Failure to hold quorum at GM forces Feds board to return to closed meetings

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Feds&rsquo; Board of Directors (BoD) meetings are being closed to students again after quorum was lost at the March general meeting (GM), preventing the general membership from voting on the motion that proposed to ratify board&rsquo;s decision to reopen.</p>

In a Dec. 16, 2014 meeting — which lasted for about six hours — board voted 8-0 in favour of reopening BoD meetings. However, the motion that passed to open board meetings in December specifically required ratification at the March GM in order for BoD meetings to remain open past the GM.

“Since that motion did not get ratified in March, the motion in December is as if it never happened now, so it’s now reverted back to closed,” Feds president Chris Lolas said. The board has met three times since the March GM, all closed to the public.

Board chose to have their December decision ratified at the GM because their decision to reopen board meetings came just two months after the same motion failed at the October annual general meeting.

“We felt that we’re kind of, potentially, worried about setting a precedent as a board going back on a decision of a general meeting,” Lolas said. “So we [decided to] open it now, so that it doesn’t appear we’re going against a general meeting, we’re going to require that the general meeting give the OK on this.”

Whether or not it would have been more effective to place the motion to ratify earlier on in the GM — when Feds held quorum — is one up for debate. However, Lolas — chair of the board at the time of the GM — argued there is no way of predicting when and during what motion quorum could be lost.

“Everybody wants their thing to happen as early as possible at the GM. There is no way to predict that we’re going to lose quorum,” Lolas said. “So the question is: do we push that thing up earlier and then lose quorum for something else? Something has to go first, something has to go last, and something has to go in the middle.”

In several occasions in the past few years, quorum has been lost after the contentious issues and/or motions on the agenda were discussed and voted on.

If board had the chance to go back, Lolas said they would probably look to change the wording of the motion.

“Going back maybe we would have put in the wording in December, for that contingency where it doesn’t pass or fail, it would stay open until the next general meeting,” Lolas said. “In this case, the wording ended up being so specific it ended up having to be ratified at the March GM … Our hands were pretty tied there, the wording was pretty specific.”

When asked what Feds could have done better to communicate the closure of BoD meetings, he said, “I have to go back and check what communication was done. There is nothing I can comment on what I would have done differently because I don’t really know which way they went.

“It’s just the shuffle  of transitioning the year. Another part I would say is that this is obviously something that’s been going on for a while now. It’s a discussion that the new board is going to have. If board makes a decision, if they choose to, then we will just communicate that decision and give more closure to the whole thing.”

Lolas — who has never publicly expressed whether or not he supports open board meetings, despite voting in favour of the motion in December — said he would not actively try to push the new board towards one side of the issue.

“Especially now that I’m president, I’m not going to be pushing either way on this. This is a decision of the board, and I report to the board,” Lolas, who is a voting member of BoD, said.

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