Students have a say on changes at annual TRUSU meeting

Changes concern student caucus, vice president and director-at-large positions

Every year, the Thompson Rivers University Students’ Union holds its annual general meeting, where major changes to the union can be voted by students. This year, the AGM will take place on Thursday, Jan. 26, and there are a number of special resolutions on the table that, if approved, will change how the union operates.

The first of three major changes would be to the student caucus, a group of volunteer student representatives that provides input to institutional committees and lobbies for change. This year’s special resolutions seek to recognize student caucus meetings as standing meetings of the union, making the caucus more like every other committee of the organization.

“We’re proposing that there be two committee representatives from the caucus who would actually be democratically elected and then would also sit on the board, similar to the structure of other committees,” said Nathan Lane, TRUSU’s executive director.

Another change is to the director-at-large positions the union has used in years past. Previously, students were elected to these general positions and those elected found work on committees afterwards, with electors having little idea what the person they were electing would do once elected.

On the agenda for Thursday’s meeting is the proposal to replace those four directors-at-large with nine other positions, including the aforementioned two student caucus steering representatives, two campaigns committee representatives, two entertainment committee representatives, two services representatives and a visible minority students’ representative.

When asked how the union would accommodate that kind of growth, Lane said he wasn’t concerned.

“It’s not that we’re going to have a plan to accommodate that growth. The amount of things we’re doing already requires those people. It’s not a question of creating the people and then finding work for them,” he said.

A third major change is the creation of the vice president equity position and the renaming of the vice president finance position, to be replaced by the vice president services.

“A couple of years ago we sort of evolved the equity committee to do some of the work that members had been talking to us about around our Storyteller’s Gala, around participating in international days and other equity-based issues. The committee evolved, but it never had a vice-president,” Lane said.

Lane said that the current portfolio for the vice president internal, which includes the entertainment committee and the equity committee, is too much for one person to handle.

Attendance will be one issue the union may face this year. Last year, although there were special resolutions on the table, they weren’t voted on because the meeting did not meet quorum. TRUSU’s bylaws dictate that 50 members or five per cent of the membership (whichever is smaller) must attend the meeting in order to pass special resolutions.

Lane said that steps have been taken to address attendance issues, including better communication.

“We can’t just post a Facebook post and think people are going to come to the meeting,” he said.

“Board members have been more active in being out talking to people, and so have staff and clubs. I sincerely hope we’re going to have 50 people at this meeting.”