Students’ Association shake up

Elimination of executive positions make room for new hires

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association’s executive structure will look a lot different come spring time.  

At the Special General Meeting on Feb. 12, with about 40 people in attendance, several changes were voted in that have the executive positions and duties within the UWSA shuffled under new names. The changes include the elimination and creation of UWSA staff positions and subtle changes to the distribution of student fees.

Since the mid-2000’s, the UWSA executive consisted of the president, vice-president student services, vice-president internal and vice-president advocate. 

All of the above positions with the exception of the president will be eliminated as of May 1, 2015. New positions created include vice-president of internal affairs, vice-president external affairs, vice-president student affairs. 

The position of Canadian Federation of Students liaison director was eliminated with duties falling under the position of vice-president external affairs. 

UWSA president Rorie Mcleod Arnould says many of the eliminated positions had duties that overlapped, which necessitated the creation of the new positions.

“We recognized it was an area that we could improve in,” he says.

These changes took place in order to allow the UWSA to better facilitate student organizing, government lobbying work and to improve human
resources capabilities. 

Two external advocacy campaigner positions for on-campus student organizers were also created to work with the UWSA and students’ groups on grassroots demonstrations and actions targeting University policy.

“This is a big step forward,” Mcleod Arnould says. “Until now, we’ve never had an organizational mandate to hire student organizers. In past years, the VPA in conjunction with the president and other execs and board members were responsible for organizing students on their own.”

The advocacy campaigners will receive a yearly honorarium of $5,000 for services rendered, which is a stark contrast to the lone executive advocate position of the exiting vice-president advocate, who earned $27,500 yearly. 

Overall, the position is intended to broaden the UWSA’s capacity to organize on campus.

Student fees also faced some changes, but thankfully for students, there are no planned rate increases. The UWSA plans to restructure the distribution of building capital and Students’ Association operating funds.

The building capital fund currently operates with approximately $1.5 million of unspent funds, which has accumulated over the past decade. According to Mcleod Arnould, the UWSA often operates in deficit and must rely on loans from the building fund.

“It’s not something that accumulated yesterday,” Mcleod Arnould says. “Something that was recognized at that meeting was that we don’t need to be collecting all that capital funding. We’re not going to be able to spend it every year.”

Currently for a six-credit hour course, $8.17 is distributed to the building fund with $23.26 going to the UWSA operations. For a three-credit hour course, $4.08 is distributed to the building fund with $11.62 going to the UWSA operations. 

Given the new changes, for a 6 credit hour course, $4.09 will be distributed to the building fund with $27.35 going to the UWSA operations. For a 3 credit hour course, $2.04 will be distributed to the building fund with $13.66 going to the UWSA operations. These changes are intended to allow for a greater transparency between the UWSA and the student body.

Published in Volume 69, Number 21 of The Uniter (February 18, 2015)

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