Budget for new academic year revealed at special general meeting
On Mar. 2 at a special general meeting the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) presented to students the following academic year’s budget.
VP Internal Amina El Mantari reviewed each line of the budget with students who attended and highlighted significant changes. The budget for CSU board members’ wages and benefits has increased from $399,041 to $442,333 and the pool of elections funds has increased from $6,000 to $8,025. Among the standout changes to the budget included an increase in funding for clubs, summer employment and external relations conferences. President and VP External Sacha Fabry explained that the external relations committee successfully carried out the CSU’s Where’s The Housing campaign and lobbied on the lawn of the Victoria Legislature, so the budget was increased to allow for further municipal, provincial and federal lobbying over the course of the following year.
Students questioned the need to double the budget for workshops and development. The budget for development this past year was $5,900 and going into the next academic year it has increased to $11,000. Fabry described the benefits the CSU reaped from attending conferences and workshops, citing a conference attended by several members of the CSU in 2016 about attracting potential sponsors. “Because we went we were more effective at getting sponsorships which reduced costs elsewhere,” he said. “It’s a way of moving away from generalized training towards specialized training.”
The Services line item of the budget was decreased from $140,267 to $74,803, which El Mentari explained was a result of the discontinuation of ski tickets. “It has not been used by our students, it has been used by the public [and] we are here to support students so we discontinued it for next year,” she said.
Furthermore, the budget for events was reduced from $23,000 to $20,000. VP Student Life Beatriz Miralles explained that the CSU garnered more sponsors this past academic year, and initially students present questioned what would happen if the next VP Student Life were not able to garner as many sponsors, but Miralles defended her ability and stated that she has been working to establish relationships with her current sponsors that should ensure that they would continue to work with the CSU for several more years at least.
The decrease in funds set aside for events has allowed for a $1,000 budget increase for on-campus clubs. There are 40 clubs on campus currently, which Miralles expects and hopes will grow to become more inclusive of the CapU community. “This is a really great opportunity to use the money that you have paid,” El Mentari agreed. “You need to have that opportunity to support each other through being part of clubs or being part of the student union.”
Under administrative expenses, El Mantari pointed out that the usual budget of $500 for IT support has been discontinued, and that the CSU will make use of CapU’s IT support in the future. Although the CSU’s revenue has decreased from $911,847 to $903,133, they anticipate their expenditures to not exceed $893,723, leaving a surplus of funds consistent with previous years.
Following the budget, a proposed motion asking that the CSU lobby CapU to relocate its smoking areas away from walkways and building entrances at the request of two students was discussed. However, because quorum of 75 was not met, the CSU amended the motion to read that the CSU should advocate for the relocation of CapU’s smoking areas, rendering the motion non-binding, but still pursuable.
Unfortunately, the two students who made the request had not proposed an alternate location for the smoking areas. Reportedly, Health Services told them that the smoking areas could not be moved, but they decided to advocate for having the smoking poles and shelters relocated instead of requesting that they be removed entirely. The CSU agreed that smoking areas should not be in close proximity to walkways and building entrances, and after going to a vote the motion was carried with a two-thirds majority.
Finally, Fabry announced the dates of the referendum concerning proposed fee increases affecting the CSU’s and the Capilano Courier Publishing Society’s budgets. They will be held on Mar. 21, 22 and 23, concurrent with the voting period for the CSU elections. The deadline to submit nominations for any position with the CSU during the following academic year is Tuesday, Mar. 9.
Executive positions, including internal and external relations, student life, university relations and services and equity and sustainability will be open to candidates, as well as faculty representative and liaison positions. General Manager Christopher Girodat added that the CSU has created two eight-week full-time employment positions for the months of April, May and June. The students who fill these roles would be responsible for assisting the CSU in launching an inclusion and diversity program.
Job postings can be found at csu.bc.ca/jobs.
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