by Travis Fauteux
News Editor – The Lance
Restructuring is in the works for the UWSA.
The University of Windsor Student Alliance (UWSA) is seeking help from third party consultants to restructure itself in time for a fall election.
After all UWSA executive and board of directors positions were left vacant in April’s general election, the organization is seeking help from an external company to rewrite its governance documents before filling those positions again.
Clayton Smith, dean of students at the University, has been working with the UWSA over the summer and said the process is long.
“The UWSA has made arrangements for help in bringing their by-laws up to standard,” said Clayton Smith, dean of students at the University, who has been working with the UWSA over the summer. “The Ontario Corporations Act … requires certain things. The by-laws that [they] had in place weren’t completely in sync.”
A new board of directors was formed over the summer from within the organization, however the board is not being recognized by the University of Windsor.
“Officially, the board of directors ceased to exist in terms of the people who were on the board at the end of their term, which expired at the end of the school year,” said Smith. “The UWSA repopulated that board with available folks who had an interested in serving on the board … However, they were not elected and there is disagreement as to whether or not the corporation the UWSA has authority to do that.”
Nicole Morrell, general manager for the UWSA, said the board of the directors this year is almost identical to the one that was standing prior to the elections. However, there has been one director added who had previous sat on council, which is allowed under UWSA by-laws according to Morrell.
“Under the [Ontario] Corporations Act, they allow a board to remain seated until a new board is elected,” said Morrell. “So that’s what we did.”
University president Alan Wildeman has consulted with past UWSA presidents to determine what changes should be brought to UWSA by-laws to ensure proper governance. He said they gave good feedback as to what has changed and worked in the past. The key is explaining all of this to students.
“I met with past presidents of the UWSA going back about a decade and had a really good discussion,” said Wildeman, “just to get their perspectives on what has happened to the UWSA over the years, how it has changed, and how it has evolved.”
“I think the truth is that a lot of students don’t know what to expect come the fall,” said Wildeman, “and I think there needs to be some clear communication about what is going to happen and that’s what we’re trying to get to right now … The question is: how quickly can students get to the point where they feel they can confidently run elections that will be representative and engaging?”
Morrell said the UWSA is “extremely excited for the 2014-2015 year” and “can’t wait to get back to servicing students this fall.”
An election this October is likely if the organization can commit to restructuring and earning back the trust of its members.
Smith said he is “impressed” at the progress made over the summer and he expects “the UWSA will be an active student leadership body going forward.”