WUSA special general meeting votes to adopt new bylaws; General Election to follow


After failing to vote on a motion to adopt new bylaws at a Special General Meeting held in May, WUSA held another SGM on June 22, 2022, where the assembly voted to adopt new bylaws for the association to change the current governance structure. 

“The [WUSA] Board [of Directors] has been considering the governance changes since the fall [2021] term and has taken a lot of time to provide feedback for the new bylaws that are presented here to you. [Additionally], the Students’ Council has provided a lot of feedback to make sure that this is the best direction for the organizsation moving forward,” explained Abbie Simpson, chair of the WUSA Board of Directors and former WUSA President.

“We talked to a lot of students, a lot of members of student societies, a lot of people that are going to be impacted by these and it’s been quite a process to get here,” added Matthew Schwarze, WUSA Vice President of Operations and Finance. “I think it’s a really good direction moving forward. In no way is it perfect. In no way is anything perfect, and there’s always the ability to improve but I think this set us up in a really good way as we discussed, for quite a while at the last GM. It will resolve a lot of the current problems in our structure and be able to serve students better, operate more efficiently and overall just be a better WUSA for students.” 

There was some concern regarding the lack of at-large student consultation in the process of designing the new bylaws. It was noted that a major change without adequate student involvement could exacerbate existing feelings of apathy and aversion toward student government.

The motion carried with 103 members in favour and nine opposed.

The new bylaws will come into force on Sept. 1, 2022. Under the new governance system in these bylaws, the current WUSA governing bodies — Student Council and Board of Directors — will be replaced by a single board comprising 13 members: the President, one Vice-President, and 11 at-large Directors. 

Unlike the present Council, which has members elected to represent different faculty constituencies and the UW satellite campuses, the 11 directors on the new board will represent all UW students. 

Nominations for all three roles are now open until July 15, 2022. Consistent with the existing election procedures, the President and Vice-Pesident candidates need 100 UW undergraduate students to nominate them and the candidates for directors need 25 nominations.

Candidates who receive the required nominations will begin campaigning on July 17, and the voting period will run from July 26 to 28. The President and VP will be elected using Instant Runoff Voting, while the directors will be elected using the BC Single Transferable Vote method.

There is also a faculty guarantee for the directors, which ensures that the leading candidate from each faculty will be elected to the board, even if they are not amongst the top 11 candidates overall. 

The results of the elections are expected to be announced on Aug. 2. The newly elected team will be in office for eight months, starting on Sept. 1, while every future administration will hold office for a year.

Undergraduate UW students can register their candidature or nominate other candidates for any of the positions at vote.wusa.ca. Alternatively, they can ask the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) for a paper nomination package and return the package to the WUSA main office before the nomination period closes.

There was one other motion on the SGM agenda, asking WUSA to advocate to the UW Board of Governors and Senate to completely lift, and not just pause, the current covid mandates, only re-imposing them if required by governmental authorities, to the minimum extent required, and to stop collecting personal medical information from students, including the status of their COVID-19 vaccinations. This motion failed with 47 members in favour and 71 opposed.