New bylaws that end executive elections and bring significant changes to the governance of IGNITE were approved by the Board of Directors during its secretive September gathering, meeting minutes finally published online revealed on Wednesday.
Meeting minutes were posted for just the May and September meetings. They would have been approved at the meeting after they were recorded if standard protocol was followed, but it is unclear why the student union delayed posting the records for several months or weeks.
The Board approved a new set of bylaws that will also need to be passed by members of the student union — all students — at January’s Special Meeting of the Members, an annual plenary that usually takes place in the fall.
It was delayed this year so that IGNITE could prepare and inform students, officials said during a press briefing on Oct. 4, when reporters first heard the news of the student union’s new, more corporate direction.
If these bylaws are not passed by the student body, it is unclear what would occur next, however, if passed by quorum, usually 50 students, than these bylaws would come into effect immediately.
The September meeting minutes reveal that the new bylaw amendments, which include ending executive elections and new classifications for at-large members of the student union, were moved by Asiya Bashir Awan and carried by Eden Tavares. It is unclear if there was a formal vote.
Also included in this set of bylaws change that IGNITE did not highlight during the press briefing or the Tuesday press release was a significant update: the Board will be able to unilaterally amend bylaws that will go into effect immediately on the “date of resolution”.
The Board-approved amendments can later be unapproved at a Special Meeting but it gives the directors significantly more power to make decisions at meetings that are largely private. Students are supposed to be allowed to attend but no locations have been posted since September.
Other highlights of the amendments to the bylaws of IGNITE, which are compiled in the Constitution, included the use of president term for the board chairperson.
It is unclear if this means the chair of the Board, who is elected amongst the directors every year, will now be called “president” or if the length of time the current president serves in office will now be utilized for the chair, who already serves the same amount of time as the student president of IGNITE.
Another amendment highlighted that was not included in Tuesday’s announcement was that the “execution of documents” will now be “overseen” by the executive director, the highest-level staff member of the student union.
Annual Meetings of the Members, which refer to both the Special Meetings and the Annual General Meetings, will now include “an updated list of required agenda items”, the meeting minutes say.
IGNITE is the student union representing full and part-time students enrolled at Humber College campuses and the University of Guelph-Humber. It advocates on behalf of students over a variety of items, runs events throughout the year and manages a multi-million dollar budget backed by student fees, some of which are optional.