ASU Updates its By-laws:
Organization poised for more progressive and efficient representation
The Acadia Students’ Union (ASU) is committed to providing strong representation of and clear communication. The ASU is always seeking new ways to engage with students and promote a fun, memorable, and supportive Acadia Student experience.
At the recommendation of the 2017/2018 ASU Council, the ASU’s legal counsel, and the ASU’s Governance Consultant, this year the organization has undergone a complete review of its By-laws. These governing documents outline how elections and referendums are conducted, the ASU’s committees, and job descriptions for council members. The purpose of this review was to ensure a more diverse council composition, improve the efficiency of ASU council meetings, and enhance the clarity of our By-laws.
The process for updating our By-laws has been thorough. Beginning in March of this year, the ASU began public consultation sessions with students and with both incoming and outgoing council members to hear how we could better align the organization’s practices with its values of integrity, respect, and inclusion. We heard that past candidates wanted to make it easier to engage with students about issues important to them and the desire to increase voter turnout in ASU elections and referendums. We also heard that the ASU needed to do better at engaging with traditionally marginalized communities on our campus including international and indigenous students.
Having heard these and other concerns, the ASU Executive and Council worked with the ASU Lawyer to propose new By-laws that, if ratified, will modernize the ASU’s practices, ensure fair and accessible elections, and promote a more diverse and inclusive ASU Council. Some of the highlights of the new By-laws include:
- Establishing a new appointed Diversity and Inclusion Representative on Council. This position would be hired in accordance with the Canadian Employment Equity Act, and would require applicants to self-identify as female, a visual minority, Indigenous, and/or a person with disabilities. The committee tasked with hiring this role would require at least two of its members to identify with one or more of the four groups identified in the Act.
- Renaming the Campus Representation Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Also, the committee has a new membership composition, which includes the Coordinator of the Acadia Mental Health Initiative (AMHI) and the ASU President and, like all other ASU committees, will now be allotted time at each council meeting to report to council on its pursuits and/or any issues the committee is seeking to address.
- Fixed election dates for ASU elections and an increase in the number of voting days in ASU elections from two to five to maximize voter turnout.
- More areas for candidates to campaign including the Axe, the first floor of the Library, and at the Athletics Complex to make it easier for you to engage with candidates on issues important to you.
- Increased campaign finance reimbursements for Executive Candidates to make it more affordable and accessible for all students to participate in ASU elections.
- At the recommendation of the ASU lawyer and governance consultant, a reduction in the number of voting members on council from nineteen to sixteen to ensure the meetings can operate efficiently to better address issues important to students.
- Clear guidelines and meeting requirements for council members to ensure your elected representatives are held accountable.
These are just some of the highlights from the ASU’s proposed By-laws will help sponsor a more modern and efficient Students’ Union and will make it easier for students to participate in ASU elections. The updates stem from the ASU’s most comprehensive and consultative governance review in its recent history. Consultation with council and students at large have continued into this semester at council meetings, through email submissions, and a four-hour public consultation session on the draft By-laws. In fact, never has our union spent so much time listening and building governing documents that are truly reflective of the organizations mission statement.
The ASU continues to welcome feedback on the proposed By-laws. Students are encouraged to review the proposed documents on the ASU’s website (http://theasu.ca/uncategorized/new-asu-by-laws-draft/) and submit feedback at the ASU’s upcoming council meeting on December 4th at 5:15pm in the Beveridge Forum (just off the Michener Lounge in the New SUB), in person during council member’s office hours in the Old SUB, or by email at ASUbylaws@acadiau.ca. We invite you to be part of this process as we work to establish a more modern and progressive ASU.
For more information please watch the following video:
This year the ASU is updating its governance documents to promote fair and free elections and ensure that our organization's by-laws align with our values of integrity, respect, and inclusion. Watch the following video to learn more. To review the changes please visit our website at theASU.ca and we encourage you to submit your feedback in person or by email at ASUbylaws@acadiau.ca. For more information visit: http://theasu.ca/uncategorized/5889/
Posted by Acadia Students' Union on Monday, November 26, 2018