1.7 per cent turnout for byelection


derek cameron – news writer/minuteman

Ballots for days! But not really. / Haley Klassen

Ballots for days! But not really. / Haley Klassen

The most recent URSU Board meeting took place Nov. 5. Recording was still not allowed.

The meeting started with a presentation from the Health and Dental plan representative, Callan Davey, who reported the percentage of eligible students opted-into the program rose from 50 per cent to 64 per cent over last year.

Following that, the chief returning officer presented statistics about the byelection revealing that the voter turnout for the election was 1.7 per cent. He then presented recommendations for improving the turnout and also noted that campaign week fell on the Thanksgiving Day, and the deadline for presenting candidate profiles to the Carillon was missed.

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) presented their proposal for fundraising. In return for an amount not yet agreed upon, the EWB would produce a video thanking USRU for their support and distribute it over social media.

The last presentation before motions were introduced was the U-Pass referendum petition. David Vanderberg presented the vision for how the referendum would be advertised and the positives of the U-Pass saying that it would relieve the parking burden by encouraging more students to ride the bus, and allow people to drive partially to the university then park and bus the rest of the way in other cases. The petition needs signatures from 5 per cent of the student population.

Then, the Board looked at a motion concerning conflict of interest and conflict of commitment. President Devon Peters had previously introduced the motion, but had been advised to take it to a lawyer to ensure this proposal would have a standard of professionalism. After discussion, the motion passed unanimously.

Next on the agenda was a motion to approve up to $6,000 for the building of a soundproof barrier for the Extreme Pita constructed by the bookstore. The funds were allocated before the debate as the University billed the cost of building before a Board meeting could be called. Had the funds not been paid, Extreme Pita could have taken URSU to court for lost profit due to delays.

URSU has a retail lease agreement for the space in cooperation with the University and as such is liable for half of any costs incurred by the contract. The University acted to ensure those costs would not include legal fees. Because of this, the motion essentially had to be passed. After debate, the motion passed with one abstention and consent from the other members.

The final motion of the day was to contribute an extra $3,000 to remain the major sponsor for the upcoming Mental Health Awareness week. Funding goals were met but the kinesiology department was willing to donate up to $6,000, which would put them as the major sponsor. As such, URSU wanted to retain control by contributing another $3,000 taking their total contributions to $8,000.

Aware that this money would potentially be unspent, they moved to create an emergency counseling fund with leftover money from the event

After debate, the motion carried with one opposed, two abstaining, and the final twelve giving consent.

The Board will meet again on Wednesday Nov. 19. We encourage all U of R students to attend the public meetings.

Correction Nov. 18, 2014 7:36 p.m : In an earlier version of this story, we misspelled David Vanderberg’s name as Vanderburg. We regret the error. 



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