SFSS AGM to decide Student Union Building fate

Courtesy Build SFU

The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) will hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM) this Wednesday, October 22, at which students in attendance will decide the immediate future of the Build SFU Student Union Building.

In addition to the usual society business handled at the AGM, the membership will vote on two questions related to the Student Union Building and stadium projects.

The first is a special resolution that, if passed, will allow the society to pursue a loan to proceed with the construction of the Student Union Building. The second is an addition to the bylaws that will ensure that the Build SFU levy, which will be used to pay back any loan related to the project, will not be cancelled before the loan is repaid.

Marc Fontaine, Build SFU general manager, explained the significance of this vote to The Peak: “This AGM is particularly important because the Build SFU project won’t continue on schedule if undergrad students don’t attend the AGM to vote to allow the student society to take out the loan to build the building and to amend the bylaws to add a new bylaw.”

He continued, “What’s coming at the AGM is completely expected and it’s just the next step in the project. The student society and the Society Act of BC have rules saying that societies need to ask their members — in this case undergraduate students — to approve loans.”

Fontaine also spoke to the bylaw addition: “We have a source of revenue to pay for the building, and that’s the Build SFU levy that students voted on and approved, but we need to make sure that students won’t take back that money to pay for the building before the building is paid off.

“So it’s pretty simple: it’s just the addition of the bylaw to give the banks more comfort that we will repay the loan, and that we won’t get a loan, build the building, and then stop paying the loan.”

In order to pass these questions, the SFSS must achieve quorum of 250, which is the minimum number of members needed at a meeting to conduct business. The SFSS speculates that the last time they made quorum at at an AGM was in 2008.

Zied Masmoudi, SFSS VP student services, emphasized that this AGM is markedly different from those held during the past few years. He explained, “The main difference is the agenda items. Over the last couple years, we’ve only had the standard agenda items — approval of minutes, going over the annual report, [and so on]  — it’s been pretty standard, nothing really exciting.

“This year we have more high-level decisions on the agenda, and that’s why it’s really important to have quorum this year, and that’s why it’s really important for SFU students to come out and to make a difference.”

If the questions are passed on Wednesday, the SFSS will be able to return to the banks that have made offers and sign off on those offers, meaning that construction can begin on time in April 2015.

If the questions are not passed or if the meeting fails to meet quorum, Fontaine expects that the SFSS would host a Special General Meeting in January, at which they would ask the same questions of students.

“There isn’t much benefit in waiting until January — there’s actually some disadvantage in that the project will be delayed and the opening date will be delayed, and there will be some cost implications,” Fontaine said.

The AGM will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the SFU Theatre on Burnaby campus, and, according to Masmoudi, will provide students with “a unique opportunity to make a difference and make decisions that will affect both the student experience and the future of this campus.”