Student walkout at URSU SGM

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Students eat pizza while they wait for URSU to fix the microphone.
The equivalent of management giving you a pizza party immediately before turning down your request for a raise. Gillian Massie

SGM continues after walkout despite lack of trust from students

The in-person membership had had enough of the University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU) special general meeting before any of the special business motions had been addressed. Shortly after 5:00 p.m., just surpassing the three-hour scheduled time limit of the meeting, students walked out after a motion to add 60 minutes to the meeting was pushed through. In a video, students could be heard yelling “shame” towards URSU members who oversaw the meeting. The SGM continued after the walkout.  

“It was such a huge mess, it took them forever to even get started because of the technical issues they were having,” said Josiah Dondo, a concerned student who left the meeting. Dondo explained that the in-person membership walking out is “proof that nobody trusts URSU anymore.”  

“The fact that we can’t even get through a motion without having our voices heard is just ridiculous,” said Dondo.  

Approximately 50 students showed up in person to the Riddell Centre Multipurpose Room while about 120 attended via Zoom on April 11. The hybrid meeting setting comes after a prolonged meeting start at the March 2 annual general meeting, which only saw the resolution of three motions. The SGM kicked off with half an hour of technical difficulties. The in-person membership munched on pizza while they waited.  

Questions of legitimacy about the Zoom verification processes came once the special business motions began. Bronwyn Heerspink, president of the University of Regina Politics and International Studies Students’ Association raised concerns about the vetting processes to attend in person and through Zoom. Heerspink explained she thought if this was not foul play, then it was a complete oversight of having different discrepancies in terms of identification.  

Students who attended the meeting in person were expected to show their student ID at the door of the event, whereas registering through Zoom did not require showing any identification as a U of R student. When questioning the process at the meeting, URSU staff members explained that students should have signed up using their school webmail account. Heerspink debunked this, explaining she did not use her email, and was still approved to go.  

“That’s incredibly frustrating to me,” said Heerspink. She explained it would be easy to fake identification by pulling it off a LinkedIn profile.  

URSU staff explained they would send an email verifying how they vetted each of the Zoom members attending the SGM online, but the Carillon has yet to receive a response.  

Style Stenberg, URSU board chair of LGBTQ would have liked to see things go smoother. “Everyone has a voice, and everyone has an opinion, but today I don’t think that everyone was equally heard.” 

Motions 10.1.1. and 10.1.2. brought forth an internal governance review of URSU. Both were both voted down after the walkout occurred.  

“Would have loved to see a lot of motions be approved,” said Stenberg. “I was a huge supporter of that, because we don’t have anything to hide.” Stenberg’s own motion, 10.1.3. to increase funding to UR Pride, was also voted down.  

Heerspink, the mover of 10.1.2., explained her motion was made to hold URSU accountable. “The whole point of these motions is that there is an incredible distrust in URSU, and that’s why there needs to be a third party [URSU] report too,” said Heerspink. 

Justin Passmore, a member at large with UR POLIS, was not surprised with the resolution of the meeting. “URSU does not care about student groups,” said Passmore in the hallway following the walkout. “They are just looking for their own personal benefits.”  

Click here to see the video of the walkout on Twitter

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