SRC Decoded: What you missed February 5th

The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) is a council composed of a body of students elected by their peers, who are tasked with running the Acadia Students’ Union (ASU). The SRC meets every Wednesday at 5:30 PM in the Beveridge Forum located off the Michener Lounge in the Students’ Union Building (SUB). Each meeting is open to the public and students are welcome to attend meetings to learn more about the decisions being made on their behalf.

The student’s representative council continued their weekly meetings last Friday, here is what you missed:

Bylaws and Constitution: Out with the old, in with the new!

The council started off by quickly adopting the minutes from their previous meeting and then the show hit the road. President Brendan MacNeil and ASU General Manager Meghan McDonald started with a presentation about the bylaws review that is happening within the Governance Committee. Brendan explained why this process was necessary and important; many of the rules regulating the SRC were at the wrong levels within the constitution, making them either too vulnerable to change or unnecessarily difficult to change. He explained that the Governance Committee was “cleaning up” those regulations to make both the SRC more accountable to their constitution and to make the constitution itself more reinforced and succinct.

Brendan went on to discuss his hopes for the Union and student engagement. He is hoping that with this new level of transparency and clarity, students will be more engaged with the policies that govern their student government, as well as participating in it. He touched on the importance of the bylaws protecting their organization from third-party organizations who may be predatory on student governments and leave them bankrupted. Brendan wrapped up by explaining that the financial manager will be sitting on the finance committee to ensure there is a failsafe who knows the internal details of the Union’s finances and when decisions are being made by that committee. Meghan McDonald briefly mentioned the introduction of “society fees” which would support any society under the ASU to create their own society fees.

Attendance

The council went into a discussion about the nails and bolts of the bylaws, discussing the impeachment process for members of the SRC and ensuring the policies were logical across the different faculties and schools (especially the Divinity College and the Graduate School). Zachary, Theology Senato, brought up an interesting point regarding member attendance to the meetings; he questioned whether or not the council needed to motion to accept a member’s reason for regret when they miss a meeting, at the beginning of the said meeting. Brendan MacNeil answered cautiously that he wants to ensure attendance is the norm, not absence, and he worries that if accepting regrets becomes a part of the weekly meetings, then absences generally will be more frequent. Zach responded that he understands that absences should not be normalized, but wondered whether it was something the council should be doing if it is suggested in their bylaws and Chairperson Molly seconded that it maybe be quite helpful for there to be an explicit procedure to acknowledge absences so that they happen less frequently and for serious reasons only. The council decided to sit on that topic and discuss their opinions next week.

Announcements

Members gave a few high-level announcements and updates on their own initiatives.

Election and Referendum

Molly moved onto the issue of running an election with only one candidate as a YES/NO vote. Brendan and Zach, who were there a few years ago when the process changed, explained that this event has gone in and out of practice because its benefits and consequences seem almost equal: while having this type of election is a good safeguard for democracy and ensuring that a person does not fill a role when students do not deem them appropriate, the election has a history of being landslides votes ‘yes’ and being essentially redundant, while also being costly for the ASU. The discussion ended with the committee unanimously deciding to reimplement the YES/NO voting option for unopposed candidates in all ASU elections beginning with the winter 2021 election season.

The committee finished up their meeting with a couple of quick announcements before signing off for the day!

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Author: Sofia Munoz

Sofia is studying in her second year at Acadia University.