By: Gabrielle McLaren, Features Editor
On Thursday, March 15, the SFU chapter of Generation Screwed hosted an audit examining SFSS spending, titled “The Sad State of the SFSS: Students have had enough.” The event promised to gather experienced student leaders from across campus to discuss the successes and failures of SFU’s student government.
The event was organized by Generation Screwed’s regional coordinator for British Columbia and the leader of the SFU chapter, Ben Lawson. According to the organization’s website, Generation Screwed is “a project initiated by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in 2013 to inform and mobilize young Canadians who want to save their economic future.”
“The point of the event is that a lot of our politicians at the student level, they get elected and they serve their one-year term. But during their government . . . there’s very rarely any questioning,” Lawson told The Peak.
Lawson began the event by reading figures relating to the SFSS’s budget, and discussing the difficulties faced by the clubs who have to cooperate with the SFSS. When asked by The Peak about his sources, Lawson cited that he had used “all of the financial statements posted on the SFSS website” including a number that was a “rough halving” and “what I heard from multiple sources.”
The event featured a panel of student leaders: president of SFU NDP Robert Hanson, vice-president of SFU BC Young Liberals Ryan Vandespyker, and president of SFU Conservatives Seth Scott. The candidates participated in a discussion about what kinds of difficulties clubs faced while interacting with the SFSS. Topics included the room-booking system and difficulties faced while reviving clubs. However, as neither the moderator nor the panelists presented their sources, The Peak cannot further comment on the content of the debate or the validity of the facts presented.
Towards the end of the debate, Scott suggested that student apathy might be the reason for lack of engagement on campus.
“I don’t think any more spending on referendums is going to increase [student engagement], it’s up to the students to come out and say we don’t want this to happen.” – Seth Scott, president of SFU Conservatives
Lawson plans on hosting similar events in the future and on sharing his findings in a report.
With files from Alex Bloom, and Zach Siddiqui.