No funding in the Student Union Society’s 2019/20 budget will be made available for Clubs and Associations (C&A). The highest increase in the budget will be to full-time wages, including wage increases to senior managers and executives, and the creation of two new full-time positions; cuts to SUS programming will be seen throughout the budget.
Jaleen Mackay, SUS vice president internal, presented the approved budget at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Friday. In previous years, students would vote to approve the budget, but changes to the bylaws last year allow the board of directors to approve the budget themselves.
The increases to full-time staffing totals $345,885 in the upcoming year’s budget. Last year, wages to the executive director and executive team were increased, two new full-time positions were created, and money was set aside for the creation of a “technical coordinator” position.
C&A funding dropped to zero from $20,000 budgeted in 2017/18 and $56,500 in 2016/17.
Mackay said during the budget presentation that the upcoming referendum, where SUS will look to decrease health and dental and U-Pass fees and increase SUS fees, could free up funding for programming.
“Like I said, go through this budget, we are very tight,” Mackay said. “We had to cut from somewhere. Give us a referendum and we’ll do our best.”
Mark Wellington, SUS’s recently resigned executive director, said that if the upcoming referendum passed, funding could be allocated to C&A with the money left over from hiring a graphic designer.
“The referendum first and foremost is to be able to hire a graphic designer to help with running $4 million worth of stuff … I’d say that leaves about eight or nine thousand for programming,” Wellington said.
Cuts were also made in SUS-run programming. SUS orientation funding has dropped from $31,000 to $21,000; a total of $1,000 has been allotted for SUS programming, which, according to Mackay, will be for the Advanced Leadership Program (ALP).
SUS’s three programming centres — the Pride Centre, the Ethnocultural Centre, and the Gender Equality Centre — will each receive $2,000 to run programming, and $8,831 for the part-time coordinators’ wages.
“We’ve cut vast amounts of our programming,” Mackay said. “People complain that SUS can’t do anything on campus and we don’t create community; how can we? We have no money left over.”
There was discussion during the budget presentation on whether running the centres was the best use of the limited funding. Students suggested moving the money from paid positions to C&A to run similar programming that would support marginalized groups on campus.
In addition to the 2.3 per cent increase in pay to the executive team, an increase in line with the 2018 reported CPI increase, two new full-time positions were created. Manager of events and programming is a position created to help run events and programs, and the administrative assistant operates the front desk full-time and helps with administrative work and booking travel for executives. There was also $45,000 put aside for the hiring of a technical coordinator who will assist with working the AV equipment, according to Mackay.
There was a $24,000 wage increase to various upper-level positions, including $10,000 to the executive director, $5,000 of which was to attract “talent” to the organization. SUS will be hiring for a new executive director with the resignation of Wellington.
Several positions were given wage increases due to the creation of these new positions. The manager of events and programs received $7,000 to reflect job rates and the expansion of their portfolio to include supervising the not-yet-hired technical coordinator. In addition to the $5,000 raise to bring the position up to a competitive rate, $2,000 was allocated to the senior financial manager for supervision of the newly created administrative assistant position, a job previously in the executive director’s portfolio.
There is a projected $6,000 deficit in the 2019/20 budget, which Mackay said was a conservative estimate. It does not include the potential $40,000 in revenue from a space rental agreement with a local church, which was not included in the budget “just to be on the safe side” if the church could not keep its payment obligations.