TRUSU hoping to reform bylaws

Devan C. Tasa, News Editor Ω

Students wait for last year's TRUSU AGM to begin. - Photo by Devan C. Tasa

Students wait for last year’s TRUSU AGM to begin. – Photo by Devan C. Tasa

TRUSU is asking students to support changes to its bylaws, including the addition of two new elected members, the improvement of election advertising and the removal of the requirement for elected members to provide written reports.

Those changes will be presented at the students’ union’s annual general meeting Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. in the TRUSU lecture hall. Students attending will need to bring their student card.

In order for the changes to be successful, at least 50 students must attend the meeting, with two-thirds of those people voting in favour. Last year’s meeting had only 39 students show.

Most students seem to be unaware of the proposed changes. Students approached by The Omega to comment about the AGM were unwilling as they felt they didn’t have enough information.

One of the changes will add two members to TRUSU’s 11-member council. One will represent lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students while the other will represent graduate students. The two will also chair new equity collectives advocating for each group.

“I think that these are two important groups on campus that need advocacy and representation through the student union,” said TRUSU president Dustin McIntyre last October. “That’s why we believe it’s important that the members come out to our AGM and ratify these two collectives.”

TRU is the only B.C. university that doesn’t have any sort of official representation or support organization for LGBTQ students hosted by either the students union or the university.

The students union is also adding language to the bylaws that requires anybody running for women’s, international, Aboriginal, LGBTQ or graduate representative to be a member of those groups.

That’s not the only change to the structure of TRUSU’s council. The four members of council that represent faculties such as arts, sciences, trades, nursing, business and other programs will have those particular focuses removed, becoming generalized directors-at-large.

“Changing the name to directors-at-large is something we tried to do last year,” McIntyre wrote via email, “and that is simply changing the name to signify what those council [members] actually represent on the board as no council members actually do faculty representation.”

Another change aiming to increase student awareness of the students union’s elections will entail a two-week nomination period as opposed to one.

“As for election timelines, that has been changed because students have asked for more time and notice when it comes to upcoming elections,” McIntyre wrote.

The 25 posters required promoting the nomination period and the campaign period will be increased in size from 8.5 by 11 inches to 11 by 17 inches. TRUSU will also be required to advertise the election at least three times in The Omega and two times in its newsletter.

The students union is also asking students to approve a change that would remove the need for council members to submit written reports to each council meeting.

“This resolution also seeks to remove the requirement for a written report to Council by each position,” states the annual general meeting’s agenda, “as in practice reporting is done by collective or committee.”

With the exception of the four directors-at-large, each council member is responsible for chairing a committee or equity collective.

The change that removes the need for written reports also removes other responsibilities from some executive members. The vice-president external’s responsibility to ensure student spots on university committees are filled has been removed due to TRUSU’s new student caucus, as well as the vice-president finance’s responsibility to represent students involved in university appeals.

“The wording change comes from the fact that it is not the sole responsibility of the vice-president finance to represent students on appeals,” McIntyre wrote. “We send either a staff person or another executive member on a case-by-case basis.”

Other changes include standardizing each TRUSU committee’s membership to have a chair, one additional executive member, three members of council and two students from the community; the removal of the finance committee’s explicit responsibility to develop the students’ union annual budget; and the renaming of the finance committee to the services committee.

Updated on Jan. 15, 2013 at 12:51 a.m. by web editor.

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