Sarah Tower, President of SUNSCAD & Kelly Zwicker, VP External
We at SUNSCAD (the student union of NSCAD) held our first General Assemblies (GA) of the year on October 1st and November 5th, respectively. We usually only have an Annual General Meeting, in April, but this year we’ve decided to take a more inclusive, pro-active approach to the way our student union runs. General assemblies and general meetings are essentially the same thing. Both are official meetings where members of a union meet, vote, and discuss pertinent issues within their union. These meetings empower all members to take part in directing the actions of the union. This method also allows the union to make bigger decisions that can only be made by a democratic vote. Quorum for such meetings is 4% of our members, which we surpassed on October 1st and reached again on November 5th.
The decision to hold regular general assemblies at NSCAD was inspired by the actions of Quebecois students this past year. They cultivated the largest student action in Canada’s history, accompanied with a strike that well surpassed 100 days. Those actions took three years of practicing direct democracy in the form of holding general assemblies. We are not necessarily advocating for a strike. That is a decision to be made by you, a member of the Student Union of NSCAD. But we are inspired to practice a grassroots, bottom up approach to governance.
It’s impossible to describe in words how excited we are that so many people came out to the assembly on October 1st. To be able to have such an engaged discussion with so many students. To begin to have a real dialogue about the issues that matter most to students and directly affect us.
We voted non-confidence against the Sustainability Report* at our first GA, which is a huge step in letting the administration know where the students stand. The faculty voted non-confidence in the report this past May and we are now aligned with them and are taking steps to organize a new plan that takes into consideration the place of students, faculty and staff. This may not seem like much but we have the power to make great change and these are just the first steps.
We have committed to holding GAs every month, more specifically Monday evenings, but this is open to change if that doesn’t work for most people. As students you have the power to add items to the agenda, to put motions forward, to vote, and to have your voice heard in debates and discussions. As the executive of the student union, we want you to know that the student union works for you, you are our bosses and the GA’s are the place to give us our direction. We have just instated many new council representatives; find out who they are! Who represents your department, your constituency group? If you want to be more involved, want to be a rep, it’s not too late come talk to us. Let’s start more collectives, more clubs, more nights to get together to celebrate, plan, and organize. The power of direct democracy, of unions, of students, of artists, of people is strong. Let’s organize, let’s activate! Come to your GA, speak up and ask questions. We are so excited, we can’t even breathe! See you on DECEMBER 4th, 6PM; it’s a Tuesday this time!
Love love love,
* The Sustainability Report
Google: Framework for Sustainability NSCAD or Come by the SUNSCAD office we have a copy there. (If we’re not there write a note or shoot an e-mail; we will always be happy to set up time to chat.) xoxo