Proposed Changes to New ASU Bylaws

On Friday, January 21st, the Student Representative Council (SRC) executive introduced some final additions to the Acadia Student’s Union (ASU) bylaw amendment package waiting to be passed. This package has been in the works for years and, among other things, seeks to give the SRC more accountability by requiring that any future changes to the ASU bylaws would be subject to a student referendum. As such, these new bylaws would be passed as a bare-bones definition of the central rules and protocols that govern the ASU. Any additional semantics and details could then be implemented and changed at the discretion of the sitting SRC in the form of policy. This would not only provide the ASU with a more robust foundation, it would also lend more legitimacy to the SRC as a result of the added accountability and safeguards. Much of this package has been previously discussed and approved by the SRC and can be viewed, with the proposed amendments, here.

A summary of the proposed changes outlines the reasoning behind their proposal. An overview of the more impactful changes are as follows:

    1. The removal of the Vice President of Events and Promotions (VPEP) position and the assignment of its portfolio to the Vice President of Student Life (VPSL).
      Since the hiring of a full-time marketing manager, the portfolio of the VPEP position has been greatly reduced. In a similar fashion, with the restructuring of house councils, the VPSL portfolio has also been freed up. As such, the reasoning behind this restructuring is that the decision to roll both portfolios into one position makes logistical and financial sense, especially with the addition of the SRC Chair as a part-time position.
    2. Moving the position of SRC Chair to a paid, part-time, position.
      Contrary to some misconceptions, this is not a downgrade of the Chair position. In fact it is quite the opposite. The SRC Chair is an incredibly difficult and demanding position that has only accumulated responsibility over the last few years. Therefore it stands to reason that those who hold the position should be properly compensated for their efforts. This amendment would increase the Chair’s pay significantly and require them to work with the SRC executive throughout the summer, thereby preparing them for their increased responsibility come fall. In short, this would provide the Chair with more support, accountability, and compensation.
    3. Reducing SRC member requirements (Office Hours, Events, Academic Requirements).
      This would remove the requirements that SRC members hold office hours, put on an event each semester, and uphold a certain GPA while in office. Much of the impetus behind removing these from the bylaws references the idea that semantics such as these should be a matter of policy and subject to the discretion of the SRC, rather than be baked into the foundational structure of the ASU. As such, reducing the requirements outlined in the bylaws ensures that they can be reviewed and altered by future SRCs as needed without having to bring something so trivial to a referendum.

Not everyone is in favor of these changes however. Colin Mitchell, an Acadia Alumni with previous longtime involvement with the ASU, stated that “The changes proposed are damaging at best and self-destructive at worst”. He argued that the removal of the VPEP position would overload the other executive roles, and the requirements for SRC positions are necessary for “Ensuring that the councillor position is more than just a line on a resume.”

But as these changes are just being proposed, none of them have been set in stone. There will be an open SRC meeting on Tuesday, January 25th at 6:30pm to discuss the proposed amendments and the SRC is eager to listen to the student body’s reaction. The SRC executives are open to any questions regarding these changes and have made it clear that their top priority is communication.

“We want to be as transparent as possible”  – Georgia Saleski, Vice President of Student Life

If you have any questions about the above feel free to email them to [email protected] and/or ask them at the meeting on Tuesday. We will be keeping you updated on any new developments as they arise.

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I am the current Professional Studies Senator. I hope to see more student representation on Tuesday’s SRC meeting.