CSU AGM offers up free sandwiches, democracy, and a little bit of controversy
// Victoria Fawkes

The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) is required to hold a General Meeting twice a year in which all members of the CSU (all Capilano students) may participate and vote, and get a free lunch in exchange.

The meeting was held in the Maple Building on Mar. 22. It is required that all CSU board members are in attendance; however, two were absent, Saam Nasirpour, and Parker Busswood, and their regrets were confirmed by the chair. By the time the quorum of 40 was reached, half an hour of the scheduled time had passed. Former CSU Chair Ben West was ratified as the external chairperson without opposition. There were only a few items that took up the majority of the time in the general meeting.


A proposal that was expected by many to cause contentious debate, CSU board member, and student Senator David Clarkson attempted to amend the agenda to include a motion that he did not submit by the deadline. The motion, which Clarkson distributed printed copies of, proposed that “[Clarkson] be paid for his duties in his capacity as a member of the Executive Committee for which he has not previously received remuneration.”

While the motion did not explicitly state it, the period in which he did not collect his remuneration was all of June 2010 to May of 2011, a consecutive period of 12 months. He failed to submit his stipend request according to the CSU’s remuneration policy, which requires that they be collected monthly. As a result, the policy would have to be suspended at a general meeting for him to be able to collect it.

Clarkson’s written preamble to the resolution says that he was externally, or “structurally prevented,” from collecting his stipend, due to how the remuneration policy was written, until it was changed at the Nov. 2011 AGM. However, this does not appear to be true, as he has been collecting his stipend since July of 2011, and it didn’t appear to structurally prevent him at that time. Most other board members had no problems collecting their stipend during that period, except for Bahiyyih Galloway, for a period of three months. Galloway accepted at that time that it was her own fault for not doing so.

Clarkson attempted to have the motion be put on the agenda so that it would come before the other resolutions that had been submitted on time. However, Kelsey Didlick, another CSU board member, along with others present, were eager to move on to items that were actually on the agenda, and urged those present to defeat the motion.

“Every item on the agenda today has been submitted two weeks in advance, and the reason for that is to give everyone with membership the opportunity to be here to vote an ample amount of time to consider the motions, so that you can feel prepared,” said Didlick. “To be clear, I do sit on the board, and I know that it was not submitted by the deadline, and that’s why it is not on the agenda today. And so there’s no reason to amend the agenda, because if this member would like to have his motion considered, he needs to submit it for the following general meeting.”

West ruled the motion to amend the agenda out of order, due to the policy that requires agenda items to be submitted two weeks in advance.

This matter also caused controversy during several CSU board meetings last summer, along with the previous two AGMs. At that time, 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 (or a year) 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, as so many of those board members are no longer on the board.


Subsequently, Jordan Liden then went on to discuss the CSU's budget. “What we did was starting about six or seven weeks ago; we met for about an hour for the budget. Prior to that, I prepared since four yearly financial statements since 2008, so we looked at past trends to allocate expenses from last year. There are no huge changes from the year before. When we started looking at revenues, we predicted they would be the same as last year,” said Liden.

Liden believes that the budget will have to be amended in Fall 2012, just as it was amended last fall: “If we project the revenue wrong, then that could make some substantial changes. But we amended the budget in the fall last year, and that worked out well,” Liden explained.

Much of the discussion centred around a line item to buy a pool table, which the CSU was to increase from $3,000 to $5,000, due to the cost of a quality table. Some students felt that a foosball or air hockey table was more suitable; however, the amendment for the increase passed.


At the AGM in the spring of 2011, a resolution was passed to strike an “Organizational Review Committee” which would examine the structure of the organization and provide a report including recommendations to be voted (if they recommended any) at the Spring 2012 AGM. Kelsey Didlick, the chair of the ORC committee gave her report which, for the most part, stated that the committee needed more time before any changes were made.

It also recommended that the committee should become the internal responsibility of the executives, instead of having a deadline for recommendations at an upcoming general meeting, so that a proposal can be given the amount of time that it needs.

Clarkson expressed his opposition to the proposal from the committee, especially about a lack of these deadlines, which could lead to less accountability on the part of the board. He also suggested that the AGM pass a motion for the CSU to do a third-party governance review, “so that the committee remain accountable to the membership at-large.” However, this idea did not have traction, and it was decided that the committee would only report back at the next AGM.


Several other items remained on the agenda, including one that required any members who wish to propose a resolution for a General Meeting to now have to get a petition of 50 students. However, by that point, the meeting had lost quorum, so the meeting was unable to vote on any remaining changes, effectively being adjourned. The remaining items do not get carried over to the next meeting; however, they can be put on the agenda by the board or by members.

//Victoria Fawkes, writer

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: