DCSI needs to be more communicative

Photo credit: Dakota Evans

Chronicle editorial

A student’s tuition at Durham College costs just over $3,000 per year. Of that amount, $1,245 goes toward different student fees, such as the Health plan, Dental plan, and the U-pass transit fee. Students can find a breakdown of the way the money is spent on DCSI’s website.

The total amount collected in student fees from all students at DC comes to just under 5 million, according to a document on DCSI’a website, now removed. According to DCSI’s 2018-2019 breakdown, which was recently taken off their website, the fees also go toward DCSI expenses.

Just over half of the revenue generated by student fees goes to the Insurance-Health Plan. The rest of the money is spent on budget lines such as governance, marketing and communication, outreach services, DCSI clubs, events and Riot Radio. Not many students are aware of these fees or the way they are divided up.

DCSI needs to be more communicative. This includes telling students not only how their money is spent but also what is happening with DCSI’s executive.

Jaylan Hayles, former president of DCSI, Geoffrey Olara, Vice President of External Affairs, and Toosaa Bush, Vice President of Internal Affairs, were fired at the end of June, after being elected in late February.

The former executives say they were not given any notice as to why they were being terminated. A judge dismissed their wrongful dismissal lawsuit and the former executives have since filed a human rights claim.

The case is before the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

When asked about what is being done with the executives’ salary, Parastoo Sadeghein, Director of Community Services and Health, the only director who was willing to talk to the Chronicle, says she couldn’t disclose that information due to the case being in process.

In Feb. 2016, the Chronicle reported the salaries of the then joint student association (DC and UOIT). The salaries for UOIT’s vice president for the downtown campus, VP of the Whitby-Pickering campus, VP for college affairs and the VP of equity comes to $33,000 per year and a two-week vacation. The two institutions split late 2016, Hayles and his VPs were the first elected executives for Durham College.

Students should be notified of any changes DSCI makes, especially if it involves student money.

The Chronicle went to DCSI’s operating office more than five times to find out answers to where students’ money is going.

One of the most alarming budget lines which comes from the document that was removed from DCSI’s website is the legal fees of $60,000 per year.

Sadeghein says, “This is the budget that’s coming from students, it’s for anything that requires us to speak with our lawyers, any policies we want to put forward we always get legal counsel information.”

The DCSI executives who were let go made a lot of promises during their campaign. The former DCSI president said Frosh Week was going to last a month as opposed to one week. There was no Frosh Week this year and students are not aware of where the money for the event went.

Sadeghein says some of the money that was going towards Frosh Week is being used for other activities, like discounted Blue Jays’ tickets for students.

There needs to be better communication. Students are not aware of the changes DCSI is making.

The last time students heard from DCSI was a letter posted by Andrew Nunez-Alvarez on the DCSI website. It said DCSI student board members “are working to ensure you all continue to receive the services we provide.”

DCSI needs to be transparent with how student fees are being spent and what plans are being made on behalf of DC students. Students have a right to know.