Devan C. Tasa, News Editor Ω
The most well attended TRUSU annual general meeting in at least seven years saw students overwhelmingly support the creation of a new LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and questioning) representative.
There were large lines as students registered at the Jan. 24 meeting, located on the second floor of the Independent Centre. Study tables located along the side were moved to create more seating room and the meeting itself started 23 minutes late. In the end, 136 students attended, more than tripling last year’s attendance of 39 students.
“It went extremely well,” president Dustin McIntyre said the next day. “Turnout was great.”
Most of the attention in the meeting was directed towards a bylaw change that created the new LGBTQ representative and a graduate representative that would be responsible for a new graduate equity collective. In order to pass, two-thirds of those present had to vote in favour.
“I believe we need a LGBT student representative because it creates a voice on campus,” said faculty representative of graduate students Kathleen Hutfluss as she introduced the motion. “We need to provide that voice and perspective on our campus and on our council.”
Pride club leader Matthew Griffiths also urged students to vote in favour.
“I believe that by passing this resolution, that this will have a positive effect for not only LGBT students but for every student,” he said.
That change passed unanimously. Once it was secured, a large rush of approximately 30 students left the meeting.
McIntyre said the creation of the new positions was the most important thing to happen at the meeting.
“As the university has grown, it’s been increasingly important that we create advocacy representatives for other segments, other people on campus and this was the logical next step as far as the council’s growth,” he said.
The new LGBTQ and graduate equity collectives led by the new representatives will be officially created at the next council meeting on Jan. 29.
That wasn’t the only bylaw change to be approved at the meeting.
The four faculty representatives were converted into directors at large.
“Since the last time our bylaws were last amended, the university has really transformed considerably, making faculty-based representation kind of unwieldy,” vice president external Dylan Robinson said during his report.
The nomination period for TRUSU elections was also increased from one to two weeks. Women’s representative Alexandra Moulton told the audience she thought the change would make elections more accessible.
Other changes passed included the removal of the requirement for elected members to produce written reports for each council meeting; adding a requirement that requires anybody running for women’s, international, Aboriginal, LGBTQ or graduate representative to be a member of those groups; and the standardization of each committee’s membership to have a chair, one additional executive member, three members of council and two students from the community.
Kiirstyn Goudie attended the meeting to support the new LGBTQ position.
“It was a little long, but I really learned a lot,” she said after the meeting. “I enjoyed having a voice and being able to vote on things that affect students on campus.”
Trad Bahabri, vice president external, also revealed the speaker at this year’s Common Voices Lecture: celebrated Canadian author Margaret Atwood.