CUS Constitutional Violations in the Current Board of Directors’ Term

 Although the current Board of Directors team has strived to serve the Sauder student body in the best way we know how, we’ve made many mistakes along the way. That is to say, we screw up. A lot.
With the 2018 CUS election fast approaching, it is important to make sure that the CUS remains accountable and transparent to voters. With this report, I hope to ensure that students are made aware of how those they have elected to control their student fees have performed and lived up to their promises this year.
The CUS Constitution differs from the Code of Procedure in that the Board of Directors cannot vote to overturn it, and it can only be changed through a student body-wide referendum. Violations of the Constitution are serious; they can undermine the legitimacy of decisions made by the CUS, and those responsible can potentially be asked by the student body or Board of Directors to resign. This report highlights the constitutional violations I have observed, and addresses some future actions we can take to fix these mistakes going forward.

Violation 1: Section 6.04 E

This section indicates that the Chairperson of the Board of Directors should have the same voting rights as any other member, and that in the event of a tie, a motion should be considered lost. In the current term, this policy has not been followed; the chairperson has been treated as a non-voting member. It is likely that this constitutional violation spans many previous Board of Directors’ terms.
Going forward, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors should vote (or abstain from voting) on every proposal. However, this mistake stands to undermine the decisions that the Board of Directors have made in the past. If an individual or external party were to question the authenticity of a past decision, the current Board of Directors may be required to grant a re-vote or ratify the existing decision via referendum.

Violation 2: Section 6.05 A (VI) AND Section 7.04 B (III)

One particular responsibility of the Executive Council is to provide written reports to the Board of Directors three times per year. In turn, the Board of Directors also has a responsibility to collect these reports. However, no such reports have been written by the Executive Council this year. Although it has not been a full year, logic would dictate that, in order to space out these reports so that they are useful, one or two reports should have already been submitted.
This term: There is no sense in submitting three reports between now and April 1st, 2018. Instead, the Executive Council may choose to submit one report to the Board of Directors at or before Midterm Break, selecting one person to be responsible for the report’s creation. This report can be brief, but should cover all major activity that has occurred in the past 4 months.
Future terms: The policy committee will look into outlining a specific timeline for these reports in the Code of Procedure. This way, the reports may be intentionally spaced out to maximize their usefulness and comprehensiveness to the Board of Directors.

Violation 3: Section 6.08 A (III)

This section outlines the responsibility of the chairperson to issue written notice to individual Board members who miss more than one Board of Directors meeting per term without notifying the appropriate person. In the current Board of Directors term, such notice should have been issued to AMS Rep Julian Hart.
This term: The chairperson should issue retroactive written notice for this case, even if these absences occurred early in the Board of Directors term.
Future terms: The Policy Committee will be exploring how to increase the accountability of elected CUS members by constructing a more formalized process for dealing with procedural and constitutional violations. In addition, the committee will be looking into adding a clause to the constitution that enables the Ombudsperson to recommend that a board member be removed from his/her position.

Violation 4: Section 6.08 A (VI)

This section outlines the responsibility of the chairperson to ensure that a copy of the CUS Constitution has been signed and dated by all current board members. This has not occurred in the current term.
This term: After the January 2018 referendum, the current Chairperson will be responsible for ensuring that an updated version of the constitution has been signed and dated by all current board members.

Violation 5: Section 8.01 (III)

This section outlines the responsibility of the President to ensure hold a minimum of three (3) office hours per week. This has not occurred in the current term, nor is there a record of this ever occurring in previous years.
Given the time-consuming nature of the role, the policy committee has expressed that it is not realistic or useful to expect this from the President. Instead, the policy committee is suggesting that this be replaced with a mandatory 1 hour minimum, as well as a clause that states that the President must make a reasonable effort to meet with any students in a timely manner upon request. This clause will be voted on in the upcoming referendum.

Violation 6: Section 14.01

This section outlines the timeline for the budgeting process. However, this timeline is dated, and does not reflect the budgeting timeline instituted by the AMS. In the current term, budgeting did not follow this timeline; our final budget was passed on July 22nd, despite the constitution mandating that it should be passed no later than July 15th.
Including such specific dates is no longer useful or practical. The policy committee is currently exploring how this section should be re-written to instead defer to the dates and deadlines put in place by the AMS.

Violation 7: Section 14.04 D

This section explains that the CUS budget shall be updated and distributed to the general membership of the CUS every 3 months after its approval. However, the current budget has not been updated since it was approved on July 22nd.
This term: An updated version of the budget that demonstrates our spending to date should be released as soon as the Finance Commission is able to collect and compile this information. It is essential that students be able to see where their money is going.
Future terms: Updating the budget periodically to inform the general membership of the CUS of our current monetary position and spending is crucial to ensuring that the organization is transparent and open to feedback. It is my recommendation that a procedure for updating the budget be standardized and streamlined so that budget updates can be made publically available with a frequency that exceeds the three-month minimum. Additionally, setting specific dates for such budget releases at the beginning of the Board of Directors’ term could help to increase consistency and accountability. This is something that can be looked into for future years.

Violation 8: Section 21.03 A

This section indicates that records of all past constitutions must be kept for continuity by the Office of the Ombudsperson. However, this record has not been kept; the earliest copy the Ombudsperson has on file is the current version from February 1st, 2015.
This term: The Ombudsperson will look for previous versions of the constitution in order to keep this record, approaching past and existing board members for more information.
Future terms: The Ombudsperson should be responsible for keeping a file with dated, printed versions of the Constitution in the Ombudsperson office, updating this file each time a new version is released.