The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Vice-President (VP) Finance is responsible for developing and managing the annual SSMU budget, authorizing agreements between SSMU and external groups, and overseeing the disbursement of funds to student groups.
Arisha Khan is the only candidate for the position. Her platform includes plans to update SSMU’s invoice and central booking software, introduce a Customer Relationship Management system, and develop a comprehensive professional development program for students who handle club finances.
Khan described the financial benefits of transitioning to newer software during the press conference on March 6.
“We have around six per cent of our annual budget devoted to IT expenses,” Khan said. “Over the last year we spent an additional $2,100 to migrate […] to Gmail [….The technology] we use to manage our clubs and services […] is early 2000’s at best. The cost of that is having to spend a lot more on administrative costs and rough work that people really shouldn’t have to do.”
At the debate on March 9, Khan emphasized the need for a restructuring of SSMU funds to make sure students can access proper resources when needed.
“We spend a lot of money on overhead and administration expenses, compared to other [post-secondary] student associations [in Canada],” Khan said. “For example, SSMU had the largest number of executives across Canada, but nowhere near the largest [undergraduate] population, so with that in mind, there is obviously structural issues that we should be examining with regards to our resource allocation and ways that we can streamline processes to have less administrative burden.”
A question was posed via the live stream about the Symphonic Band Club’s lost sheet music. Approximately $6,000 worth of sheet music was misplaced when SSMU club offices were cleared out in May 2016 and the Symphonic Band Club has been seeking compensation since. Khan assured audience members that she is prepared to deal with the issue if it remains unresolved next year.
“[….If] the sheet music issue is still ongoing if and when I assume the role, I would consult with the appropriate bodies, such as our insurance companies and our legal team,” Khan said.
She plans to increase SSMU transparency by making budget information easily accessible.
“I’d like to create a website that has all of our financial resources and snapshots of our expenditures so that students can be engaged,” Khan said.
In conclusion, Khan said that her previous positions will allow her to raise SSMU to one of Canada’s premier student unions.
“I hope that I can bring my range of experience to integrate here at McGill so that we can be competitive with our peer institutions,” Khan said.