WHY ARE STUDENTS FORCED TO PAY SCSU EXECS’ SALARIES?

WHY ARE STUDENTS FORCED TO PAY SCSU EXECS’ SALARIES?

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UTSC Students started this petition to university of toronto scarborough and

We, the students at the University of Toronto Scarborough, believe that the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) needs many structural changes starting from the remuneration of executive members. 

OUR PROPOSAL 

Executive members should not be compensated in monetary terms and thus should contribute their time as non-profit individuals rather than paid employees. 

CONTEXT

In the past four/five years, the SCSU has failed the students and prioritized self-interest. Our concern is that executive positions are pursued in self-interest instead of the interests of the student body. We believe the various incidents – especially, during elections – in the last few years have been rooted in the pursuit of money and power. 

Let us point out that a majority of the general student body is unaware of SCSU’s Financial Statements. All students should be educated on these statements as we are the Union and the huge amount of dollars listed on these statements is OUR money. The total budget for 2020 was $6,756,359 (~7 MILLION dollars),  $5,289,141 came directly from our union fees (through tuition) from which 4,556,572 went to health and dental plans. It is important to note that while we can opt-out of the health and dental plans we cannot opt-out of the rest of the union fees (which mainly go to salaries).

The SCSU 2020 Financial Statements can be found here.

According to the SCSU financial statements, as per the year 2020, over $600K was paid in salary for SCSU. Half of that ($300K) went to execs and the other half to union staff. In addition to this, the SCSU collected around $730K from students as union fees last year. In other words, from this $730K, approximately $300K or 41 to 50% of student fees went to paying salaries to executives, and the rest went to paying staff. 


WHY ELIMINATE EXECUTIVE SALARIES

Cutting executives’ salary means that this money can either be returned to students (which would reduce tuition costs) or reinvested in things that matter more on campus, such as club funding and building a better union.

We intend to clarify the difference between professional staff members and executive positions of SCSU. Staff members are needed to manage the Union finances, hence they have  to be professional experts. However, executive members play no role in managing any task that requires professional expertise, and the only eligibility criteria for their position is to be students at UTSC. The Union, therefore, does not need to compensate professional staff members and executives equally. Moreover, the presence or absence of executive salary does not affect the functioning of the Union whatsoever.

PASSION, and not money, should be the incentive to run for these positions. Hence, we, the students at UTSC, believe that these positions should be unpaid. There are countless student organizations on campus whose executive members are unpaid yet manage to serve the students effectively. An example is the Scarborough College Athletics Association (SCAA) which is an elected council that strives to organize, initiate, and promote athletic, social, and recreational activities for the entire student body. The size of SCAA and its target are virtually identical to SCSU. SCAA also has annual budgets that come from our tuition fees (as athletic fees). Yet, not a single dollar from these budgets is paid to SCAA executives. This is a real-life example showing that paid executive members do not equal operational unions or organizations.

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