posted online, which the KSA is calling “unofficial” pending the CRO’s investigation and any appeals, Chand was re-elected for the Arts Faculty Representative position with 303 yes votes. 

“There’s still some decisions and some work that the CRO is handling currently that have delayed the release of the full official results,” Law said on April 10. “But the unofficial results give a snapshot into what the election results are.” 

The KSA website shows that, pending the investigation, Karan Singh was elected as Langley campus representative, Armaan Dhillon as international students representative, Manmeet Brar as women’s representative, and Sangha was re-elected but for the students with disabilities representative. Dhillon did not run in the election this year because she finished her final semester at KPU.

In an email to The Runner, Laufer confirmed sharing the official election results with the KSA on April 5.

When the KSA Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on March 31 at 1:00 pm through Zoom, they did not meet the required quorum of 100 attendees, which meant they couldn’t put forward special resolutions such as borrowing money from a third party to fund the SUB construction.

“It’s the students that should have been there at the AGM if they really wanted a student union building,” Sangha says. “If the students wanted us to set goals for next year, if the students wanted change … it all comes down to the power of the students.” 

However, the AGM meeting time and date can pose challenges for students who have classes and want to participate but can’t. Law says that although the SUB debenture wasn’t approved, parts of the project that “don’t necessarily require monetary funding are still moving forward.” 

The monthly KSA council meeting scheduled for April 8 was cancelled following the election.

“It was cancelled because we don’t have a council, basically simple as that,” says Sangha.

The KSA did not respond to requests for minutes from the AGM, council or executive meetings for 2021 and this year. The last time minutes were posted online was April 12, 2021. 

“I don’t know if we necessarily have a concrete timeline, because we are hoping to do them as soon as possible,” Law says.

“But we do have the transcriptions for all of the meetings, we make sure that they’re all recorded,” Sangha says.

Although it is unknown when the minutes will be posted, Law says they are currently looking to hire a records coordinator and archivist. 

The position has not been officially filled since the end of 2018. The KSA website says there are currently 11 vacant staff positions.

“Now what we need is students’ input on our website, we need students to be able to come forward,” Sangha says. 

“The KSA is here to represent students and we want students to voice their ideas to us, and we would love to address those,” Law says.