By Jude Habib
On Wednesday, November 8th, 2017, 101 students were recorded to be present inside McConnell 204, marking the start of the first General Assembly in modern EUS history. Depending on who you ask, it’s been any where from 15 to 25 years since the last GA, which makes this occasion quite special.
So why now for this glorious occasion? Was it to celebrate Canada’s 150th or Montreal’s 375th anniversary? It turns out it really shouldn’t be a notable ceremony, as, in the eyes of the law, the EUS is obliged to hold an annual GA.
To clarify, the EUS is currently undergoing structural changes in order to fully comply with Quebec law. By legal definition, the EUS is a corporation, which has many requirements, a few of which created the need for structural changes.
First, there needs to be some separation of powers, often incurred by a Board of Governors, so EUS council constitutionally created a Board of 13 members. The BoG consists of the President and VP Finance of the EUS, the Engineering Senator, eight members-at-large and two alumni. The overlap between council members and board members allows for more accurate transparency and increased efficiency, especially in this transition period.
The BoG works primarily to keep the EUS financially and legally afloat. Over the summer they amended and restructured the main Bylaws, which are the regulations the EUS has to abide by, as they need to be ratified by a GA whenever they are changed, and due to the absence of a GA in at least 15 years, they needed to be sanctioned for the first time in the same period.
The Board of Governors also decides the financials of the EUS, not only by modifying the Financial Bylaws, but also by creating and approving the budget for the EUS, which occurred in a Special Budget Review Meeting this past October.
The separation of powers allows for the EUS Council to focus closely on policy that more closely effects students, rather than worrying about legality in the eyes of Quebec
The separation of powers allows for the EUS Council to focus closely on policy that more closely effects students, rather than worrying about legality in the eyes of Quebec, which allows for the EUS to continue operating but is a far removed issue from the average constituent. The new structure promotes that the elected representatives of Council work on helping their constituents as much as possible.
The BoG does operate above the EUS council, as they are not mandated to act on what Council may tell them, while Council is binded by what the BoG imposes. While it could potentially seem like a non-democratic structure, the missing part of the picture is that the General Assembly operates above both entities.
In the recent GA, the 101 people present ratified all of the Bylaws modified by the BoG into effect. The most contention during the assembly occurred during the discussion of the Clubs and Design Team Bylaws, in regards to the nonspecifics of the probation policy, which is currently being further detailed.
While the BoG and Council hold plenty of power, the true power lies in the constituents
The success of the GA completes a first stage in the life of the EUS with the BoG. The EUS has laid the foundation for a new EUS that will be a legal corporation and also much more efficient that previously imagined.
While the BoG and Council hold plenty of power, the true power lies in the constituents, so come out in full force to the next GA. Instead of barely making quorum of 100 people, lets push to get the 10% attendance quorum, because Council and BoG can look good on resumes, but the real power to make changes in your student society lies with you, the students.