CSU Looks to Change the Way They Collect Student Fees

They Say Change Will Resolve Deficit Without Charging Students More Money

The CSU are looking to decrease the SSAELC fund fee-levy from $0.75 per credit to $0.39 per credit, for a total decrease of $0.36. File Photo Brian Lapuz

After Wednesday’s council meeting, the Concordia Student Union will put raising the fees they collect for their clubs and student advocacy centre to referendum. They said the increase will allow the CSU to avoid raising fees for students. Referendum voting dates run through Nov. 27-29.

This article has been updated.

“The levy’s attached to advocacy and clubs are currently insufficient to pay for the standard annual operations of [the CSU],” said John Hutton, finance executive of the CSU.

The advocacy centre revenue was $30,000 over the last two years, though clubs saw a $70,000 deficit. Hutton said the deficit was maintainable thanks to the CSU Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency fund, which holds about $10 million up to date.

The CSU hopes to see a $0.06 fee-levy increase for the advocacy centre, bringing it to $0.30 per credit. For their clubs, they hope to receive an increase of $0.10, also adding up to $0.30. They also want to see their operations fee increase by $0.20 from $2.11 to $2.31. Making it a total increase of $0 in student fees.

“It doesn’t actually increase student fees so we’re restructuring how the current fees are,” explained Hutton. “Basically we are making everything balance out it wouldn’t have to ask the students to reverse the vote that they made to reduce the dues for advocacy and clubs.”

With this increase, the CSU’s SSAELC fund would go from $0.75 per credit to $0.39 per credit, decreasing it by $0.36.

“If we don’t increase fees for these departments, we are in a position where we could run out of cash during the summer which is not acceptable for a lot of reasons,” said Hutton.

The CSU SSAELC fund is used for operations such as repairs, construction and bigger projects such as the daycare opening and a potential Reggie’s renovation.

At Wednesday’s meeting, CSU councillor James Hanna argued it was unethical to tap into the $10 million SSAELC fund because of the risk of inflation.

“I’m fine with the increase of the clubs for the fee-levy because we really need the money, but what I’m not fine with is the decrease to the SSAELC fund,” said Hanna. “[With the decrease of money to the SSAELC fund] it will barely be growing at all, it’s barely going to be keeping up with inflation, in future years when inflation is gonna keep compounding.”

“Student unions are not supposed to be making a profit in terms of dividends,” said Caleb Owusu-Acheaw. “By restructuring the fee-levy it gives a little bit of breathing room.”

In the winter of 2017 a CSU referendum was passed that reduced the fee-levies collected for the CSU’s advocacy services and their clubs.

Correction: A previous version of this article said that the CSU deficits were absorbed by the SSAELC fund. Deficits are actually paid for through the CSU bank account by cash, which accumulated surpluses from previous years. The Link regrets this error.