February 7, 2012

Directors push to further union’s transparency, consider on-line voting system

Directors David Cardiff (left) and Nate Hansford (right) vote against a motion to go in-camera at Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting.

Erin Collins
News Editor

The Board of Directors convened on Thursday to talk accountability, action, and ad hoc committees.

First on the table was a motion from Director Nate Hansford to refer his proposed constitutional amendments to CD&R. If approved, the amendments would further the speaking rights of students who attend Board meetings. Hansford explains that his motion intends to “increase the transparency and democratic nature of the student union.” The motion passed without discussion.

President Mike Snoddon followed with congratulations for Wednesday’s National Day of Action. “The Day of Action was a huge success and it definitely couldn’t have been done without a number of people around this table who gave time, sweat, and love to join students across the country,” he said.

Snoddon threw out some impressive statistics: “1,000 students shut down downtown Vancouver, 3,000 students in Halifax shut down downtown, and 40, 000 students in Toronto shut down downtown Toronto.”

Orillia directors were able to comment directly on the last feat, having joined the flock of students at the Toronto movement. The directors confirmed that police were present throughout the march.

After a momentary celebration of success, Snoddon motioned to go in-camera, explaining that there was a “development” that required the Board’s direction.

But Hansford objected to going in-camera without further justification or explanation. Snoddon relented by providing more information. “There’s a development at the university that the students’ union will be investigating potential action… I would like to hear the opinions of the Board without hurting our position right now.

“I can’t go into very much,” he stressed.

Director Dave Cardiff sided with Hansford: “if this involves an investigation by the student union, I think the shareholders, the student body, have a right to know about what’s going on – whether it pleases us or looks bad on us or not.”

Director David Bates did not agree. “While we have a duty to report to our students… there are a lot of things we can’t make public because of potential lawsuits afterwards.”

In the end, Snoddon decided towards a motion to shoot down his own motion, explaining that he didn’t feel the Board was ready to address the issue as of yet. “I can let the Board know it’s something we’re working on that isn’t personnel or union related,” he concluded.

Finally, Chief Returning Officer (CRO) Daenis Camire proposed the creation of an online voting system ad hoc committee “so we can research [the systems] used by universities across Canada to find one that might fit Lakehead.” The committee was approved, to be filled the following meeting and to report to Board by the last meeting of the academic year.

For several hours after, training commenced and the Board poured over an overview of the budget, an audit, and a joint management agreement in solidarity.

Photo by Gary Musson/ARGUS

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