Graduate Student Society’s 2020 AGM features record attendance and by-law amendments

Members reviewed yearly financial statements, voted on proposed By-Law changes

Photo: Matt Mcdonald

Written by: Jess Dela Cruz

On February 11, the Graduate Student Society (GSS) held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in which members voted on changes to their by-laws — the society’s top governing documents.

The meeting began with an overview of the 2020 Agenda, and the Statement of Financial Position for the 2018/2019 year, in which the auditor stated, “in our opinion, the accompanying financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the society.”

After the AGM attendees reviewed and accepted the Statement of Financial Position, the proposed-By-Law changes were presented and voted on.

The first proposed amendment covered By-Law 1. The amendment intended to address the use of pronouns throughout the by-laws. Attendees voted in favour of amending the by-laws to include the gender-neutral pronoun “they and them,” rather than language that suggests any gender. 

Another proposed amendment was to Section 19, under By-Law VI, which covered the electoral terms of the GSS’s elected representatives. The by-law originally stipulated that “half of the Directors” would be elected in the months of February or March, and that half would be elected in October or November. This was amended to establish periods from January through April and September through December, respectively.

Luciana Fortes, Director of Internal Relations, explained that this was to have a longer campaign and nomination period, so as to increase the amount of time for members to submit their nominations.

Several other amendments revolved around procedures related to proceedings of Council meetings and wording changes to existing by-laws.

On the subject of attendance at the AGM, Matt McDonald, Director of External Relations, was pleased. 

With 211 graduate students present, this year’s Annual General Meeting had by far the highest attendance since the formation of the GSS in 2007.

“There was a real energy in the room and at the social held afterward, and along with the last election’s historically high voter turnout, we are getting a sense of how excited graduate students at SFU are to get involved,” he said. “We hope to build on this success in the future and continue to strengthen the graduate student community.”