At General Assembly on February 7th 2016, a variety of amendments to the Bishop's University Students' Representative Council Constitution were presented. As per the procedure of amending the constitution, these changes must be presented two weeks before any voting on the changes can take place. We want to ensure open and collaborative communication on this process by sharing these amendments with you today, in the spirit of transparency with these decisions. An outline of these changes and amendments can be found at the link below.
These changes are not set in stone, and will be reviewed and revised at the next meeting taking place on Sunday, February 21st, at 6pm, in McGreer 100. Students are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting or share their feedback and concerns with members of the General Assembly as listed on our contact page.
Why are these amendments being made?
Over the course of a three-month internal review process in the Fall 2015 semester, a committee of SRC members worked to evaluate the SRC's structure in an effort to improve our efficiency, productivity, inclusivity, legitimacy, transparency, and overall representation of Bishop's students. Following a report from this committee, the following conclusion was made:
In terms of representation, the current structure sees that elected representative members of the SRC General Assembly are expected to take on the role of day-to-day operations and project management, working under the direction of their respective Vice President. The committee established that this dynamic works to the detriment of the representatives, because of the power imbalance created between the executive committee and the GA. All positions should have equal representative status and have as much input in the operations or functions and activities as any other. Representatives should not be required to take direction from executives, rather work in a representative capacity alongside them.
An effective SRC structure must allow for open collaboration between students and their representatives while also continuing to provide the services and events that students expect. Additionally, all of this must be done while maintaining the number of elected students that sit at the General Assembly. This is why the above amendments have been proposed. For more information about the context of this decision, we recommend that students read the report from the Internal Review Committee, which lists the specific positions being proposed.
What do these amendments mean?
There are thirteen motions to amend the constitution presented in the document above. These motions have three primary purposes: to remove and modify certain current positions, to add new representative positions, and to change language throughout the Constitution to reflect these new positions. Please note that this post is intended only to help clarify the amendments. All official modifications are outline in the proposal.
Before adding new representative positions, the current positions (Student Event Coordinator and Student Affairs Representative) must be removed. But don't worry! The responsibilities of the SECs and SARs will be distributed among the new positions as described in the Internal Review report (linked above). Additionally, there is a motion to remove the General Assembly voting rights of hired executives.
The proposal then outlines a vision for the new representative positions to be created, such as an Equity Officer, an Environmental Sustainability Officer, a Health & Wellness Officer, among others. A description of the roles and responsibilities of each of these positions is presented in the appendices of the document. It is important to note that these positions are not final and may still be modified based on student feedback.
Finally, the creation of these new positions will require other small changes to be made throughout the constitution, such as updating the composition of the General Assembly.
How will these changes affect students?
The overall purpose of the proposed amendments are to improve two-way communication with the student body and to increase student representation at our University. If these amendments are accepted, students will see more events and opportunities that allow them to bring forward ideas and suggestions for the SRC executive's portfolios. University committees and the SRC General Assembly will also be more representative of the variety of student voices.
If you have any questions about the amendments, the process, or anything else pertaining to the SRC, we strongly encourage you to reach out to any of the executives through our contact page.