January 22, 2007

McMaster Students Union "non-binding" Referendum

Get that?   The MSU is not actually allowing students to vote on our OUSA membership, only if we are going to pay for that membership.  The vote is being held with less than 90 days notice which means that we cannot actually pull out because a vote that could result in the MSU leaving OUSA requires 90 days notice to OUSA of the vote including the question that will be asked.

Basically, after doing nothing all year, the MSU Board of Directors is trying to make it look like they are doing something and care about student opinion.

I am still trying to figure out how the vote has no effect upon McMaster’s OUSA membership but could discontinue the fee.  Actually, I have a great idea for a referendum: “Are you in favour of paying over $300 dollars to the MSU?” this question shall not effect your MSU membership, health plan, or bus pass!  Come on MSU, you cannot separate the fee from the membership.

The following questions have been asked of the MSU Speaker:

REQUEST FOR RULINGS
(1) On November 26, 2006, the SRA acted under its constitutional authority to initiate a referendum to ask MSU members whether they want to continue paying the OUSA membership fee. As a result of the adoption of that motion, the Election Committee is required to administer the referendum concurrent with the 2007 MSU presidential election. The MSU Constitution states that referenda results are binding on the SRA. Would a vote by students to discontinue paying OUSA fees require the SRA to take whatever steps are necessary to withdraw from OUSA at the earliest opportunity?

(2) OUSA bylaws and the OUSA-MSU membership agreement require 90-days notice (by Registered Mail) of a membership withdrawal vote. The MSU president told the SRA on November 26 that the referendum was on whether to continue the fee, not about withdrawing from OUSA. Given that payment of fees are a condition of OUSA membership, can a decision about paying fees be realistically separated from the consequence (i.e. membership withdrawal)?


(3) The MSU joined OUSA by resolution of the SRA in January 2000. It would be in order for a motion to withdraw from OUSA to be held at the SRA. As a contingency measure, would it be in order to serve 90 days notice to OUSA (by Registered Mail) of an SRA vote (exact motion wording, date, time, and place of the vote), so that the SRA would have the OPTION to withdraw by the end of the fiscal year IF the MSU membership so directed in the referendum?

(4) If failure to serve notice and execute a withdrawal motion by a specified deadline resulted in the MSU having to pay full OUSA membership fees in 2007-2008, would the SRA and the MSU’s officers have failed in their constitutional responsibility to give timely effect to a binding resolution from a MSU membership referendum?