CSU to allow Senate representatives to run for executive positions

Fiduciary duties don’t impede on duties towards the two governing bodies

Christine Beyleveldt // News Editor

The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) presented two special resolutions to the student body at their semi-annual general meeting on March 1. One of these resolutions was an amendment to a bylaw formerly restricting student Senate and Board of Governors representatives from running for executive positions to allow student Senate representatives to run in elections.

Global and Community Studies Faculty Representative Anna Rempel, explained that the governance committee, which she also chairs for the CSU, reviewed the bylaw and came to the conclusion that student Senate representatives do not actually have a fiduciary duty to the University. This previously prevented them from running for executive positions. Unlike Board of Governors representatives, Senate representatives aren’t required to sign an oath of office.

“It was determined that there really shouldn’t be [a problem] because as student Senate reps they are supposed to be representing the interests of their constituents, which is the student body anyway, and so they’re really just acting on behalf of that group in either position,” said Rempel.

A bicameral body made up of the Senate and Board of Governors governs CapU. The Senate makes decisions on matters of policy regarding students’ standing with the institution. The Board of Governors seeks advice from the Senate on several matters, but is mainly responsible for managing the affairs of the University and setting policies. “I represent students in that field of operations, so when academic changes are coming about or new programs are being implemented they have a student voice in that,” Senate representative Megan Fretz explained.

Since student Senate representatives are not mandated to act in the best interests of Capilano University and make decisions accordingly, decisions which in some cases could counter the CSU’s own position, Rempel sees no reason why they should not be allowed to run for executive positions. “The concern originally when the organization was going through quite a few major procedural changes was that by being representatives on university governing bodies there was going to be a difficulty with a fiduciary duty to the University, but if they were going to be a VP there would be a fiduciary duty to the organization and to the members,” she said.

The bylaw was originally introduced to avoid conflicting interests. However, student Board of Governor representatives still have a fiduciary duty to the University and they will not be able to run for executive positions to avoid creating a scenario in which conflict of interest could arise.

Any student Senate representatives who would run in the CSU elections for an executive position would be able to keep their seat on Senate. However, they would not receive two votes on the CSU’s own Board of Directors, because they offer positions for representatives of the Senate and Board of Governors.

When the motion was presented at the CSU’s semi-annual general meeting, it was carried unanimously without any questions from the student body.

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