Copyright © 2017 Federation of Students ~ Your Student Union.
Annual General Meeting: Fall 2017 Highlights
Pay restructuring within Feds' governing bodies was the hot topic at the Feds Annual General Meeting on October 24, with all other agenda items passing without debate.
Opening comments were provided by Feds President Antonio Brieva and the meeting was chaired by former President Chris Lolas.
“Your participation here today is essential to the direction of our student union, so I thank you as President of the Federation of Students,” said Brieva.
Lolas, who concluded his second term as Feds president earlier this year, is a veteran when it comes to chairing General Meetings. He guided assembled students through the voting process and encouraged attendees to ask for clarification at any point throughout the meeting.
We are recapping the meeting’s key highlights for your convenience, so keep reading and follow along using the meeting agenda!
Crunching the numbers.
Accounting Manager Cheryl Pflug shared the auditor’s report containing Feds’ financial statements. Feds is a not-for-profit corporation under the Ontario Corporations Act and every University of Waterloo undergraduate student is a shareholder. As such, an independent auditor is contracted every year to conduct a formal audit of the corporation’s financial statements.
“For me as an accountant, this is the equivalent of us breaking even,” Pflug said about the most recent accounting period. “The loss is less than two per cent of our intake of total revenue.”
The complete financial statements will be made available on feds.ca.
Motions swooping by!
The majority of motions on the meeting agenda passed quickly and without debate, including the ratification of proposed amendments to Feds’ bylaws as a legal corporation.
“This might be a record, everyone,” joked Lolas.
Some notable bylaws passed include changing the date of Feds Elections to so that students aren't in the middle of midterms when voting takes place and giving society presidents a voting seat on Students' Council.
The potential electronic future of the General Meeting.
A motion proposing exploring online voting at General Meetings passed without debate. Feds will now examine ways to develop and implement a legal, reliable way for students to electronically vote on decisions made in General Meetings. Currently, students must be physically present in order to participate in the General Meeting, or vote by proxy through someone who is attending.
UWaterloo’s student population is often scattered due to co-op sequences and clashing class schedules. The successful motion tasks Feds to explore options that may encourage more students to participate in the democratic process, by potentially allowing undergrads to submit electronic ballots for General Meeting decisions.
In relation to this, a motion was passed to form a task force that will address concerns around engagement with the General Meeting. This will include researching the feasibility of implementing electronic ballots, examining the overall structure of the General Meeting, and examining the role of the Students’ Council in relation to the General Meeting.
Ending with a bang: a debate and one failed motion.
While the rest of the motions brought up passed without debate, the final item of the agenda sparked an hour-long discussion.
The motion concerned restructuring the pay system of Feds governing bodies. It moved to reduce the salary of the four Feds Executives in order to provide remuneration for non-Executive members of Students’ Council and Board of Directors.
Passionate voices lined up at the stage to contribute to the discussion, including concerned undergrads, Students’ Council members, Feds Executive Brian Schwan, and Chair of the Board Alexander Wray.
The movers of the motion argued the necessity of compensating non-Executive Council and Board members, while some undergrads expressed concerns that this will attract inappropriate candidates for elected positions. The unique, full-time nature of the four Feds Executive positions was discussed at length; concerns raised about the consequences of reducing Executive salary included the increased challenge of attracting qualified candidates for such demanding full-time roles.
Ultimately the motion failed to pass, with 13 voters in favour of the motion, 76 opposing, and 14 abstaining from the vote.
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m., and attendees gathered to enjoy a free breakfast provided by The Bombshelter Pub.
For those who didn’t attend, you can catch up by watching the livestream video. Interested in getting involved in governing Feds? Nominations for Executive positions will open on November 27, so stay tuned.
We’ll see you in spring for the next General Meeting!