The Courier's Guide to the CSU's AGM
// Gurpreet Kambo & Samantha Thompson

It’s the end of October, a time of year when terror takes hold of every man and woman on campus. Demons, ghouls, and all manner of ugly and horrifying creatures are gleefully prancing around demanding your attention. In other words, it’s the CSU’s Annual General Meeting, and the executives need a minimum of 40 students in order to make quorum. The purpose of this meeting is to present proposed resolutions which the CSU executive committee does not have the power to make themselves, like bylaw changes or matters that are restricted by the bylaws. The general membership will also vote on the proposed amendments to the 2011- 12 budget, as well as have the opportunity to ask their elected executives questions. These meetings can occasionally be fraught with heated debate, particularly over the more contentious issues. As the meeting presents a lot of information in a very short time frame, here is the Courier’s sneak peek into what’s coming up at the CSU’s AGM on Oct. 27.


If the AGM agenda is accepted as presented, the meeting will start off with several reports from the executive to the membership. This year, students will see the audited financial statements for 2010/2011, financial reporting on the Building Fund, and a report from the CSU’s Organizational Review Working Group. The reports on organizational review and the building fund are coming forward as a result of motions passed at the semi-annual general meeting that occurred in March of this year. Following these reports, the AGM will launch right into the proposed Special Resolutions.


This is an amendment to the policy about remuneration of executive members. Currently, they have to submit all reports and collect stipends for the month by the 15th day of the following month at the latest. The resolution seeks to give them an extra two weeks to submit reports and collect their pay.


This resolution is proposing changing the timeline in which the CSU is required to hold its fall AGM. In this motion, it is proposed that the fall AGM timeline be pushed back, so that the meeting is somewhere between Oct. 15 and Nov. 30, approximately a month later than what it says right now. The reason for this change is because currently the AGM is required to be held very shortly after the fall election – severely straining the resources and manpower of the staff and executives.


This resolution, if passed, will require that items may only be put on the agenda for an AGM either by a 66 per cent vote of the executive committee, or by petition of 1 per cent of the members of the CSU (all Capilano students) by an individual member. Previously, it only required a 51 per cent majority of the executive, or for non-executive members, merely that it be submitted by the deadline. In essence, this is making it harder for both the executives and general members to submit resolutions.


Resolution 4’s purpose is to tighten up the language around who can be a signing officer. Currently, it doesn’t specify anyone in particular (although, in practice, it is executives only). This amendment changes it so that only executives or staff can be appointed to be signing officers, and that any document must have the signature of at least one executive member.


The fifth resolution on the agenda proposes that $75,000 from the prior year’s surplus be allocated to the new student lounge space that is planned to be built in the library building. Previously, the general assembly approved $200,000 from the separately levied building fund to be used on this project.


Resolution 6 presents quite a few sweeping changes to the budget that was approved at the last general meeting in the spring semester. Most of these changes are a reallocation of a personnel expenditure of $46,000 dollars that was accidentally budgeted twice. It reallocates a number of items, most significantly:

➼ Events: from zero to $14,500 (new line item)
➼ Stipends: $10,000 more, for a total of $85,000. This is due to resolution 11 proposing to increase stipends for executives
➼ Legal Fees: $20,000 more for a total of $22,000.
➼ Professional Fees: $3,000 increase to a total of $8,000. The CSU approved $5,000 in professional fees this past summer, which have already been used up.
➼ Clubs: $1,336 increase to $2,336
➼ Office Chairs: $4,200 increase to a total of $5,000
➼ Games Table: new line item - $3,000


Related to resolution 3, it proposes that motions for AGM may also be submitted directly by the electoral committee.


This resolution combines several amendments into one motion, all related to procedure about the CSU’s election of executive committee members. The first change adds a stipend of $250 to any member of the electoral committee who is not also a member of the CSU’s executive.

The second change is significant because it mandates that polling will occur at Capilano’s Sechelt and Squamish campuses. Giving the regional campuses the vote was a decision made by this year’s electoral committee, whereas previously, voting was restricted to the CSU's paying members at the North Vancouver campus. The remaining changes alter the paper size used for election notices, adds that postering must also be done at Sechelt and Squamish, and suggests a language change for clarification of who can vote in elections.


This motion is also about the elections, and proposes that a section about “Election Security” be added to Bylaw VII, which is the bylaw pertaining to the conduction of elections. The new election security would include serial numbers on ballots, and the initials of an authorised election official signed on each ballot when it is issued to the voter.


Special Resolution 10 proposes changes to a policy instead of a bylaw. It suggests that the election policy be altered to reduce the amount of campaign materials a candidate can produce in an election, from 150 total, down to 125. With this crucial amendment, candidates will be able to have 25 posters up to 11”x17” in size and 100 posters sized 8 1/2”x11”. Presently, the maximum is 15 posters 11”x17”, as part of the 150 maximum number of pages each candidate is allowed.


This motion relies very heavily on the proposed monthly budget amendments also being approved by membership, because it increases the pay of CSU positions. The proposed stipend increases are as follows: Staff Relations Officer from $100 to $400; CSU representatives to the Board of Governors, Senate and Alumni Association from $35 to $100; Signing Officers from $35 to $50; and Portfolio positions (chairperson of policy, financial affairs, etc.) from $100 to $250. The proposed increases in stipends are being put forward without changing the official requirements of the positions. The second component to this motion requires that the policy committee review the terms of reference for all the remunerated positions and provide recommendations at the semi-Annual General Meeting in the spring.


This special resolution ties in with Special Resolution 14, because it is changing the bylaw that 14 is stating has been broken. Special Resolution 12 would allow the executive to enter into contracts with a value of $25,000 with the duration of up to one year, with a two-thirds majority approval by the executive committee. Previously any contract over a value of $1,000 had to be brought before a general meeting for approval. This resolution also lowers the threshold for approval at a general meeting from a special resolution (two-thirds majority) to an ordinary resolution (50 per cent + 1 majority). The exception to the $25,000 amount would be a contract pertaining to the health and dental plan, which could last for up to three years.


This motion is a request that David Clarkson (current chairperson of the CSU executive) and Bahiyyih Galloway (previous board member) be remunerated for work they did prior to the AGM. Both Galloway and Clarkson failed to submit their request for remuneration by the date outlined in the remuneration policy, and as a result, they have sent their request to the general membership for approval or rejection. Notably, the executive committee has violated the policy pertaining to remuneration by approving other stipend requests after the deadline several times.

However, these two requests are not identical. Galloway is requesting remuneration for March, April and May 2011, whereas Clarkson is requesting remuneration for most of the period between June 2010 and May 2011. This matter was referred to the AGM because several executives took issue with Clarkson attempting to collect stipends for such a significant time period when the policy states that they must be collected monthly, and were uncomfortable making a decision about it. Previously, the executive had approved stipends that were a couple of days or weeks late, but not months late. Stipends are approved by fellow executives in an attempt to ensure the work is completed properly, which helps keep the executive accountable. The concern raised was that there is a difficulty in approving responsibilities for pay periods from so long ago.

Notably, the motion was submitted by Clarkson on his own. Galloway was not aware that a request had been submitted on her behalf, when questioned by the Courier on Oct. 21.


This motion was submitted by a general member, and is related to Special Resolution 12. In the whereas clauses, it outlines the situation through which the CSU violated its bylaw and then neglected to remedy the situation. The CSU entered a contract with the law firm Heenan Blaikie with the agreement that they would have a lawyer on retainer. Currently, the CSU can enter into a contract with a value of up to $1,000 without the approval of the membership; however, the retainer agreement exceeded that amount. The motion states that because the executive, upon realizing they were in conflict with Bylaw XIII, did not terminate the contract, they acted outside of their authority. The motion asks for the assembly to recognize that the executive acted outside of their authority, that the contract be terminated immediately, that the CSU executive be required to adhere to the CSU’s bylaws, and also outlines provisions for what should happen in the event the executive violates CSU bylaws in the future.

You can see the proposed budget and bylaw amendments at www.csu.bc.ca

// Gurpreet Kambo, News Editor
& Samantha Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com