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Overview of the 2014-15 TCSA annual general meeting

The following are briefs from the Trent Central Student Association Annual General Meeting that was held on Thursday, January 29, 2015.

TCSA President Braden Freer Chairs AGM. Photo by Jenny Fisher.
TCSA President Braden Freer Chairs AGM. Photo by Jenny Fisher.

Illegal Agenda Item Removed

Item nine, the by-law amendments were struck from the meeting agenda after TSCA Vice President Campaigns and Equity, Boykin Smith, explained that had been placed on the agenda illegally.

After the land acknowledgement, the annual general meeting opened with Smith, asking to amend the meeting agenda to remove the by-law amendments, as he said the proper procedure for proposing the amendments was not followed and therefore they were illegal.

“I am technically an unwilling co-writer of this motion,” he said as he went through and listed the proposed by-law changes as well as the proper procedures that had not been followed.

James Abbot, TCSA Queer Student Commissioner, advocated for keeping the item on the agenda and discussing items “a” through “t” when the meeting reached that point, but Smith explained that should the items be kept on the agenda, the TSCA would be operating illegally. “We’re breaking bylaws and we all, as members of this association, will be held accountable,” he said.

“Whatever we present to our membership should represent the interest of our membership rather than the few elite,” said TCSA Women’s Issues Commissioner Betty Wondimu, who then proceeded to explain that along with being illegal, that she disagreed with a number of the amendments. “The fact that anti-racism is taken out […] and was proposed as cultural affairs is very dangerous. […] In a miraculous situation that this goes on further, I plead to every membership to vote no to this.”

After looking over the policy, TSCA President and chair of the meeting, Braden Freer, announced the item would be removed from the agenda. “As Boykin is correct, it will be struck from the agenda,” he said.

For more on the proposed by-law changes that were struck from the agenda, see story by Jack Smye.

Boycott against Israel Rescinded

After extensive discussion and clarifications, time constraints required that the proposal to rescind the TSCA’s Boycott and Divestment against Israeli Apartheid be voted on and the majority called for the rescindment.

The discussion first began with a self-described satirical amendment to the policy that would have the TCSA boycotting over 170 additional countries in a similar fashion based on their ranking on the Human Development Index. After the amendment was not passed, the following motion was to make a special resolution to rescind the current policy.

The debate was emotional, with comments on one side comparing the policy to the anti-Semitism that lead to the Holocaust, and the other side stating that accepting Israel on cultural grounds is akin to accepting ISIS.

After extending the meeting by 25 minutes, the room had to be vacated for an upcoming class and a vote had to be made, whereupon the policy was rescinded.

Additional information regarding the rescindment of the policy can be found in the article by Ayesha Barmania.

TCSA Endorses Pan-Canadian Day of Action

It was voted that the TCSA will support the Revolutionary Student Movement’s Pan-Canadian Day of Action that is to be held on March 24.

Though the motion to have the TSCA email students was removed and the list of shared resources amended to remove room booking, members voted to have the TSCA endorse the event and share resources with the RSM.

“I want to speak in favour of this motion,” said Smith who is working on the Hike Starts Here Campaign to work towards tuition fees. “I just found out about it because I saw the material going around, and it’s definitely in line with our project.” He explained that the TSCA initiative is to promote discussion and rally students to discuss tuition fees and fee hikes.

An individual who spoke out against the motion felt that the TCSA should not support the campaign for political reasons. “We do not want to be associated with an organization that is hijacking this campaign for its own political agenda,” he said.

Another individual who also acknowledged his disagreement with the politics of the RMS spoke in favour of the motion as he felt it is the TCSA’s responsibility to “do everything they can to allow grassroots student movements to thrive.”

Amendments were made to the initial proposal as the TSCA does not control room bookings at Trent and they are not able to send emails of such a nature directly out to students.

TSCA Acknowledges Land

A special resolution to perform a land acknowledgement before each of the TCSA’s meetings and events was passed after a couple small changes to the wording. Now, each TCSA meeting will begin with “the Trent Central Student Association wishes to acknowledge the Anishnaabe and Mississauga peoples and their traditional territory, in which this meeting is taking place.”

While motivating the amendment, Freer discussed the land acknowledgement that opened the annual general meeting. “This policy would just formalize that [acknowledgement],” he said, “and bind future board and general meetings to having a land acknowledgement at the beginning of every board meeting, of every general meeting […] as well as major events of the association.

TCSA-TPSA Merger Accepted

The TCSA and Trent Part-Time Student Association merger proposal was voted through by a landslide, meaning that the TPSA will now hold a referendum this semester to gauge the support of their membership for a merger, and should they desire a merger a by-law amendment will be presented to the TCSA and will be voted on for official approval of the merger.

The conditions for the merger included having two part-time student positions added to the TCSA Board of Directors, the creation of a 10-hour a week part-time staff position who will look after part-time student affairs, and stipulations regarding access to the health and dental plans provided by the TCSA. The full document of conditions for the proposal can be found on the TCSA website.

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