By Ashley Quinton
The Lance – News and Politics Writer
Despite canvassing the CAW Students’ Centre to recruit attendees, the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance failed to get quorum at its Special General Meeting (SGM) Tuesday night.
The SGM was called to approve proposed bylaw amendments. The amendments had gone through two readings at meetings of the UWSA Board but on Tuesday only 72 full-time undergraduates were in attendance. Quorum is 75.
Matthew Dunlop, UWSA Board Facilitator, waited 45 minutes to call order but was forced to adjourn the meeting.
Meanwhile, another issue arose. Maggie McAuley, a fourth-year Philosophy student attended the SGM to protest that the UWSA is not holding an all-candidates’ debate in the current by-election campaign. So far McAuley has around 200 signatures on a petition calling for a debate.
McAuley says she reached out to the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) asking permission to hold a debate and received an e-mail from the CRO stating, “candidates have expressed to me in confidence that they are not willing to do a debate, and it is unfair for us to hold an event for one side to be heard, so we will not be having such events.”
Flyers McAuley was handing out contained a copy of the e-mail. That got her tossed out of the meeting she says because “they claimed it was an election free zone and because this poster says the word election, which it doesn’t, it can’t be in there.”
She accuses UWSA General Manager Maria Hamilton of “crumpling up our papers, taking them off the seats and demanding students hand them to her if they had them in their hands.” That didn’t work says McCauley, “some students just put them in their pocket for later.”
Hamilton responded that “the flyers could be handed out in the building like I told Maggie. But if you came into the HUM for the SGM, it point-blank states on the front of the door this is an election-free zone. That particular topic was pertaining to the election. I asked her not to hand them out in there and go away from the door and I told her point-blank you are more than welcome to say whatever you want to say.”
Hamilton says she welcomes free speech, “you have a right to your opinion, but it cannot be done in this area as the sign states right here.”
The idea of an all-candidates’ debate was floated at the all candidates meeting, according to Hamilton, but was not agreed upon. A debate would fall under the CRO’s jurisdiction, however.
McAuley wants to see the election policy changed so that candidates running in an election are required to attend an all-candidates’ debate.
As for the SGM, a date for another one will be discussed at the next UWSA Board meeting this Thursday. The proposed date will be voted on by the Board.
“We have to adhere to the UWSA bylaws in terms of holding another meeting,” says Dunlop. That means the UWSA Board approves a date for the next SGM and membership must be given at least 17-days’ notice of the meeting.
Editor’s note: The Lance held a live presidential Q & A online Tuesday. A UWSA all-candidates debate has not happened.
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