Several months of work culminated in the defeat of the long discussed restructuring of the Mount Allison Students’ Union’s (MASU) Executive, failing in a secret ballot. The proposal failed despite repeated assertions by the executive, and the vast majority of councillors, that such a restructuring is necessary to improve the functioning of the executive and the MASU as a whole.
During the Dec. 5 council meeting, which ran nearly five hours, the lengthy and contentious debate ended in a thirteen to eleven vote. When attempting to change a union bylaw, a two-thirds majority is necessary.
This is in contrast with an initial vote on Nov. 18 that seemed to approve the restructure, which required only a fifty plus one per cent approval, sixteen to nine. This vote approved the restructuring document, but no binding bylaw changes.
Particularly contentious were provisions under the restructure for the president and vice-president executive to run on a single electoral slate. The choice to combine the positions of Shinerama chair and orientation chair in with the administrative positions raised the ire of several of the positions’ past occupants, and was a major sticking point throughout the process.
The executive appeared willing to make some concessions about specifics of the restructure in order to give the bylaw amendments the best possible chance of passing. At one point in the Dec. 5 meeting, President Melissa O’Rourke motioned to change the name of the vice-president executive to vice-president administration, and to abolish the joint slate and hire the position.
The slate was one of the few specific criticisms levelled at the restructuring bid, as the majority of the criticism was directed instead at the process surrounding the bid.
The proposed restructure would also have seen the number of vice-presidents cut from six to four, while increasing the importance and number of high-level staff members.
In a Jan. 10 interview, O’Rourke said, “I think council has made it very clear that they want to see this happen, but they don’t necessarily know how they want to go about it.”
A list of comments on the restructure from all councillors can be found in the Jan. 13 council package on the MASU website. The document suggests some councillors are asking for a revote, others want to revisit specific proposals, while some say the entire thing is “a waste of time.”