Every student union is a little different, but they all have one thing in common: they don’t work for free. Student unions often have multi-million dollar budgets, and you can bet the people in charge are getting a good chunk of your money.
But just how much? I did a little digging, and pulled the numbers from every student union in Ontario that’s a member of the Canadian Federation of Students – easily accessible list of websites, if you’re wondering why. Or at least I tried to. Only 12 CFS-O schools have online budgets (that I could find), while 25 don’t.
No matter. I pulled the numbers as best I could. Salaries for each executive were sometimes lumped together, sometimes seperated. Benefits were often unclear and tied in with other expenses. Executives wages were not always seperated from other full time employees. Some of these budgets are two or three years old. So if anybody has more recent or accurate numbers, I would love to see them. But overall, this gives us a little bit of perspective.
The average executive receives about $16,757 in remuneration ($19,705 for undergrads, $10,860 for grad students.) The average executive slate is paid about 13 per cent of the student union budget (15 per cent for undergrads, nine per cent for grad students.)
Here’s the list, in order of average executive financial remuneration (includes salary, benefits, honorariums, etc.)
1. Carleton University – $36,599
2. University of Guelph Central Student Association – $30,335
3. University of Windsor Students’ Alliance – $27,682
4. University of Toronto Students’ Union – $26,171*
5. University of Ottawa Graduate Students’ Association – $16,110
6. Trent Central Student Association – $13,075
7. Scarborough Campus Students’ Union – $12,703*
8. University of Western Ontario Society of Graduate Students – $11,419
9. Queen’s University Society of Graduate and Professional Students – $8,480
10. University of Toronto at Mississauga Students’ Union – $7,574
11. University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union – $7,432
12. Glendon College Students’ Union – $3,500
* UTSU and SCSU both include their executive salaries with those of directors, co-ordinators, and other important staff; these numbers are the average of the pay of all these positions
So what do you think – do student leaders get paid enough? Or do they get paid too much? I’d love to hear your comments, and if anybody has any information about student unions that I haven’t covered I’d love to share it with the readers.