A vote to call for the annual Student Union Society (SUS) elections was deferred because half of voting members had only been given access to documents that were nearly a year out of date. SUS called an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to be held on January 13 to review changes to the election process and to cast a vote for the calling of a student union election.
Although the vote would normally take place at a regularly scheduled SUS board meeting, an extraordinary general meeting was called to address policy changes that had been overlooked by previous meetings, along with an in camera session. Discussed in the meeting were multiple points of recommendation by the previous chief elections officer (CEO) on how to more effectively run the election.
However, the election policy proposal presented in the meeting was an updated proposal, not the one that has been posted on SUS’s website for the last year. On the SUS website is the 2014 version which caused some confusion among board members around which policy they were reviewing.
According to Ashmeet Saran, SUS VP internal, the 2016 policy was not posted because there was a problem updating the website last year when the new proposal was created. There was no follow up to update the policies.
Despite the confusion, the policies discussed were the correct documents.
“The document handed out in the meeting adheres to the updated policy,” said SUS president Sukhi Brar.
This year will see another CEO hired from within the UFV pool. It was a recommendation by the previous CEO to move to an external process in which the CEO would be hired from a pool of non-UFV applicants.
Although the CEO recommended a policy change towards an external review process, it was not implemented for this election. Brar said in the meeting that in order for a policy change such as this to be properly addressed, it would have to have begun in August or September.
Brar said the reason that the appropriate meetings weren’t held earlier was “A combination of things. We spent much of the summer trying to understand the new societies act and see if it would impact elections. So it’s understanding the act, it’s understanding our policies, and it was trying to get an understanding of how people run elections at different schools, and which way we wanted to go.”
“We have all the information, we just can’t implement it for this election,” said Brar. “If we tried to do that right now, I’m not confident that we would be able to make a good hire, and we would have other problems associated with that.”
The EGM meeting saw the attendance of five voting members. The board needs 50 per cent plus one to meet quorum and thus vote on any agenda item. Typically quorum would be six voting members, however, faculty of health sciences rep, Rooiana Alizada is no longer a part of the board for this semester due to transferring to another school.
Alizada’s stepping down reduces the total board member count to nine, bringing quorum from six to five voting members.
Even though quorum had been met, concerns were raised about voting for an election from their conditions.
“I’d like to read [the updated policies] over because if we’re going to call an election, I want to know what’s in this,” said Robert Pedersen, board of governors rep.
An electronic vote was requested so that the weekend could be given as time to go over the newly discovered documents.
Results were produced Tuesday night — the board voted in favour of calling an election.
The timeline of the updated policy sets the planning period from when the board calls for an election until the nomination period. Nomination period takes place from January 30 to February 17. Review period is one week after, from February 20 until February 24. Campaign period takes place for three weeks after the review period.