URSU’s Annual General Meeting opens dialogue 

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Students sit in attendance at URSU’s AGM. Four rows full of students are seen seated directly in front of the board. 
AGM, here we go again. lee lim

Expansions, solidarity, and allegations – oh my!

Editor’s note: Dilynn Kehler requested a correction to this story on February 8, 2024 to reflect that the original reason URSU was contacted in November by email involved the FNUnivSA’s election process. Financial concerns were also raised throughout URSU’s AGM, though they were not the original reason for Kehler’s concerns raised two months prior.

The University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at 12 p.m. on Thursday, February 1, 2024. The AGM, which usually precedes the conclusion of the work term for the board, was open for students to attend. 

The agenda of these meetings generally includes a presentation of the work term report of URUS’s president along with the work term reports of elected executives including Vice President of External Affairs and Vice President of Student Affairs. The organization also generally releases their financial statements. The students in the audience are able to ask questions and, should they have any, raise concerns about the reports released by URSU as well as actions taken at least since the previous AGM. 

The meeting acts as an essential means for one-to-one communication between students and their representative union while serving as an opportunity for the operating team to present the work they have done over their term as elected representatives of the students. 

The agenda for this term’s annual general meeting was published on URSU’s website a little over a week before the meeting was to be held. URSU required students register before attending the AGM this year. According to the members handling student registration and on-site verification of student identification cards, around 200 students registered, while around 100 students attended the meeting. This included some on-site registrations.  

The meeting was held in the Multipurpose Room of the Riddell Centre, a space under URSU’s management. It was set to commence at 12:00 p.m. sharp, but was not called to order until 12:29 p.m. by Tejas Patel, URSU President. The panel included the aforementioned Tejas Patel; Oghenrukewve Erifeta, Vice President External Affairs; Zuhruf Zarooq, Vice President Student Affairs; and chair Barton Soroka. The absence in-person of Birpartap Singh, Vice President of Finance and Mohammad Talha Akbar, General Manager URSU, is notable.  

While Singh’s absence was expected in light of URSU’s recently released statement alleging Singh’s involvement in meddling with URUS’s most recent by-elections and his ultimate resignation, Akbar’s absence remains unexplained.  

The Carillon reported on Singh’s resignation last week in an online special article titled “URSU By-Election meddling.” 

URSU executive reports came after the territorial land acknowledgement by the President, establishment of quorum, approval of the chairperson and of the agenda, and presentation of meeting minutes from the previous AGM and special general meeting (SGM) following the call to order. 

Patel was the first to present his term report as the President of URSU. One highlight of Patel’s report included that the URSU Cares Pantry had enhanced performance, and was able to serve a larger number of students, increasing from 140 to 180 per day of operation. 

URSU Cares Pantry is an initiative which was started by URSU in 2016, aiming to provide food free of cost to university students. In the 2023-24 report, which can be accessed by the students on URSU’s website, URSU claimed that, “This fall semester, we have served an average of 220 unique individual students every month through our biweekly pantry program.”  

Citing an increase in support, URSU also stated that they are, “Delighted to announce that [URSU] will be able to open the program to 40 more students every two weeks in 2024.” In light of the ongoing cost of living crisis, this growth can indeed have a positive impact on students.  

Other topics highlighted by executives throughout the AGM reports included the fall and winter Welcome Week events and the URSU Fund the Future campaign.  

Fund the Future, which The Carillon covered in issue five during September, was hailed as an important initiative, though the rally itself failed to gather notable student turnout.  

On-campus activities organized by URSU largely received praise from the attending students. However, one student representing the organizing members of clubs for the club fair event expressed that the clubs were not so pleased. The students mentioned that club members had trouble putting their tables together on short notice, complaining that URSU failed to inform them about the event with appropriate advance.  

This complaint was not the end of concerns raised with executives at the AGM. 

Dilynn Kehler, a student from the First Nations University (FNUniv) who was present in the audience, had important questions to ask the President and the panel. Kehler repeatedly raised concerns about alleged fraud taking place in the First Nations University’s Students’ Association (FNUnivSA), an association that receives funding through URSU.  

Kehler approached URSU via e-mail in November of 2023 to request an investigation into FNUnivSA’s finances, which Kehler suspected to be involved in fraudulent activities. The request seems to have gone unattended to by URSU, which was conducting internal investigations against its own executive members at the time. Kehler was displeased with URSU’s ignorance of her request.  

Patel claimed that Kehler approached him only a day before the AGM. Patel went on to claim that URSU is only responsible for paying FNUnivSA the funds they are due, and that outside of this, URSU has no relations with FNUnivSA’s budget or finances. Kehler reiterated that she had requested for an investigation back in November 2023, and stressed that it is URSU’s duty to follow-up on formal requests made by students. Kehler was reassured that her issue will be addressed but remained unconvinced.  

Kehler and URSU’s claims contradict each other, and both parties have different versions of events. Further investigation is required on the Carillon’s part; keep your eyes out for a follow-up article in the future on exactly that.  

Another point of interest at the AGM was the motion which called for solidarity with Palestine. The motion was put forward by Oghenrukewve Erifeta and seconded by Nabeera Siddiqui.  

The motion called for URSU to affirm its support for the Palestinian people and their ongoing fight against settler-colonialism, apartheid, occupation, genocide, and all other inhumane practices; join the call for an immediate ceasefire; and to draft a letter by February 5, 2024 to be distributed amongst members that calls on the university administration to immediately cut any investments and ties with weapons manufacturers and other corporations that fund the genocide in Gaza.  

While the atmosphere in the Multipurpose Room had – at the least – been tense up to this point, it shifted to goal-oriented unity while this motion was presented and discussed. The motion was carried unanimously without a single opposition.  

A general consensus stands that this year’s AGM went well in comparison to previous URSU AGMs. 

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