Winter Annual General Meeting Highlights
Undergraduate students gathered on Wednesday, March 29 to discuss issues, vote on policy, and enjoy a hearty breakfast for dinner during Feds’ Winter Annual General Meeting (AGM). Held in the SLC Great Hall, the AGM was open to all undergraduate students to take part and vote.
Attending students had their WatCards swiped to ensure that quorum (the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly required to conduct business) was reached and the AGM could proceed.
Once the current Agenda and 2016 Winter AGM minutes were approved and the auditor’s report received, elections for the Board of Directors took place. The eleven-member Board of Directors functions as Feds’ highest decision-making body. In addition to Feds Executive, there are two Students Councillor seats and five At-Large members on the Board.
Candidates spoke to the audience and offered more information about their goals as student representatives before responding to questions. Academic Affairs Commissioner Sacha Forstner asked the candidates to discuss one long term strategic plan they would like to institute and what values they would use to differentiate between the good of the corporation and the good the of the students. Each candidate responded in turn but most were concerned with transparency and a dedication to mental wellness on campus.
While the two Students Councillor seats were acclaimed, a vote for the five At-Large seats was held. Tristan Potter and Tomson Tram, the acclaimed seat holders, introduced themselves to the audience.
Incoming Feds Execs were then ratified and Dr. Frankie Condon was announced as the winner of the Feds Teaching Award. Agenda item 7, which would see Feds’ fees increase in proportion to CPI increases, saw some debate before ultimately being approved. The attendees then took a break for dinner.
First time AGM participant Ashley Nichols encouraged fellow undergrads to participate in their school government process by voicing their concerns directly to the policy makers.
“A lot of people, especially recently, have been sharing their opinions on Reddit and online when really they could be speaking to the people who are elected to help with those issues,” said Nichols, a biomedical sciences student. “They've given everyone time to speak so far, so it seems like the more logical place to sound off. They explain all the rules really well, there's Robert's Rules of Order posters so even though it's my first time attending I would have no problem asking a question.”
The AGM continued with Agenda item 8, a CPI increase to the Orientation fee, which was approved with no debate.
However a lively debate arose around Agenda item 9, a proposed $0.35 Feds fee that would increase honoraria for service coordinators and provide more club support with the creation of a part-time administrative student role.
A number of Feds service coordinators came to the microphone to share their experiences, citing their intense work hours and the need for the additional support. Feds Vice President Internal Deanna Priori compared the role of service coordinators to other careers to add perspective to the amount of hours they put into their roles.
Debate ensued, citing problems with the clubs management process and displeasure with Feds’ efficiency. This argument was countered with a comment from a student who spoke personally to how much the Clubs Manager works, which was supported from additional student comments as well.
An amendment was added specifying that the fee must go towards increased service coordinator honoraria and a part-time student staff position and could not be spent elsewhere in the budget. The fee to support the creation of a part-time student role was subsequently approved.
After the Bylaw revisions were presented and prior to voting on Agenda item 11, quorum was called by a member of the audience. A new count was made, and it was determined that quorum had been lost and the meeting had to be adjourned.
The announcement of the At-Large Board of Directors election results closed the AGM: AJ Wray, Vaishnavy Gupta, Matthew Gerrits, Zhe Tang, Abdullah Barakat won the five seats.
As students we owe it not just to our school, but to ourselves to be engaged in the political processes. Worrying about meeting quorum may seem like something you don't want to make time for, but these are the decisions that affect you and your peers directly. The next time you look at your student fees on Quest and ask yourself, ‘Who made that fee increase decision?', the answer can either be: ‘I did, and I know why I'm paying this;’ or, ‘I have no clue.’
When word of the next AGM spreads, make it a part of your student life experience.
Written by Leanna Walsh, Communications Assistant.