Despite deficits, student pols increase their pay - Macleans.ca

Despite deficits, student pols increase their pay

SCSU and MSU vote to increase pay; despite poor balance sheets and performance.

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A story in The Strand this week reports the undergraduate student union at the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto voted to increase their pay despite financial difficulties facing the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union.

The SCSU voted to increase executive pay by more than 30 per cent earlier this academic year.

Student union president Zuhair Syed told The Strand the student union executive were unable to sustain themselves on a salary of over $20,000 per year. “”We can’t even sustain ourselves. Many executives I know who have to take other jobs, even two part-time jobs, just in order to survive.”

Really? I know people who sustain themselves on less; they’re called students.

The SCSU is not the only group of student politicians increasing their bank balances from a dry well.

The McMaster Students Union executive are receiving a whopping 22 per cent pay raise after student politicians there decided they were underpaid as well.

Much like the SCSU, the student union at McMaster is facing a financial crisis and is making cutbacks to its campus bar.

The MSU’s financial situation is more serious, with student union going from a $615,202 surplus in 2006/07 to a $41,879 deficit in 2007/08, the last year financial audits are available.

The MSU bar, Quarters, recorded a $425,000 lost in 2007/08. Overall, the MSU bar has lost nearly $900,000 dollars in the last six years.

The financial situation didn’t stop student politicians from giving each other pay raises, as reported by The Silhouette.

(Disclosure: I contribute to The Silhouette but was not involved in this article.)

The wage of the McMaster Students Union president increase from $25,699 per year to $31,460 plus benefits and perks. The MSU president’s benefits worth are over $8,000 per year. The MSU president is provided a rent-free apartment, health and dental benefits, and transit passes. The MSU pays $8,000 for the president’s on-campus apartment. With taxable benefits, the MSU president’s compensation tops $40,000 per year.

Vice-presidents are seeing their salary increase from $25,688 per year to $31,460. The MSU also increased compensation for committee chairs from a $750 per year honourium to $2,340.

Sure, the student unions’ bank balances may be decreasing; but that’s no reason for student union politicians to forgo increasing their own balances. After all, they are only acting like “real world” politicians.

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A question to the readers: does anyone know of a student union compensating its president more than $40,000? Do you know the compensation rate at your student union? If so, please email me; I’m going to create a chart for public reference. Email: joey@joeycoleman.ca