BUSU constitution to undergo major changes in new referendum

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Do you support the changes to the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) constitution as outlined in Appendix 1 (visible on the BUSU website)?

As of October 28, 2019, election campaigning for both Brock University Students’ Administrative Council (BUSAC) positions and the constitutional referendum has begun. The constitutional referendum seeks to rename the current constitution to “BUSU’s by-laws”, rename the current by-laws to “BUSU’s Board Operating Policies” and relegate the authority to create and amend by-laws to the board of directors.

If passed, effective January 1, 2020, the Governance, Elections and Nominating Committee within BUSAC will become an advisory group to by-law amendments but any such amendments will now have to be approved by the board of directors. In addition, no further constitutional referendums related to changes in BUSU’s legislation will occur.

The board of directors is however, a much smaller group than BUSAC which is presently a more representative body.  BUSU President Bilal Khan emphasizes that student representation is a priority for both BUSU’s executive governing body and board of directors. As such, BUSAC will maintain their current level of power throughout this year and a review will be done to ensure student representation remains a focus of all involved parties.

“As of right now BUSAC has a scope of authority to amend and create by-laws and that would be transferred over to the board of directors. That will help us to comply with the Non-Profit Corporations Act,” said Harroop Ahuja, serving chair of BUSU’s board of directors.

According to the Non-Profit Corporations Act, any corporation that maintains non-profit status must have its legislation created, monitored and amended by a board of directors — something that is not currently done under BUSU’s constitution.

“I do want you to fully understand the scenario and the circumstances that we are in right now,” said Khan. “Through that, BUSU’s legal team has advised us that this needs to be changed, which is why we are presenting this referendum to go to the committee.”

According to Ron Bauman, government operations director at BUSU, if the referendum is not passed, it can be brought forward again in a second referendum. If it then fails to pass there, BUSU has the potential to lose their not-for-profit status.

Khan will be running the yes side of the referendum and there is currently no opposing side to the referendum. Students, however, still maintain the ability to vote against the referendum during the election voting period November 5 to 7.

All students at Brock are eligible and encouraged to vote in the upcoming student government elections and voice their opinions about the changes proposed. Questions about the referendum can be directed to BUSU president Bilal Khan. All questions concerning the elections can be directed the BUSU’s Chief Returning Officer, Wendell Noel, at cro@brockbusu.ca

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