Students’ Union approves budget

On June 18, the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) approved their annual governance and operations budget, with a few minor changes from the year before. The governance budget, which primarily deals with expenses regarding elections and the board of the directors, was approved at $71, 516, a $7,900 decrease from last year.

One of the reasons why it was lowered was because Jon Pryce, the chair of the WLUSU board, cut his trip fees from the budget.

“I took out all of my conferences,” said Pryce, including the ones put on by CASA and other student lobbying groups. “I slashed on that. I also reduced the director’s food stipends from $100 to $75.”

One thing that did increase this year was Pryce’s honorarium, which was placed at $27, 692.

Chris Walker, the chair of the board last year, was only given $19, 241. Pryce said that the reason for this was because he wanted to bring more responsibility to the role and for it to have more importance in the future.

“The reason I did this was because I wanted to set the standard higher for the position, because one of the components that we’ve been missing in the past is that quality insurance, and in setting up feedback mechanisms for the directors and student,” explained Pryce.

“There’s a whole bunch of innovative things that I thought up of so we can move in a better direction,” he added. “We’re representing students down the road.”

Pryce also added that he wants to re-evaluate the ends of WLUSU and dramatically refocus their policies. Furthermore, he wants to have the directors to begin to focus on more governance projects as opposed to operational ones.

The total operational budget, without overhead, was placed at $810, 223.

One of the largest projects approved by the board this year was a $70,000 mental health service help line, titled “Student Help Line”, where students can call a professional for mental health related issues.

While WLUSU already has Peer Help Line and the university has counseling services, there was some criticism as to what the benefit of these added services would be. But Mike McMahon, general manager at WLUSU, said this is a special opportunity.

According to Pryce, students will pay around $5, and it will be included with the Health and Dental plan that WLUSU already offers. Students have the ability to opt out of the Health and Dental plan, but this service will remain for all students.

The service not only offers professional help, but it also offers legal counsel for free for up to three appointments.

William’s Fresh Café at the Brantford campus still consumes 51 per cent of the total percentage business operations at WLUSU. William’s has been struggling in the past and had to bail out the business in March of 2011.

“During the day, from 9 am to 4 pm we’re really full. It’s mostly used by students during the day,” explained McMahon.

“A whole group of people have looked at it every year. It is a potential option for us to close that operation.

“But until there’s more options for students [to get] food in Brantford there really is no responsible way but continue to do the best we can with the service in the short term,” he concluded.

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