Student union struggles to explain major changes

Questions remain unanswered after union makes plans to eliminate position and committee

TRUSU president Melissa Gordon, seen here when she was campaigning to become president last year. (Jim Elliot/The Omega)

TRUSU president Melissa Gordon, seen here when she was campaigning to become president last year. (Jim Elliot/The Omega)

Two special resolutions on the agenda of the 2016 TRUSU annual general meeting (AGM) have the power to radically change the way that the union provides services to its members and oversees its finances. Both resolutions will be put to a vote at the AGM, which will take place on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.

The first special resolution seeks to remove the Services Committee from TRUSU’s standing committees. That committee oversees the services that TRUSU provides to its members, including the student health and dental plan and the UPASS.

When asked what the benefit of removing a committee that is so integral to fulfilling TRUSU’s mandate is, union president Melissa Gordon would only say that the removal of the Services Committee would “allow the union to more effectively provide services to its membership,” and refused to elaborate further.

Gordon went on to say that decisions about how exactly the services would be administered would be left up to the union’s next board of governors.

The second special resolution seeks to remove the Vice President Finance position and create the Vice President Equity position.

According to the AGM agenda, the new position’s responsibilities will include overseeing the equity work of the union and chairing the Equity Committee. The duties of the proposed equity position bear no resemblance to those of the position that it is replacing. According to the TRUSU bylaws, the VP Finance is responsible for all books, records and accounts of the union, rendering a monthly statement of accounts to the Board of Directors, overseeing the preparation of the annual budget of the union and overseeing the business operations and services of the union.

Gordon said that without a VP Finance, the union’s board of directors would retain control of its finances and that most of the details would be left to the next board of directors to figure out. She would not elaborate further.

Ryan Makar, TRUSU’s current VP Finance, said that the board of directors would share responsibility for finances if the position he currently holds was eliminated.

“In terms of what it would look like, right now it’s hard to say because that motion hasn’t passed yet. Once we see that motion pass we can work on some of those logistic things,” Makar said.

Makar is also the chair of the Services Committee.

When asked what he thought of the possibility that the removal of the committee he chairs would make the delivery of student services more effective Makar said,

“If we examine and we see that a better service delivery model is to have a single person looking after it instead of a committee, if that’s going to be more efficient, more effective and it’s going to benefit students in a better way, then we should take that avenue to better the experience for students.”

There is no specific plan to replace the Services Committee with one individual in the motion on the AGM agenda.

All students who have paid fees to the union and are registered students are eligible to vote at the annual general meeting on 6 p.m on Jan. 28 in the students’ union building.