Students raise concerns over SFSS Annual General Meeting

The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) met quorum for the first time in six years at their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on October 22, but not everyone was able to get into the venue, which quickly reached capacity.

With over 400 students in attendance and many more lined up outside of the SFU Theatre, the venue filled up shortly after the meeting began at 1:30 p.m.

As such, not everyone was able to cast their vote on two motions concerning the Build SFU Student Union Building (SUB) and Stadium projects.

Several students in line voiced their concerns to The Peak. “It’s refusing members of the clubs the right to vote,” said Jesse Kazemir, a second year engineering science student. “It sort of renders the people who weren’t let in powerless in terms of the vote. They may not have changed it, but still it’s denying them that right.”

Many students also left after the Build SFU motions, resulting in a loss of quorum for the remainder of the meeting. Consequently, only regular business could be conducted from that point onward.

“The SUB wasn’t the only thing I was planning to vote on. There were a lot of concerns that a few clubs wanted to bring up in light of the SFSS’ policy towards clubs,” said Sarah Kim Dao, a first year computing science student and SFU business alumna. Because an inquorate meeting is only able to discuss regular business, “a lot of the things that the clubs wanted to bring up weren’t brought up at all,” she said.

 Not everyone was able to cast their vote on two motions concerning the Build SFU Student Union Building (SUB) and Stadium projects.

At the SFSS council meeting on Wednesday, student representatives brought up their ideas for how to better accommodate students in the future. Suggestions included allowing students to vote online and planning for an overflow space with a live feed of the meeting to allow more students to follow the action.

Chardaye Bueckert, SFSS president, responded to council members’ concerns and explained that this was a problem that they had not anticipated: “In the past, for our AGM’s, it’s always been a huge struggle to achieve quorum of 250 students, and we booked the largest available inside space which was the SFU Theatre.”

She continued, “The only alternative that could have accommodated more students would have been Convocation Mall, but it was quite a cold and windy day so we made the call to hold the meeting inside, in efforts to try to attract more people, particularly in light of the fact that we hadn’t made quorum for many many years.”

Bueckert stated further that they did not turn any students away: “We just hit fire capacity and couldn’t let that many people in without it being incredibly unsafe [. . . and eventually] everybody who did wait did get into the meeting.”

The SFSS is considering what they can do to maintain these high levels of engagement and accommodate more students. “We do take these concerns very, very seriously and our hope is that going forward we will need a bigger space than the one that we had this year, because there’s going to be so much sustained interest,” Bueckert said.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I’m still amazed that the SFSS is subsidizing the building of university infrastructure (that it won’t own or control) with student fees, and justifying locking tens of thousands of future students into this contract on the vote of less than 500 people. Not to mention that the manager of this project is a buddy and past colleague of the people (Board of Directors) that hired him.