AGM turns into fiasco

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A laptop screen showing a Zoom waiting screen that says “Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon,” and the URSU logo with the text “AGM 2023.”
The amount of time people had to wait at this screen ensured only the most patient made it into the meeting when it finally started. FiveFlowersForFamilyFirst via Pixabay manipulated by Lee Lim

Painfully long, confusing, and downright insulting

by matthew merifield, contributor

I attended the University of Regina Students’ Union’s (URSU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 2 of this year, and it’s not something I’ll soon forget. Going into the meeting with some fellow members of UR POLIS, I was anticipating a lively meeting where all of the motions presented in the agenda would be discussed and voted on. I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

To start off, the meeting was plagued with technical errors that URSU couldn’t seem to get their heads around, and it prevented the meeting from getting started by around half an hour. After the meeting finally began, there were issues in ratifying the speaker for the meeting, and the voting system delayed it even further. At this point, I was already frustrated with the mismanagement of an AGM they had immense time to prepare for.  

Next, the executive committee presented their year-end reports to everyone in attendance. There were some shocking revelations in those presentations that caused a bit of an uproar in the Zoom chat while it was going on. The revelation that URSU had lost over $700,000 in their budget while the Owl pulled in just over $200,000 was bad enough. We also found out that URSU salary expenditures were over $1.1 million, an amount that has almost doubled since pre-COVID numbers.  

After the budget, by far the worst part of the meeting was when we finally began to vote on agenda items. Before we even began, a motion to remove unnecessary and unconstitutional motions that would take up much needed time during the meeting was voted down. It became clear after this that URSU was pushing the meeting time in an attempt to not vote on important motions later in the agenda that would advocate for oversight of their actions. Instead, they wasted the time of every student in attendance, and pushed motions like the CFS funding that goes directly against referendum results provided by the students

At this point in the meeting, we had already gone an hour over the time scheduled, and had only voted on three of the 24 total motions in the agenda. I was exhausted, and so was everyone else there. URSU had waged a war of attrition on the students and managed to pass the motions they desperately wanted to by confusing and tiring the voters. Before the CFS motion, one of the other attendees asked to recess the meeting on the basis that we had already gone so far over time, but the URSU executive vehemently fought against it in an effort to ensure their motion would succeed. After the motion went through, after a ton of debate and legal confusion from URSU, another recess was called and URSU had no problem ending it there.  

Their willingness to end the meeting after that point proves that the meeting was not held to make student life better or to hear our voices. This meeting was held so URSU could go over students’ heads and spend our student fee money on projects and promises that we don’t want. With a meeting so dreadfully unorganized and frankly embarrassing, URSU needs to take a step back and realize that they no longer have any respect from the student body. Something needs to fundamentally change in the organization, or I am certain that students are going to have more to say about it soon. Having spoken with colleagues, fellow students, and friends, one thing is clear: URSU is not working for students anymore, and we are tired of being taken advantage of. 

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