The CSU presents financials, elections changes and a contentious proposal

Matt Shipley (he/him) // Coordinating Editor
Eva Staub (she/her) // Illustrator

The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) Annual General Meeting occurred between 11:30 am and 1 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 17 in the Library Lounge. The AGM is where the CSU’s Board of Directors meets to present financial statements, adjust necessary bylaws, and report on their ongoing work for the CSU in the presence of the student body.

To ensure students are represented properly when voting happens, a quorum of 75 students is required to be able to hold the meeting. The meeting was called to order at 11:38 a.m. Mayumi Izumi, chairperson of the CSU Collectives Committee, was unanimously ratified as the meeting chair, and subsequently, the agenda was approved by the membership at 11:42 am.

The presentation of the CSU’s Audited Fiscal Statements began at 11:43 am, with Erik Allas of Tompkins Wozny LLP quoting that the audit went “very well.” This audit covered the fiscal year from June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023, and is therefore not necessarily representative of the CSU’s current financial status. The CSU’s current total fund balance (total current assets minus total liabilities) is $8,018,709, an increase of $1.2 million from last year. Of this total fund, over $5 million is currently allocated to the Student Union Building Fund, which will be put towards the construction of a new Student Union building in the coming years.

An overview of the CSU’s revenue and expenses can be found here.

Tompkins Wozny has been involved in auditing the CSU since the 2016 fiscal year. While the personnel auditing the CSU has changed every two or three years, the firm has remained the same, and the membership voted to continue the CSU’s partnership with Tompkins Wozny LLP into the 2023-24 fiscal year at 11:55 am.

Next, a memorandum brought forward by Marko Cosic, VP Finance & Services, recommended that the language be changed to allow a more select group of Board executives to act as bank signers for the CSU. The proposal cites the excessive number of signers as an internal control risk, and clarifies that most current signers do not participate in bank signings regardless. This motion passed at 12:01 pm.

The second of five proposals came from the recommendation of Karandeep Sanghera, CSU President. The proposal suggested that the Elections Administrator be a part of an up to three-person Arbitration Panel, which would be responsible for adjudicating appeals from the decisions of the Elections Administrator. This Arbitration Panel would act as a check to the Elections Administrator, where the Panel could vote to reject a decision by the Elections Administrator that it deems to be unreasonable. The members of the Adjudication Appeal must be separated from the CapU community by at least 12 months, therefore disqualifying current students and recent alumni. This motion was carried at 12:16 pm.

The third memorandum also came by the recommendation of Sanghera, proposing that the Elections Administrator be given the power to designate deputies to exercise the powers and duties of the Elections Administrator, except where prohibited by bylaw. This amendment was introduced mainly to ease the workload on the Elections Administrator in deciding on routine elections complaints. This motion passed at 12:19 pm.

The fourth proposal came by the recommendation of Cosic. It proposes that the CSU, instead of holding a fixed fiscal year from June 1 to May 31, be given the ability to set the organization’s fiscal year, given a two-thirds majority resolution. This motion would not immediately change the fiscal year — rather, it would grant the authority to the board to change it in the future. This motion was carried at 12:26 pm.

The fifth and final proposal was also introduced by Sanghera. It requests that staff draft a proposal to alter the structure of the Board of Directors by converting some or all of the at-large board members into roles that would assist in each vice-president’s executive portfolio areas. This would assign every vice-president to an associate vice-president to assist them in their day-to-day administration duties. These AVPs would be elected in general elections as normal, and they would not be forced to vote in alignment with their VPs. If nobody runs for a certain AVP position, the VP of the area in question could call for a nomination, asking the Board to appoint an AVP to the empty position. 

Within this proposal, an amendment was proposed regarding whether or not the AVPs should have to contest by-elections. This amendment recommends that VPs should not be able to appoint AVPs outside of the democratic by-election process. The amendment passed at 12:54 pm.

The main concern around the proposal was the opportunity for VPs to delegate their work to a lesser-paid member of the Board. There have already been issues with VPs not attending meetings and important functions, and the AVP change could allow VPs to get away with much more disconnection before action could be taken against them.

This motion, after a lengthy discussion period, was defeated at 1:07 pm.

The AGM ended with a brief presentation from current CSU executives, detailing the CSU’s work over the past year. Most notably, their work to eliminate the $500 course drop fee that international students must pay but domestic students do not.

The meeting agenda is available here. The meeting minutes will be available here once they are made public.

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