Would you like to give yourself a 10 per cent raise?
Your Students' Union did just that at last Tuesday's Student Legislative Council meeting by increasing Exec salaries by $8,000.
Currently, the president makes $23,340, while the each of the four vice-presidents earn a meagre $21, 218. Was it only three years ago when students argued that a $20,000 salary was more than adequate? Apparently, it's not, because we're on to loftier numbers--a $2,122 raise per VP, to be exact.
"Are you fucking insane?" was the first question the Gauntlet put to the SU at the meeting. We received the answer that a quarter was worth a lot in 1912, but not so much now. Confused? So were we. Confused at how the SU can be so pompous as to believe that $21,218 is not enough, that the amount--almost double what the average student gets in a maximum student loan--is a pittance.
The ultimate goal of the raise, they said, was to bring the VPs salaries in line with the president's because they are all basically equal. Handcuffing future presidents just because Rob South as a president believes in a equal Exec, makes no sense. His idea of "equal" Exec is the historic oddball.
Any organization, whether it be the university, the government or a company needs a leader--someone to keep everyone on track, to oversee, to manage. While South argues his job description is nebulous at best, that's his interpretation. Under the SU bylaws, his job is to lead Exec. As Exec chair, he ensures that Exec follows through with their projects, policies, etc. The higher salary is justified through this managerial role, and reinforces the idea of a structured hierarchy which any effective body should have.
Interestingly, South did lead the defence of the resolution and the raises. Apparently, the aforementioned quarter argument revolves around inflation.
To remedy this, they also established a system which guarantees an annual increase in line with the rate of inflation (probably about 2 or 3 per cent annually). All so no exec will ever fall prey to some evil thing called "Wage Erosion."
Geez, that sounds like a nice idea. Why not extend the valiant battle against "wage erosion" to include the people who actually manage the building, sort SU mail and administer the Exec's Max Café expense accounts?
This cost of living increase is a little too "let them eat cake" for our liking, but compared to the major raise, is almost insignificant. The feisty commissioners, however, debated whether the Canadian Price index should be used for a fixed term or at a fixed amount. The worst possible short-term scenario would see an increase of hundreds of dollars, which bothered commissioners immensely--the administration, not the expenditure. None of them seemed to take issue with thousands of dollars being spent on the raises. Gee, could this have anything to do with the gleam in certain commissioners' eyes when you mention next year's election?
Despite the terrible political implications of handcuffing future leaders (the president, ahem) and reducing them to an impotent figurehead, the raises are simply out of line with reason.
None of the current Exec will benefit financially from the changes of course. All raises must be applied to next year's lucky darlings. So this doesn't prove they're greedy--they're just out of touch.