Print Edition: October 3, 2012
We get it: you’re busy. There are very few people who are passionate about giving up their Wednesday afternoon to attend a dry, political meeting, which is why we did it for you. You’re welcome.
About 30 students drifted in and out of AfterMath for SUS’ Annual General Meeting on September 26, and since 16,000 students attend UFV, it’s fairly safe to say that you probably weren’t one of them.
“The meat of this meeting is going to be motions,” explained vice president internal Greg Stickland. He wasn’t lying; the three-hour period was chock-a-block full of motions, amendments, striking and passing.
For the 15,968 of you that had other things do to, here’s a handy recap of the results.
The minutes of the AGM will also be available online in the coming weeks.
SUS’ AGM will be held in the winter semester
The first notable amendment to the bylaws was to change when SUS holds their AGM, moving from the fall semester to the winter semester.
“Right now, we have to have our AGM—which is this, what we’re doing right now—in September,” Stickland explained, “Which can kind of catch you guys off guard, and usually catches us off guard.”
Instead, the bylaws were amended so that the AGM will be held in the winter semester.
This means that SUS will have another AGM next semester, since the bylaws also state that an AGM must be held every 15 months.
A student fee increase can only happen in a referendum
Shane Potter, vice-president east, motioned that a student fee increase could only be instituted by referendum, striking out the portion of the SUS bylaws that also allowed a fee increase to be instituted at an AGM.
“It makes it so we have a more direct democracy, if there is a fee increase,” Potter explained.
Rachel Waslewsky, a SUS representative-at-large, agreed with this sentiment.
“It also increases the amount of students that will be able to actually contribute. A lot of people are in class [during an AGM] and by referendum, which is online, it allows more people to actually participate,” she explained.
This amendment passed by consensus without further comment.
Students can petition to have a referendum
Thanks to Shane Potter, among others, the bylaws now state that students can petition to hold a referendum. A mere one per cent of the student body can bring a referendum into being simply by putting their names to a sheet of paper.
One per cent of the student body (which Potter estimated to calculate out to between 100 to 200 students total) is a substantive enough number to represent a valid interest group, Potter explained.
Referendums in the past have largely revolved around fees – from raising the CIVL fee, to raising the Athletics fee, to raising the SUS fee.
Less of the SUS board has to agree to put a referendum forward
The bylaws previously stated that 75 per cent of the SUS board had to agree on an issue to bring it to referendum. That has been changed to 66 per cent.
Chris Doyle, vice-president social, would have liked that figure to drop to something even lower.
“[Making that number lower] allows the students to have a bit more of an opinion,” Doyle explained. “That allows more things that the board can argue over to actually go to the students that it’s affecting. It’s their money. It’s their school year. It’s their choice. So why aren’t we giving it to them as much as we can?”
The percentage dropped to 66 per cent, which may result in the student body seeing more referendums in the future.
“Don’t worry that we’re trying to throw more referendums at you that are going to be trivial,” said SUS president Carlos Vidal, “We’ll only put something [to referendum when] we feel that the students really need to make the decision.”
Other motions and business
The creation of a Chilliwack Representative
The discussion lingered on the reformation of the Trades representative position on the SUS board – since the Trades student schedule directly conflicts with SUS meeting times, the role can’t usually be filled by a trades student.
There was discussion of revamping this position to include all students at Chilliwack Education Park (CEP), and allow the position to be held by any student, but in the end it was decided to create an entirely new position to cover CEP students and leave the trades position to be looked at and reworked another day.
Since trades students are in Abbotsford as well as at the Trades and Technology Centre at CEP, the general consensus was that it wouldn’t necessarily make sense for the Trades Representative to be a Chilliwack-based position and responsible for other Chilliwack students.
Despite hype, no student fee increase
Chris Doyle, vice-president social, made it clear prior to the AGM that he intended to motion to bring a student fee increase to referendum, but his proposed motion was struck down before it could even be considered.