Students vote on resolutions, devour free pizza
By Jake Wray, News Editor
The Aboriginal Gathering Place at the New Westminster campus was packed with students January 25 for the DSU’s annual general meeting.
The roomful of students voted on six bylaw amendments and saw a presentation of a report of the DSU’s activities for the 2016/2017 fiscal year—including a financial report—but did not take advantage of a question and answer period where they could have asked questions of the DSU board of directors. They did, however, take advantage of raffle prizes and free pizza during the denouement of the meeting.
Steven Beasley, executive director of the DSU, detailed the DSU’s ongoing struggles with the Canadian Federation of Students [CFS,] a national student organization.
“The national student organization has taken, let’s say, a bit of a nosedive since 2014,” he told the audience. “There’s been election-rigging at a number of the recent general meetings. They had a secret bank account to conduct off-books expenses, and then they had a fake process to fakely review that secret bank account.”
Beasley said the DSU took steps to expose the corruption and they were stonewalled. He said the DSU, along with at least 10 other student unions in British Columbia, are now in the process of withdrawing from the CFS.
Erik Allas, a partner at Tompkins Wozny LLP, the accounting firm that independently audited DSU financial reports for the 2016/2017 fiscal year, gave a small presentation about the financial reports at the annual general meeting. He said the DSU has net assets of $5.5 million and is in a solid financial position.
“A lot of [the $5.5 million] is tied up in your capital assets—the student union building,” he told the audience. “But overall it’s a very strong financial position. If you take the cash at the very top line [of the financial statement] and the term deposits and combine them, that’s $4.2 million of your total net assets of $5.5 million.”
Allas said DSU revenues were up slightly from the previous year, but expenditures were roughly the same as the previous year.
The six bylaw amendments—all of which carried unanimously—updated job descriptions for several DSU board positions, amended quorum requirements for general meetings and referendums, and made several other administrative changes.
Various members of the DSU board of directors presented sections of the DSU annual report, which detailed the students’ union’s activities for the past year. This included an update on numerous DSU advocacy campaigns, like the push for open education resources, an update on the DSU’s efforts to engage with key politicians at various levels of government, and the DSU’s relations with Douglas College. There were also updates about campus life, volunteering, clubs, internal affairs, services, and facilities. The full annual report is available on the DSU’s website.