The ASU is meeting today on Tuesday, March 27th at 5:00pm in the Beveridge Forum (off of the Michener Lounge in the SUB) to discuss plans for an upcoming by-law revision.
The ASU, by way of the Student Funding Committee, has approved $10,000 from the Wellness Fund to revise ASU by-laws. Students contribute $30 annually to the Wellness Fund, which can be drawn upon by Acadia students and organisations with the purpose of “accommodat[ing] the individual needs of students and enhanc[ing] their overall sense of wellness through various initiatives.”
In the meeting, Council will hear a presentation on the by-law revision process from the ASU lawyer and provide input on the process. There is speculation that the ASU Executive team has already likely contributed extensively to the process.
The ASU plans to expedite this by-law revision, condensing the process to a couple of weeks in length. This would outpace previous changes made to the ASU by-laws: for example, the Elections by-law alone took months to revise. With this condensed timeline, it is a concern that there may not be adequate time or opportunity for comprehensive student consultation, resulting in the general student population having only a limited say in processes that impact them and that are being funded with their money.
Such large funding decisions need to have student input in the first place to ensure that the decisions represent the will of the students. If the ASU were to take the time to engage the student body in these processes, they may have access to individuals and services who can offer consultation or non-profit by-law revision expertise for free or at low cost.
The process is irregular in the way it is being done as the Governance Consultant retained by the ASU will not be used, and neither will the Governance Committee, which was set up for this very purpose and would be free of cost. It is concerning that regular processes are being sidestepped.
Although the $10,000 expenditure is irreversible, student engagement with this process is still imperative. By actively participating in upcoming meetings, we can demonstrate to the ASU that students are watching and are holding the ASU accountable–that we care about the outcome of this process, and how our valuable money is spent. Students should question this lack of transparency by the ASU, and should advocate for more sound decision making regarding funding.
Participate in the Council meeting this evening, or otherwise let the ASU know how you feel. It is important to have student voices heard. The meeting is at 5:00pm, Tuesday, March 27th in the Beveridge Forum, off of the Michener Lounge in the SUB.
Ellie Valle is a 4th Year Community Development major and the current SRA of Crowell Tower.