Another BUSU AGM, another dismal turnout
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 10:10
BUSU held the first AGM of the year on Oct.10 in the Pond Inlet.
According to the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) Constitution, BUSU is required to hold two Annual General Meetings (AGMs) each school year between May 1 and Oct.15 and Oct.15 and Feb.15. During these meetings, students can ask questions of the executive, amend, rescind or enact by-laws, or even impeach officers of the corporation.
“This forum exists so that if you don’t agree with how your representatives are representing you, you have an opportunity. The AGM is there in case something goes wrong. It’s there in case something’s not working well,” said Luke Speers, BUSU Vice-President, Finance & Administration.
For the AGM to meet quorum, the minimum number of members that must be present at an assembly in order to make any motions valid requires at least two per-cent of current undergraduate students to be present.
13 students (including the four executive members) attended the Oct.10 AGM; 312 were required to meet quorum.
“I think the low turnout shows a somewhat accurate depiction of student involvement across campus when it comes to decision making. For example, if you look at elections a very small population of the students run in them as compared to the amount of students who join intramural’s. It all comes down to students interests and unfortunately student politics is not at the top of their priority list. There are considerable time constraints facing students, including work, heavy class loads, and other activities,” said BUSU President Heather Finn.
Although quorum was not met, the meeting did have some non-quorum related items on the agenda.
First, BUSU President Heather Finn and Vice-President, Student Services Cooper Millard gave a presentation to the students in attendance outlining month-by-month activities and events BUSU has undertaken since May 2012.
After the presentation was complete, the floor was opened for questions. During this portion of the meeting, any student wishing to ask a question to an executive on any aspect of BUSU could come forward and make their voice heard.
In total, three questions were asked by students. All of which were simple financial clarifications.
After it was clear there were no more questions from the floor, the meeting was adjourned.
This is not the first AGM to receive a less than stellar turnout; BUSU AGMs have been met with a steady stream of dismal and disappointing turnout for at least the past few years. The previous AGM held in March 2012 had an attendance of roughly 25. 2011’s AGM recorded exactly four students. In the last four years, no BUSU AGM has come close to reaching quorum.
Some see this outcome as a failure on the part of BUSU to properly inform and engage students, citing what they see as insufficient marketing of the event. This was an issue brought forward during the March 2012 AGM when some students suggested that the full spectrum of advertising tools was not properly utilized.
“BUSU did a variety of different things to advertise for this AGM. Two weeks prior we added a banner to our website, announced it in BUSAC, put up posters around the school, Facebooked and Tweeted about it as well as word of mouth. The street team [marketing department] also had printed information at its table in MC A-block that students could access and ask questions about the meeting leading up to it. ” said Finn.
Others however, see low turnout in a much different light, not as a sign of failure on the part of BUSU, but rather as a sign of student satisfaction.
“If you have a thoroughly effective governance process — where everyone is doing a good job and the people are happy — you might get turnouts of 15 or so people,” said Speers during the March 2012 AGM. “If we were doing a bad job, [the room] would be full.”
Finn also saw the AGM in a more positive light.
“I would consider this AGM a success because the students who came out still had the opportunity to get informed. It gave BUSU a chance to share what has happened since May and have any questions answered. Students have the opportunity to attend the next AGM on January 15th.”