No foolin’—March 31 SGM makes quorum

Native Students Union Firekeeper Blake Desjarlais opens the March 31 Special General Meeting by acknowledging the territories. Photo by Myles Sauer

Native Students Union Firekeeper Blake Desjarlais opens the March 31 Special General Meeting by acknowledging the territories. Photo by Myles Sauer

While most students were preoccupied with final exams and assignments, or just content to lie in the afternoon sun, enough of them made it to the UVSS Special General Meeting (SGM) on Thursday, March 31 to ensure that the 106-student quorum was met.

There was concern that the meeting would be a bust, what with the previous Semi-Annual General Meeting failing to make quorum, and the SGM taking place smack in the middle of the busiest time of year.

Lo and behold, the meeting was called to order at 4:20 p.m., with outgoing UVSS Chairperson Brontë  Renwick-Shields confirming that they had achieved quorum. (Renwick-Shields told the Martlet that 132 attended the meeting, though UVSS General Manager Dale Robertson said there were 140 at its peak.)

One of the key special resolutions was a motion to amend Bylaw 22 so that the Native Students Union (NSU) could be incorporated under the Society Act. Another amendment clarified terms of the NSU’s membership, striking and replacing Bylaw 22.2 to read that membership shall comprise “any person who successfully meets the membership qualifications” as set out by the NSU.

Speaking to the latter amendment, NSU Firekeeper Blake Desjarlais said the NSU was the only advocacy group whose membership was defined by the UVSS bylaws and not the NSU’s own constitution. Should the motion pass, Desjarlais said the amendments would create “equity and equality” for the NSU’s membership.

With no discussion, the motion passed without a single vote cast in opposition.

The second motion — an amendment to Bylaw 17 renaming UVSS Pride, as it’s referred to in the bylaws, to UVic Pride, as it’s referred to everywhere else — was also passed in quick succession.

The third and final motion included amendments to Issues Policy Part B, including: revising “Homophobia & Transphobia” to “Homoantagonism & Transantagonism”; ratifying the UVSS’s support for a designated constituency group office “for students of marginalized gender identities, and romantic and sexual orientations”; and supporting equal priority in rental units for “all couples and individuals” regardless of gender identity and expression, and romantic and sexual orientation. That motion passed.

With no announcements from the board, and no scheduled question period, the meeting was adjourned just ten minutes after it started — a meeting far more effective than the AGM previous, and proof that when people show up, stuff gets done, and gets done fast.


Avatar Student

I would have liked for a question period and what were the implications of these decisions. Not even this article elaborates on what will change in terms of uvss pride and homoantagonism. Additionally no info about this was given by the uvss prior, only whether or not the nsu agreed with the changes about them was open for public awareness of the issues. I am trying to become more involved in politics but it’s hard when no one does a good job explaining what is the point in all of this.

Avatar The Martlet

Hi student, that’s a fair point. We were wondering about the lack of a question period the day of, as well. We’ll work on a follow-up breaking down what these changes mean. Thanks!

Avatar Student

My apologies I totally forgot that you guys had stated that earlier. But my point still stands that information outside of the meeting was minimal and not to outsiders it makes UVSS issues much harder to get into unless you are already ‘in’ with the group in power. That goes for this years UVSS and next years.

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