All Posts Tagged With: "University of Alberta Students’ Union"
Bank robbers? Embezzlement? A former executive reflects.
Two years ago, I was a second-year student considering running for Vice-President Academic of the University of Alberta Students’ Union. Though I expected to learn plenty if elected, it was impossible to predict just how much I did learn on the job. If you are a student considering running at your school, I encourage you to give it a try. It could totally alter your life’s trajectory. Here are eight of the most memorable lessons I learned.
1. Unpredictability is just part of the job.
Unforeseen events can often get in the way of platform goals. In June 2011, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry plagiarized his speech to the graduating class, which packed my days with television interviews. A few months later, our executive learned that a student from the business students’ association was accused of stealing $27,000, so I did more interviews. Media relations wasn’t how I’d planned to spend my time.
Alberta student leaders to get 28.5% raise
The other day, I caught a item in The Gateway, the University of Alberta’s newspaper, about student union executives having their pay raised from $25,668 to $33,000, or by 28.5 per cent. Unsurprisingly, the article had more than its usual share of online comments from students.
Last year, On Campus compiled many of the student executive salaries across the country, and they varied between $20,000 and $35,000, often with very little correlation between the university in question and the amount of money/number of students they governed.
It’s fair for student leaders to think they deserve more money—they work long hours and are in charge of millions of dollars. They’re comparing themselves to executives of other organizations of similar budgets.
But students compare them to, well, students. Students who also have to work jobs and take classes at the same time, and who often don’t see the same benefits coming from their student union as other places they pay fees to—like their actual tuition dollars.
Much like university president salaries, student executive salaries are a hot-button issue, especially during times of relative economic hardship, because of the general gut reaction of “My Money Is Going Where?” At the same time, student union leaders tend to think that what they do is very, very important, and of course they deserve to be fairly compensated. Unsurprisingly, this creates tension, rarely of the productive type.
For example, at UVic, the student society realized they were in a financial crisis, the executive did what they could to reduce their salaries, held a referendum to increase student fees, and it passed.
At UBC however, the student executive of the Alma Mater Society (AMS) announced they were in financial trouble, only to ask for a $1,200 yearly health benefit package for themselves within the budget. Shockingly (at least to them), council took a month to pass their budget (though they got their health benefits), and the student body at large was so against a proposed referendum on increasing student fees to help the AMS’ finances that they postponed it until the new year. I’m not at UVic, and I don’t know how much impact the symbolic salary decrease had at that campus—but it is a line-item in the budget which always arouses tension, regardless of what province you happen to reside in.
4th SU to join in the last year
Steven Dollansky, VP External of the University of Alberta Students’ Union, posts that the UASU is joining the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.
I predicted this back in the fall and predict that the McMaster Students Union will be joining sometime this year.
when you get hit with back-to-back J-Board rulings and the resulting negative publicity. (In this case, mixed publicity) One thing I note is the ability of the students’ union council and the students union executive to actually deal with the matter at hand in a transparent and accountable manner. I know more than one students [...]
One thing I note is the ability of the students’ union council and the students union executive to actually deal with the matter at hand in a transparent and accountable manner. I know more than one students union that could use a lesson from this.
During my time at the McMaster Students’ Union, whenever a student brought forth a concern about the actions of the students union or its executive, the students union quickly went on the offensive against the student and rallied to its own defence. I still remember a student council meeting forced by students (in the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the leaders of the petition movement that forced the meeting) where one representative objected to students asking questions.