Playing hookey


Absenteeism on URSU board totally fucking with everyone’s procedural shit

John Cameron


Whatever’s keeping outgoing University of Regina Students’ Union president Kent Peterson away from URSU meetings, there’s some shit that needs to get dealt with, and not dealing with it is equivalent to a shirking of responsibility. Same goes for other board members who haven’t shown up to the Tuesday night meetings that enough board members to establish quorum agreed upon this semester.

Look, folks, I get the feeling that you’ve already checked out. I’m in my last year of my bachelor’s degree, I’m one issue away from the end of this paper. I get the feeling. But you can’t just drop things. An organization like URSU has high turnover, but you’re surely smart enough that I don’t have to spell out for you that anything you don’t deal with next year is still going to get dealt with next year, and if specific motions are keeping you away – like, say, the initiative to actually make the Canadian Federation of Students position an elected one, instead of the apparently appointed position the student body at the U of R managed to vote onto the board (more on that in a bit, hooray) – then I have some bad news: next year’s board is just going to deal with it anyway.

And if you screw them over in absentia rather than show up to the board’s meetings and actually be accountable to your constituents, don’t expect next year’s board to look on your legacy with much sympathy.

That fucking CFS board seat

Can you tell this week’s column is a bit angry?

Peterson explained to me after the students’ union’s annual general meeting that the contentious CFS board seat approved by the members – a seat, essentially, meant to function as a liason between students and a separate organization from their union – was to be elected by Local 9 members.

At this last meeting, it was clarified that those members would total roughly four.

Though the explanation was, at best, murky and confusing, vice-president external Paige Kezima explained that the board seat was to be determined by CFS-Saskatchewan members at May’s CFS national AGM. This was confirmed by exhausted-looking vice-president of student affairs Melissa Blackhurst, who added that she disagreed with the idea that the position should be appointed and “[didn’t] care anymore” if that meant going against the rest of her slate.

Virtually the entire board agreed with her, but before the board could put forward a motion to both appoint an interim CFS director and set a byelection for the vacant seat in September, Kezima and graduate students director Ahmed Anees left the room, punting quorum out the window.

I don’t usually advocate for direct action in this column – the informal tone is about actually making these dry, boring, and occasionally arduous meetings relatively accessible. This might be a time, however, to suggest something to whoever actually reads these things: send an e-mail to your director and the executive members letting them know that, come next Tuesday’s meeting, you expect them to be there and to advocate for you to have more direct representation, not less, especially to a national organization like CFS. It’s easy for Saskatchewan to get lost in the shuffle, considering that we have our local, First Nations University’s local, and the graduate students’ society at the University of Saskatchewan, in comparison to the numbers in other provinces. We deserve to decide who represents us, at least, not to let someone we’ve decided to let represent us decide who represents us.

Believe it or not, other things also happened

Oh, yeah, another reason the meeting on April 3 needs to meet quorum is because we haven’t had a board meeting run all the way through its motions since February. And there’s motions besides the CFS board seat. Like the health and dental plan coverage.

Budgeted estimates for the URSU-managed plan have to be in to the university’s board of governors two weeks before their May meeting, StudentCare rep Amanda Smytaniuk explained, and that means that the board needs to take action. The board voted to let Smytaniuk shop around for plans from other insurance providers, though current provider SunLife will also be approached for a quote. However, the board will still need to approve final decisions before the end of the month.

Next week’s meeting will see, as well, a discussion of the board’s social media policy, which hopefully this time they won’t initiate by kicking out outside observers, especially if they’re going to be writing bylaws. Ah well, your correspondent can dream.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, April 3. Tell your representatives that you want them there.


  1. Patrick Nikulak 29 March, 2012 at 10:23

    I must say, the professionality of this years URSU Executive has been under question by me since September. What is more, they do not feel the need to answer for their actions, and especially do not feel the need to answer for their inaction.

    Have some respect for the students, because, until you do, I have no respect for you.

  2. John Cameron 30 March, 2012 at 16:53

    Blackhurst was there for the duration, and Nur was sick that day (see this week's lead news article, "Divided!"). Kezima was there for the start of the meeting and left sick, while Peterson was absent. It's not just the executive.

  3. Kristy 31 March, 2012 at 22:19

    I really don't get what the big deal is considering all the rhetoric around the CFS liaison seat is really frustrating as the constitution allows for what is being proposed:
    "2.2) The representative of any group listed in Section 2 shall be an elected representative of the constituency group they represent or elected in a General or By-Election of the Students’ Union."
    Furthermore, a number of seats on the board are already elected by their constituency groups. It also ensure that those being elected to serve as representative are actively involved in those organizations which has been a problem in the past.

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