To raise or not to raise? That is the question
By Donna MacMullin
The main event expected at tomorrow's University Students' Council meeting centres around whether the big cheese and his mighty mice will be making more money next year a decision which could be met with opposition from students.
The current salary of the USC president is $20,947. The proposal expected to spark debate among council is whether this amount should be raised to $21,282 or $24,000. The salaries of the VPs are expected to be bumped up to 98.5 per cent of the presidents' income.
Chris Keith, VP-finance for the USC, said the board is looking at the president's salary increase based on a number of factors, including the demands of the position and the amount made by student president counterparts at universities across the country. If the amount is raised to $24,000, then the student fee will be raised $1.54 per student next year.
Keith admitted the increase likely will be met with student opposition, considering the other increases in student expenses like proposed tuition hikes in the upcoming year. "There's always going to be opposition," he said. "But it also depends on just how well students understand the increase."
Keith said students should consider the increased scope of responsibilities the USC has undertaken in recent years, such as University Community Centre renovations, which normally would have been the responsibility of the administration. "Past councils have been optimistic of the performance of the USC and how much it actually costs to run things and therefore hadn't budgeted an adequate amount," he said.
Dave Tompkins, USC president, said he does not support the raise. "I don't think the [current] salary is unreasonable," he said. "And I have a hard time justifying [the increase] to students."
Roy Park, a fourth-year kinesiology student, was surprised at the amount of income the USC president makes and said he was concerned about the possibility of increased student fees as a result of a salary hike. "Our fees are being raised more and more every year," he said. "They have to look at the principle behind [asking students for more money]. It's deceptive because students don't really know where their money is going."
Ryan Parks, USC president-elect, said because he is in a conflicting position he will remove himself from the vote at the council meeting.
However, Parks said he was in favour of the salary increase. "At Western, considering the scope and breadth of USC operations, [the current president's salary] doesn't reflect the trends," he said.