Massive Magazine reports:
MASSIVE has seen a copy of the yet-to-be-released society budget that estimates the student president, Jeanette “JV” Chapman, is earning more than $53,000 for her part-time position, more than any other staff member in the society except for the student services manager, who also works as the society’s advocate.On top of the $23,000 honorarium Chapman receives for her services as president, she had a newly co-opted executive approve $10,000 for media and communication, $10,479 for group advocacy, and $9521 for office operations service delivery.
Chapman has responded that she is not an employee of the society and that any additional costs going to her above the honorarium is an “allegation”. She also said she is not a staff member of the society, but the “duly-elected president of EXMSS and that gives me the authority to take on the role”.
According to the current society constitution, the president shall be paid, on a quarterly basis, an honorarium set by the executive committee at the beginning of her/his period of office.
An affiliate of the society approached by MASSIVE, who did not want to be named, said Chapman “shoulder-tapped” people she knew to join a co-opted executive board, after she removed the majority of the original executive members, including the vice-president, earlier this year.
That removal was covered here.
Chapman would not answer whether or not she was taking money from the media grant from the university. Asked whether media grant money from the university had been accessed for other purposes, she said, “an allegation is not a fact”. She would not disclose who wrote the reports to the university regarding the expenditure of the grant.
In regards to receiving wages for other roles within the society, Chapman said: “I daresay I have more expertise in the area of business and management than the other student presidents.”
Massey University Students’ Association president Steven Christodoulou, however, said this was hard to believe. “The presidents from Albany Students’ Association, Massey Wellington Students’ Association and Palmerston North Massey University Students’ Association all have the ethic to work together as a team for a better outcome. We do this for the students.”
Christodoulou, who is paid a $22,500 honorarium, said he saw no reason why Chapman should be earning more than her honorarium payments.
“In my view, unless the president’s wages are fully disclosed, there should be no additional payments other than those approved by the students.
“The president should be there for the students and the honorarium payment is not a wage.”
Acting ASA President Arlene Frost agreed. “As I do not receive an honorarium or a wage, I do not think that $53,000 is appropriate for a student president.
This is pretty simple. It is outrageous for the President to get paid additional payments on top of their honorarium.
MASSIVE put multiple questions through to the university about their responsibilities in ensuring the grant money is spent for its allocated responses.
The response from Massey was simply “Massey University takes its responsibility for delivery of students’ services seriously. We carefully monitor all our contracts and agreements for performance and compliance. The students associations are independent entities. The university is always happy to provide advice and support but the students associations are independent entities.”
That is not good enough from Massey University. They are the ones who decided to hand over great wads of student cash to EXMSS. They have a fiduciary duty on behalf of their students to put a stop to this. They can, at a minimum put a clause in the contract that no office will receive income beyond that approved by EXMSS members at a general meeting.
Of course if the university had not subverted the VSM Bill, and EXMSS had to convince students to find EXMSS, I’m damn sure a situation like this would not occur.