Make Sure Your Voice is Heard!

Time is running out! AUSU’s Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, at 5:30 MST. Have you registered yet? If not, drop everything?yes, even this magazine?and e-mail ausu@ausu.org to register. Make sure your voice is heard.

AUSU’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is your opportunity to hear what student council has been doing on your behalf for the past year. The AUSU 2015 Annual Report will be formally presented at the meeting. This report includes highlights of student union activity over the past year, as well as the audited financial statements. Since AUSU is funded with your money, this is your chance to learn how It’s being spent.

The AGM is also your opportunity to make your voice heard. Unlike the monthly regular council meetings, in which student members may listen but not speak, all members have the right to make their voice heard at the AGM. Members also have the right to vote on any motion presented at the AGM.

This year, there are two motions on the meeting notice which are of special interest?they’re even called special. One “Special Resolution Motion” proposes replacing “Section 7.5 with Writer in Residence.” Although AUSU council has not provided any information on this motion, it appears to propose that The Voice Magazine get permanently silenced. The second “Special Resolution Motion” proposes a clarification on “Membership Standing.” Again, council is holding its cards close to its chest on this one. [r](Update: since time of writing, AUSU council agreed to send out information on these two special resolutions, but only to students who have registered to attend the AGM.)[er]

In past years, few students have bothered to attend the AGM, which creates a troubling situation. Having only a few students in attendance effectively gives AUSU councillors the majority vote on any resolution. No elected body should have the ability to rubber-stamp their own decisions. As an AU undergraduate student, your presence is required to provide necessary oversight to council’s actions.

Attending the AGM is important. It’s also easy and convenient. If You’re an AU student registered in at least one undergraduate course, you qualify as a member of AUSU. Registering for the meeting is simple: send an e-mail to ausu@ausu.org to let them know you’d like to attend; include your full name and AU student number in the e-mail. AUSU will e-mail you instructions on how to connect to the meeting. The meeting is held by teleconference: you simply phone in using the toll-free number and passcode provided by AUSU. (You can also connect online if you have speakers and a microphone on your computer.) don’t forget to factor in any time-zone difference.

Attending the AUSU AGM won’t take up much of your time: the 2013 and 2014 AGMs were 45 and 30 minutes, respectively. That’s not much time to invest to make sure AUSU council is indeed looking after your interests.

If you won’t speak for yourself at the AGM, who will? don’t let your voice be silenced.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario

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