Council Chats: Council members begin cutting underspent SFSS budget items

Cuts are being made in the SFSS budget to reflect the deficit

This is an illustration of a graphic that reads “Council Chats.” The image also has two text boxes to symbolise messages being sent.
ILLUSTRATION: Andrea Choi / The Peak

By: Hannah Fraser, News Writer

On June 26, The Peak attended the bi-weekly Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Council meeting via Zoom. The meeting involved a presentation of all SFSS budget items that were underspent by over $1,000 from the 2023–24 budget year and reports from the executive committee members.

Presentation of underspent items

Simar Sahota, vice-president finance and services, presented an Excel sheet of multiple categories in the SFSS budget. The total underspent amount of these items was $446,460 including Clubs Days expenses, Student Union expenses, and advertising expenses for communications. Underspent means less money was used toward these categories than was accounted for.

“Very, very stark cuts are necessary to maintain our basic and essential services for students.” — Adriana Cumming-Teicher, Out on Campus Collective Councillor

Sahota reported Council is hoping to balance out the budget over the next few years, deciding with the rest of the SFSS executive committee and FASS which items to cut, while increasing revenue. So far, the executive committee and FASS have decided to cut $37,350 from the budget. Though just a small proportion of the total underspent amount, Sahota said these first cuts are just a prudent estimate of what they want to cut for the next budget so far. Some of the largest budget cuts include: 

  • $20,000 decrease in large-scale Council events, underspent by $81,990 in 202324.
  • $5,000 decrease in promotional material for communications, underspent by $24,281in 202324.

Adriana Cumming-Teicher, Out on Campus collective councillor and member of FASS, noted that “we’re running a massive, massive deficit.” She predicted the Council will soon be forced to drastically raise student fees to repair its financial situation.

“Very, very stark cuts are necessary to maintain our basic and essential services for students,” continued councillor Cumming-Teicher. Sahota said more discussions with student unions and clubs on their goals for the year will help the Council make more budget-cutting decisions.

Reports from the Executive Committee

Emmanuel Adegboyega, SFSS president, reported that aside from the work done on the budget, the SFSS executive is working through management restructuring discussions. Adegboyega also said he and some councillors met with Joy Johnson and a few of SFU’s vice-presidents to discuss issues affecting their SFSS membership amidst the recent layoffs, which have affected nearly 100 employees, and budget cuts.

Sam Killawee, vice-president internal and organizational development, said a lot of work has been done on the SFSS Health and Dental Plan. The Council discussed this matter in-camera, meaning guests and media were prohibited from observing. 

Chitransh Motwani, vice-president events and student affairs, said fall welcome events are being planned.

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