URSU terminates board chair after contentious meeting
On October 28, the 2020 University of Regina Student Union (URSU) annual general meeting (AGM) seemed to go as many general meetings do. With approximately 250 students in attendance, this AGM had only one thing on its agenda besides the usual swearing in of new members and update on the budget. The extra agenda item was replacing the old URSU Constitution with a new one that has been in the works for two years. During the meeting, a concerned member of the student union made the case that they hadn’t been given the proper 30-day notice required to ensure that the new constitution could be examined in its entirety and voted on satisfactorily.
According to the Non-Profit Act, non-profit organizations should give members notice of a major change 15-50 days before it takes effect. However, URSU sent out the mass email on October 26, only two days ahead of AGM. Early notice was given out on social media well in advance for those who follow the students’ union on social.
The response this individual got from the chairperson of the AGM, John Lax, was curt and sarcastic, and it led to some controversy and complications surrounding whether or not their concern was valid. In the end, a motion to strike section 11.1, the section proposing the new constitution, was moved, and voted on, striking section 11.1 from the AGM. The constitution was taken back into consideration and will require be voted on in a special general meeting in the future, which all students will be made be aware of at least 30 days prior to the meeting.
After the AGM, the URSU Board of Directors met on November 3 and the board voted to terminate the board chair for “being unprofessional and rude to members during the board meeting.” This decision, however, was not done according to proper protocol and a special board meeting was held on November 9 in an effort to repeal the motion. However, it was again decided that the board chair should be terminated, but done in the correct way – that is, terminating his contract and giving him the 30-day notice that is required.
While a majority vote to terminate the chairperson’s contract was reached, not all members of the student board agreed that this was the proper response. After all, during the AGM no one interrupted to correct Lax on his behaviour, and after the AGM there was no talk about fixing his behaviour, rather there was an immediate movement to terminate him.
A new chairperson will be appointed/hired by the general manager and the executive government once the old chairperson’s contract has been terminated.