When they call, you answer – or else they’ll stop calling

Why it’s important to vote in upcoming student governance issues of the day

Click on the above image to download the agenda for TRUSU's upcoming AGM

Click on the above image to download the agenda for TRUSU’s upcoming AGM

With the student union’s annual general meeting coming up soon and a referendum coming in early February, there’s plenty for students to vote on – but engagement is vital to ensure that the right decisions are made.

On Jan. 28, TRUSU is putting two questions to its membership. The special resolutions on the table will have a serious effect on how student governance and services works. The first is to dissolve the services committee, which is chaired by the union’s vice-president of finance. That committee delivers services like the Upass, the student health and dental plan, and others. For one of our stories this week, we asked TRUSU what it would mean if this committee no longer existed, and the answer we got doesn’t explain all that much.

The second special resolution on the table is the removal of the vice-president finance position itself and its replacement with a new position called the vice-presi­dent equity. The VP finance is cur­rently responsible for the books, records and accounts of the union and reports on the union’s financ­es to the board. The person in that position also prepares the union’s annual budget and oversees its business operations, among other things. This prompted even more questions from us to TRUSU and I’m still not sure where the responsibilities of the VP finance would go, or why we need a new vice president equity.

Finally, TRUSU is also holding a referendum from Feb. 9 to 11 on whether or not international students should be added to the health and dental plan at a cost of $248 each, a cost incurred by those new payees. Technically, TRUSU has to hold a referendum in order to do this, since it is adding a new fee, even though that fee would be paid by those receiving the new services.

To reach quorum, or the minimum amount of members required for all votes to be valid, 20 per cent of the union’s voting members must turn out to vote. This means approximately 1,800 students must show up to vote over the three days of the referendum.

Considering the turnout of the last student election (just nine per cent) and that this referendum will affect, at most, 10 per cent of all students, TRUSU sure has its work cut out for it.

Whatever you think of the issues, we’ve tried to give you a better idea of what is at stake in the coming votes. If you’ve read any of our stories on the issues of the day and you feel more inclined to make your voice heard – good, but make sure you follow through. Join TRUSU for its annual general meeting on Jan. 28 and fulfill your obligation as a student by voting in the Feb. 9 to 11 referendum on adding interna­tional students to the health and dental plan. It’s your responsibility as a student to ensure that your student leaders and peers hear your voice when they call for it – otherwise one day they may not even ask.