Massive changes came into effect in the Student Association (SA) by-laws at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at St. James Kings Lounge on Nov. 19.
Issues surrounding the reductions of job hours and pay cuts for campus directors, education centre and constituency representatives on the SA board of directors were the topics of a heated debate among students at the AGM.
Many students were against the proposed changes, and it was clear that they were not going to back down.
Jenny Saliba, who is a former Women and Trans Rep., was extremely opposed to the motion from the board, stating “power and privilege, they obviously are in the position to have both and they are opposing a marginalized group.”
Julia Mackenzie, director of internal affairs, spoke for the motion and compared the SA’s board structure to the Humber Students Federation who pay their directors $2,000 a year.
Geneve Gray, director of finance and operations said “if someone is in it for the money, they shouldn’t be in it at all.”
Shana Kealey, who works for the SA as a part-time campaign staff, argued that the constituency rep.’s are important and that campaigns and events could be reduced.
The motion carried 104-101 leaving education centre and constituency representatives with a $2,000 honoraria per year, compared to $14,040 per year previously. They will no longer be required to work a set number of hours a week but will have to attend board meetings and SA events.
Campus directors saw their hours cut to 10 a week and a reduction of pay to $7,000 per year.
“The under-represented population was not represented well at the AGM and that is because in my mind there has not been any outreach from the board which has now been cut even more,” said Kealey.
After over half an hour of heated debate many students left the meeting after the motion passed.
Mohammad Ali Aumeer, director of education and equity, supported the motion saying, “there are blurred lines right now between the at-large board members. We want to see the structure to be more focused with board members being student leaders, and executing the deliverables on the ground should be allocated to part-time staff.”
LGBTQ Rep. Kyle Rodgers was “unbelievably opposed” to the changes and Thomas Hadwen, construction & engineering representative, compared the new board structure to “unpaid internships.”
Aumeer responded, “the organization has been very clear on our stand on unpaid internships, we are adamantly against it, and the change in the by-laws has no impact on that. We have board members who are elected to represent students, it’s a volunteer position. We receive an honorarium, not a salary. We don’t elect staff; we hire staff. If we hired staff and didn’t pay them that would be very, very problematic.”
With files from Preeteesh Peetabh Singh