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DSU to discuss electing finance position tonight

Councillor says it’s undemocratic for the DSU’s Vice President of Finance and Operations to be appointed, rather than elected

At least 75 DSU members must show up to the GM  for the VPFO motion to be voted on. An empty room, then, would be unfortunate. (Photo by Paola Tolentino)
At least 75 DSU members must show up to the GM for the VPFO motion to be voted on. An empty room, then, would be unfortunate. (Photo by Paola Tolentino)

The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) will host a general meeting tonight to vote on whether its Vice President of Finance and Operations (VPFO) position should be elected, rather than appointed.

At the DSU council meeting of Oct. 22, Board of Governors rep JD Hutton announced the reasons why he supports the election of the VPFO position.

“Rather than getting elected by your peers based on your vision, skills and popular support,” said Hutton, “instead you try to penetrate what might be perceived as a small clique of insiders, where positions can only be secured through personal connections.”

Hutton was the one to raise the issue of electing the VPFO at council this year.

In the past, students applied for the VPFO position, and a nominating committee chose certain applicants to go through one to two rounds of interviews.

The interviews consisted of questions like: “What motives your most success performance?” “What is your previous supervisor’s name, and what would she say about you?”

There was a “lightning round” after these questions to ask technical questions, such as explaining what a budget deficit is and how it can be balanced, or explaining capital gains.

“I have taken a first year economics course,” Hutton said at the Oct. 22 DSU meeting. “I could be the VPFO.”
He added that not electing a VPFO is undemocratic.

Dalhousie Arts and Social Sciences Society council rep Kaitlynn Lowe distributed a document to council last year when she was the society’s VP. It showed that Dalhousie is the only U15 and the only school of its size that doesn’t elect its VPFO.

“Controlling the purse strings of the union is not a neutral, technical position – it does have political weight,” Hutton said at the Oct. 22 meeting. “And students should be able to decide who has that political power.”

Among other responsibilities, the VPFO administrates the DSU’s budget of over $2,300,000.

The general meeting’s agenda also includes items that may come up for discussion. These include the DSU’s possible divestment from the fossil fuel industry, guidelines for levy questions and society elections.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in room 303 of the Student Union Building. A quorum of 75 DSU members in attendance is necessary for the VPFO motion to be voted on by council.

The exact wording of the constitutional amendment to be voted on tonight may be found on DSU.ca.

Sabina Wex
Sabina Wex
Sabina is the Gazette's Managing Editor. Email Sabina at managing@dalgazette.com.
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