new executive position is being considered to break up the role of the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance’s vice-president of administration.
“The issue with this role right now is that it is attracting two very different personality types,” VPA Alyssa Atkins explained. She said that some are pulled towards the administrative side of the role, such as the keeping of minutes during meetings or dealing with policies and by-laws. Others love planning events, engaging with people and building campus spirit.
Atkins has found an additional challenge in getting the media and community to recognize her position since her title does not reflect the event planning side of her role.
To rectify this, she proposed changing her title at a July 19 council meeting. The change was rejected, but she has amended her title to vice-president of administration, events and development.
“I’m still [vice-president administration],” Atkins said, adding that the change is only to help with relations outside of campus.
Atkins approached the internal policy committee of the UWSA to find a solution to the issue of the contradictory nature of her role. “IPC is on board … seeing that there does need to be a structural change in the role. It’s just a process, it takes a long time.”
“What’s the best way to do that? Everyone has different ideas, so we’re not sure,” Atkins said. “Does it make sense for the [vice president of finances and operations], who does operations and finance, to do the logistical/administrative role?”
When asked about possible changes to VPFO Erik Pigeon’s role, he said, “The VPFO job is very much behind the scenes. Students don’t always see my work. To throw more duties under the role would cause difficulties for future VPFOs.”
Another suggestion is to add a new vice-president position, and moving some of the vice-president administration’s duties under that. “This is the first step to creating a new VP position,” Pigeon explained during the meeting. “Can the UWSA even support a new VP position?”
Mohammed Almoayad, a UWSA Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences representative on the UWSA’s internal policy committee, confirmed that they are looking at creating a new position. “There would be one person in charge of the fun party life aspect,” Almoayad explained, “and administration would be the other role.”
Atkins and Almoayad both noted that nothing has been set in stone; they are just discussing potential solutions.
“One of the obvious problems is a new executive salary,” Almoayad said, adding that the by-laws and constitution must be reviewed first as well.
Executive salaries are just shy of $30,000 annually, but when health benefits, travel budgets and other perks factored in, each executive costs the UWSA anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000. The UWSA is currently projecting a surplus for the 2012 – 2013 year of $34,704 which could defray the cost of a new executive, but other avenues would still have to be explored to fully cover the cost in the future.
Student unions differ in how they handle their staffing, sometimes mixing executive roles. They also cover or assist different position’s duties with hired staff or volunteers. But most student unions of similar size in Ontario, such as Queens’ Alma Mater Society, University of Waterloo’s Federation of Students and or Brock University Student Union, only have three or four executives.
Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, which is also of comparable size to the UWSA, has six executives, but two of them oversee satellite campuses at Brantford and Waterloo.