CSA AGM meets quorum for the first time in two years

Friday, November 4, 2011

  • CSA AGM meets quorum and votes on auditor's reports and By-Law changes

    CSA AGM meets quorum and votes on auditor's reports and By-Law changes

Written by Stephanie Rennie

On Wednesday November 2nd, the CSA held its Annual General Meeting in Peter Clark Hall. After two years of disappointing turnouts and failure to meet quorum, well over two hundred students swarmed into the meeting hall to have their say in student politics.

The meeting began with a presentation on the auditor’s reports from 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 by the Human Resources and Operations Commissioner, Joshua Ofori-Darko. Much confusion circulated around the amount of money spent on photocopying equipment in the CSA, though this service is very beneficial to students. All members of the student body are able to photocopy for a mere five cents a page, in contrast to the ten cents a page and printer card fees at the library.

After approving the auditor reports and appointing next year’s auditor for the CSA, the meeting hit a snag during the proposed By-Law changes.

Since the CSA has failed to meet quorum in the past couple of years, many alterations to By-Laws have accumulated and needed to be voted on. Three of the By-Laws were held into question as the remaining changes were quickly approved.

Much debate emerged on the proposed alterations to the title and job description of the Communications and Corporate Affairs Commissioner. Drew Garvie was elected into this position by a landslide three weeks ago and opposed the inclusion of “Corporate Affairs” in his title. Garvie suggested that the word “corporate” would be confusing for students since the CSA is an association, not a corporation. With only a small margin between those opposed and those supporting the title to include “Corporate Affairs,” the executive commissioner title is now “Communications and Corporate Affairs Commissioner.”

Furthermore, the By-Law proposed the deletion of one major aspect of this commissioner’s job description. The proposed change would eliminate the commissioner from being responsible “to coordinate awareness and lobbying campaigns with regard to non-academic student life at the University of Guelph including but not limited to; Health  and Safety on campus, ancillary fees, democracy/corporatization of the BoG and student space issues, corporate involvement in athletics etc.” Drew Garvie opposed the deletion of this portion of his job description as he stated the “need [for] strong campaigns and an advocacy side of the CSA.”

This proposed change led to an outcry of students that expressed their concern for removing an aspect of the commissioner’s job description. Ashley Lowenthal stated that the CSA “shouldn’t limit what commissioners can do.” A vast majority of the attendees of the AGM were in favour of the Communications and Corporate Affairs Commissioner’s job description to remain active in promoting awareness and campaigns on such issues enclosed in the description.

Though this portion of the meeting proved tedious to many in the audience, causing some to leave and a slight fall in quorum that quickly rose once again, the remainder of the meeting went rather smoothly.

Each commissioner discussed initiatives that they have been working on throughout the semester. External Affairs Commissioner Demetria Jackson gave much deserved praise to the leaders of Meal Exchange for another successful Trick-or-Eat, which followed a round of applause from all members of the meeting. Demetria Jackson and Jessica Carter are organizing an “Aqua Campaign” to move towards a bottled water free campus. If you are interested in taking part in this project, contact Jessica Carter at .

Human Resources and Operations Commissioner Joshua Ofori-Darko informed students that jobs within the CSA will be available and that those interested should keep their eyes open in mid-February for job postings. Joshua also expressed the need for students to discuss issues of space with their commissioners and urged students to contact him if they have any concerns.

Derek Alton, Local Affairs Commissioner, addressed the establishment of new bus routes beginning on January 1st 2012, as well as the current circumstances at the Food Bank. Alton expressed deep concern for the lack of funding available at the CSA Food Bank. He described this situation as a “tumultuous time…the amount [of students] using the Food Bank has never been higher.” In response, fundraising efforts will be established and students are urged to support such campaigns to ensure the Food Bank continues operation in the winter semester.

Overall, the CSA AGM was a success in meeting quorum and gathering a percentage of the student body to vote on issues that directly affect their academic life. It is always difficult to motivate students to attend meetings in the midst of midterm and paper season, so the support of the students that attended the meeting is much appreciated and relied upon.

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