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Tensions get high, executive accountability gets voted down

First meeting of the year an interesting one

Author: Derek Cameron – News Writer

From the last URSU meeting we learned the Owl is still running a deficit. / Kyle Leitch
From the last URSU meeting we learned the Owl is still running a deficit. / Kyle Leitch

URSU had its first board meeting of the New Year on Jan. 14, 2015.

To start the meeting, the VP of operations and finance Minsoo Cho provided a financial report detailing the current state of the budget. A number of items were brought up in the presentation.

The Owl is still losing money. This is partially due to the capital invested in the summer. It has lost “$186,000 in operations,” according to the report.

Welcome Week, which was previously stated to have made money, came up in this report as having lost $11,000. However, Minsoo stated that URSU “has not yet closed out the Welcome Week account so there is some pending sponsorship.” On the whole, the budget left URSU with $290,000 surplus, which was well in keeping with their projected numbers.

U-Pass representative David Vanderberg was up next on the agenda and let URSU know the details of the U-Pass agreement so that a referendum question could be drafted. In his report, David mentioned that the City of Regina had not signed to a concrete amount and would not until after the referendum had been passed but had put the zone to “$70-90 per student” per semester. President Devon Peters said that the referendum question would be worded to reflect the range rather than a specific amount.

The first motion up for debate was a motion to create an executive policy outlining the duties of each position and the process for dealing with any failure to comply with the policy. In essence, the policy aimed to keep executive accountable. Debate on the motion was lively. Those against it argued that it would tie the hands of the executive and those for arguing that it felt the motion was intended to keep the executive accountable. In the end, those against voted the motion down by a slim majority, seven to six. This motion was full of tense discussion and showed a split executive with Devon arguing the case of accountability and Daniella and Luanne arguing that it would lead to a rigid executive.

Next, a motion to set a referendum date for U-Pass was introduced. The proposed date was March 16-19. This date corresponds with the spring URSU elections, saving time and money. This motion also passed unanimously.

The third motion debated was the creation of a Mental Wellness Fund Committee. As URSU previously had set up the fund with the surplus from the Mental Health Week sponsorships this motion was mostly a formality to ensure a committee handled the funds properly. The committee would consist of the VP external affairs and three board members. The motion passed unanimously.

Then, URSU debated a motion to change the fee sharing agreement between URSU and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA). As URSU consolidated its two fees into one, the GSA had ended up receiving money from the consolidated fee, whereas before it had collected only from one fee. Because of this, URSU negotiated a change in the agreement to rework the fee sharing agreement to its reflect the former agreement. The motion passed unanimously.

Finally, URSU looked at a motion to repaint URSU offices for a total of $8,100. The motion was tabled as it was added last minute and URSU felt more research was needed.

After motions, URSU discussed the public hiring of this year’s CRO for elections. The position is being promoted publicly in a break with the past. In recent years, the CRO has been appointed by the executive with a varying degree of success.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 28th 2015.

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