URSU adopts new accountability policy

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Board of Directors will now have to be more accountable

Let’s hope URSU board meetings no longer look like this / Michael Chmielewski

Let’s hope URSU board meetings no longer look like this / Michael Chmielewski

URSU has changed the rules surrounding the accountability of its Board of Directors, making regulations around the student-elected Board stricter than in the past.

Back in February, the Carillon reported that some elected URSU Board of Directors had awful attendance records, some only showing up to three out of eleven of the bi-weekly meetings. This ground Board meetings to a halt, because the meetings couldn’t achieve their 50 percent plus one quorum.

That won’t be possible anymore.

Stricter motions and policies were passed by students at last year’s URSU Annual General Meeting (AGM). One such policy is called the “URSU Board Director Accountability Provision,” the motion amends the constitution so that directors must send their regrets at least a day before the meeting starts (one board director from last year never sent any regrets), and, if a director misses more than three meetings in a row without sending their regrets, “the Board will have the power to ask the member step down from their position.”

The reasons for the motion were that the board couldn’t reach quorum, which hampered effectiveness of the organization. The minutes from the AGM reported that “the Carillon has noted in its February 24 article on board absenteeism, that some board members have not attended a single meeting.”

The motion passed.

This year, URSU has a new executive after the latest round of elections in the winter semester. Along with the new executive comes a new board, yet this year’s Board is notably smaller. Just over half of the positions are still unfilled, with 11 of 21 student constituencies like the Arts, Aboriginal, and LGBTQ seats still unrepresented. The by-election date is not set yet.

According to URSU President Devon Peters, “campaign packages will circulate mid to late September, then the voting days will be sometime in October likely.”

URSU has made some big changes with the new, but condensed, board, including approving preliminary funding for Welcome Week in the tune of $8000, repairing URSU’s phone system ($2500), sponsoring the Cougar Athletics Program ($10000), updating URSU’s “very out of date and slow” computers which evidently lost data ($15000), updating the Financial Policy, revising the Elections Bylaw, and adopting the 2014-15 budget. It seems, at first, disconcerting that such changes were made with many student constituencies not represented, yet, since students didn’t run, URSU was left with little choice.

Peters defended the summer motions, saying that these changes were necessary to make.

“The budget needs to be passed. An organization can’t function without a budget. There’s no way we could have existed without that happening.”

He went on, saying, “We had a lot of things to fix, and a lot of work to be done over the summer. We are functioning as a democratic organization, it’s just such a shame that the process broke down in such a way that students chose not to run.”

According to URSU’s constitution, the board upholds URSU’s principles, legislates and manages its by-laws and fiscal policy, while administrating its affairs, amongst other duties.

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