BUSAC Preview for Sept 22, 2014: BUSR update, Student Life Fee, and motion to Remove CASA

The fourth meeting of the Brock University Students Administrative Council (BUSAC) for 2014/15 is Wednesday, September 24 at 7 p.m. in the 13th floor council chamber. Open Question Period is at the beginning of the meeting.

The agenda says that BUSU President Roland Erman will provide an update about BUSR (Brock University Students Radio), after he was tasked last week to approach Brock radio in an effort to find a path to “reconciliation” between BUSU and BUSR. There is no PowerPoint presentation included in the pre-council email, so it’s unclear what his presentation will cover. His presidents report he writes, “I will save my BUSR news for BUSAC.”

Last week’s tabled motion to send the Student Life Fee (SLF) for review will be back. Current VP Student Services who formerly was on the campaign which brought SLF into existence, last week said he was confident the fee is being spent well but wants to put to rest any concerns that it is not. He said the SLF committee, created late last year by request of the admin, has not met more than twice. Last year on POV Radio, then-president Cooper Millard spoke about the committee and remarked, “One executive [on the committee] does mean you have oversight” For more information about SLF, listen to last year’s feature interview the admin.

CASA — the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations — will begin to face scrutiny this week as councilor Tyler Evans is motioning to put the organization to referendum. Some controversy exists around this fee because it was never approved by referendum. The issue was raised by last year’s VP University Affairs Roland Erman at the BUSU Fall AGM, which suggested a new referendum could be coming. Last year on POV Radio, then-senator Kevin Wilson noted that CASA is being paid for out of BUSU Division 1 after past referendums failed to achieve quorum. This year, Erman became BUSU president and was asked “Will CASA ever go to referendum?” Erman said, “It’s something that we can look in to and consider. It’s something last year that I was looking into and considering doing — referendums were coming up a lot last year. I felt like it was really the place to do that last year, but certainly I can re-evaluate and sit down, and get back to you with that further.”

Club funding: Catholic Students Association, $1550

The email sent out to councilors today did not include a report from the VPFA, VPSS, VPEA or General Manager. Probably because it was Brock homecoming.

Brock Press randomly prints “Show Us Your Dicks” poster


Last Thursday evening, after a photo circulated on mainstream media of a group of off-campus Brock bros with a sign that read, “Honk If You’re Dropping Off Your Daughter”, a group of young women confronted motorists with signs of their own: One of signs said, “Show us your dicks (Chop! chop!)” with a large illustration of a pair of scissors. The image was then posted to Rose DV’s Facebook page, and was supported and defended by those close to the feminism community.

One wrote, “I wish they had invited me, and more women across Brock who feel the same threats when we walk around at night or participate in the drinking culture (that our school embraces so fondly) to join them. More voices need to start speaking up about what is going on here.. I think here is a lot of silencing going on when it comes to sexual assault on Canadian campuses. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Plus the threat of having your dick cut off is very much less real than the threat these men posed by proudly holding this sign.”

However, this “counter action” was viewed by some with derision and disdain because its message is blatantly violent. The image was posted to Overheard At Brock. Predictably, one comment said That escalated quickly, and another wrote, “Honk if you don’t want violence threatened against men at Brock.”

A commenter wrote, “I hope Brock reacted the same with these chicks as they did with those guys. Actually these girls are actually threatening violence so i hope they get an even stiffer punishment.”

That question — was there an intervention from security upon the women — was why I followed-up with Brock University.

When I asked via email, Brock University communications rep Jeff Sinibaldi told The BUG and BrockTV, “This second incident was brought to the attention of Brock’s Campus Security and they responded immediately a little after 7 p.m. last Thursday night (Sept. 4). The one sign you mention was offensive and, when asked by Campus Security to do so, the individuals immediately took it down and we’re co-operative. They then peacefully remained for about 40 minutes.”

I made the inquiry at the time of the incident, but decided then not proceed with publishing a story then. I saw no value in discussing nor critiquing the image, although I did prepare a few paragraphs for a wouldbe editorial which asked “What world exists between these two images?” I didn’t know how to answer the question, and I still don’t, so I shelved the piece.

The only reason I’m publishing anything about it now is because the image re-appeared again this week in The Brock Press, and in a very problematic way.

Show Us Your Dicks (Chop Chop)

Where I prepared to publish the image — with permission of the photographer — and did research with the University to find out the rest of the story and then decided it was best for me not to publish it … The Brock Press published the image without permission, without research, and without providing any context as to what the image contains.

In fact, it was inserted into a Letter to the Editor which had nothing at all to do with the image itself. The letter talks about how men shouldn’t degrade sex by pursuing it as if it were a “win”. It’s about intimacy, respect and love, and did not even mention the image which is included with it.

Actually, the other story on the page which highlighted “ways Brock is keeping you safe”, did mention the reaction, in passing.

The author of the Letter to the Editor, Memin Boyacioglu posted to his Facebook

“I did not send that photo of the counter-protest with my article. I think it is very inappropriate of Brock Press to use that photo with my article without asking permission either from me or more importantly the women in the photo. I think it also defeats my purpose of being accessible and not freaking people out. I’m not happy with it.”

He told me, “I did not [contact Brock Press] but I talked to Rose. In fact she messaged me to ask if I submitted the photo myself. She said that she was going to complain so I didn’t contact them. It’s more offensive to her (and to the other two women on the photo) than it is to me. Their photo is being used without their permission after all.”

That Letter to the Editor would have been much better served by something like this.

So, what does it mean? At bare minimum, it’s shows a level of inexperience and — worse — thoughtlessness with the Layout Editor and management of the Brock Press. What in the world are they doing printing such a charged image without any thought for its significance? #BrockPressProblems

There’s nothing wrong with printing the image. There’s something wrong with not telling us the rest of the story.  #ThatsWhyGadfly


Exhibit A: “Honk If You’re Droppin’ Off Your Daughter”



Exhibit B: “Show Us Your Dicks (Chop Chop!)”

Show Us Your Dicks (Chop Chop!)

* Image used by The BUG with permission of the photographer. It was shared to Facebook, but the post was subsequently deleted or removed from public privacy settings, but I grabbed a screen shot before that. The woman on the left shared the image with the following message:


FAIL SAFE: The Speaker Explains Power Of Quorum AGM

Cue the Snap, because you’ve got the power. Yes, I just made a reference as old as the average Brock student. Great song to read this article to.

So it’s that (bi-annual) time of year, and this time BUSU is ahead of the curve on promoting it’s Annual General meeting. (Thursday, October 9, 5 p.m. in TH325)

In past years, observers have decried BUSU’s efforts as constitution-breaking afterthoughts, but we can’t say that about this year, as early in September they’ve got a Facebook event page. And, another new development, they promise an agenda, which is another Gadfly win.

But what CAN the AGM even do?

Well, as much as I’ve read the blasted document a billion times, I can’t say I’m the ultimate authority in interpreting it. That would be BUSAC speaker, Chris Ventura, who is the ultimate authority in legislative interpretation. I emailed that guy for clarification, and I even threw around some sample motions to see if they would or would not be possible. He graciously provided me with the insights afforded by his position.

He says that other student unions’ AGM attendance is “low across the board” — unless there is a scandal. He notes my repeated argument of it being a venue for “direct democracy” but cautions that 2% is far less meaingful than 20%, the new average for BUSU referendums and elections, a number he notes would like see higher.

He calls the AGM a “fail safe” which is “a weapon of last resort”.

BUSU Constitution: Article 8.3
Such a meeting may, under approval by a majority of the members of the Corporation (students) present, make recommendations, policies, amendments, or bylaws that are binding on the Corporation, the Board, and the Brock University Students Administrative Council.

Ventura writes:

“Basically, it can be a tool to accomplish sweeping changes within a student union. That being said, here’s some context on that. To have Quorum at an AGM, you need 2% of the student population, with is obviously a lot less than representative amount of the student body to make substantial changes in a democratic fashion (Even elections are at least 18-20%, more representative by nearly 10 fold).

So, why does the AGM grant such sweeping powers to a small amount of people? The short answer is a fail safe. You’ll recall those student executives from U Ottawa a little bit ago who were in some hot water over a leaked Facebook chat about another executive that was very hurtful, sexist and really bad? Lets say they decided not to resign and keep their position, in the face of a school who’s membership wanted to remove them. An AGM could be the tool the general membership uses to remove them (considering that the vast majority of the student population wanted them gone). I use a rather extreme example to illustrate that this is a weapon of last resort. It circumnavigates much more representative democratic bodies (Exec elections, BUSAC, Board), and should be used as a last ditch effort in the event of a catastrophic failure of one of the three branches of government.

I know you are much more of the opinion that it represents an opportunity for direct democracy by the students and that is also a fair point. In a perfect world, this would be another arena for the people to participate in an institution that they could use to debate sweeping issues and make a direct impact on the organization. However, in reality, the 2% vs the 20%, even though the 20% is well, well below where I would like to see representation, I’d stake my claim with 20% over 2% any day of the week.

All of  that being said, am I not going to take the AGM seriously and not promote it?

Absolutely not. This tool is part of our democratic process and it should get equal face time as every other governance venture. Would I love to see an AGM meet quorum? Absolutely! Looking at other student unions’ AGM records, unfortunately they are low across the board, unless there is a huge issue, such as removing a rogue exec or staff person who is misappropriating funds/power.

I hope that this context paints a better picture of what an AGM’s purpose and direction really does.

Looking at your BIRT statements, I think all of them except the MOU approval one would be possible, even the Isaacs one!

Examples Be It Resolved That… (BIRT)

Green are good to go. Red is not.

BIRT – To remove Board Member X.
BIRT – To remove Executive X
BIRT – Approves political policy to direct BUSU to leave OUSA.
BIRT – Direct BUSU to leave OUSA.
BIRT – Isaac’s renamed to The Starship Enterprise.
BIRT – The MOU to fund X Third Party is approved, and
BIFRT – And will go to referendum at the next election period.

 Why not those last two? Ventura clarifies, “Looking at article 8.3, in this regard, I think the best you could do is recommend that BUSAC should approve it. Since its not a bylaw, policy or amendment. Doesn’t mean they have to listen…. But it would have to be discussed for sure.”


Council and the Gadfly: Analysis of questions (Part 1 of 3)

45 minutes of questions were asked of me after my 13 minute presentation. I’ll give you the play by play and score my the questions and my responses, as well as augment my comments now that I have the benefit of time, and my body of work, to rely upon.There were a lot of questions, so this break down will be in 3 parts.

Question 1: Antonio Sergi, Board of Directors
Topic: You’re not elected

Sergi asks if I was ever elected, and I tell a good news story that getting involved with BUSU by seeking accountability was successful. He follows up “Right, but you didn’t actually represent students. You were never elected — “, Sergi prods, which I retort, “I find that journalism is a form of representation. So I’m still representing students… even to this day.” Score: Not too shabby. And while pithy enough, I could have fired back with the fact that Sergi himself didn’t go up against anyone for his seat in the Board of Directors. So, he seems to represent students the same way I do, by walking up and saying, Ok, I’ll do it. He was a councilor last year and I think worked in the advocacy department for a while. I met him while I was ranting against the Student Life fee in March 2013. Anyway.

Question 2: VPEA Drew Ursacki:
Topic: You’re not a student, why do you care?

“You’re not a student. You haven’t been a student for a very long time. What is your tie and why do you care?” My answer: If it wasn’t of service to people, I should quit. I do this because people continue to bring me questions and information. Score: Pretty good. But: could have fleshed it out a little more. I was put on edge by the tone of the question, but I have to accept that this is the dominate question of my existence. Of course, I don’t even believe one needs to be a student to care about student politics or provide the service I do.

Major flaw in my response, of course, is I didn’t pull out my Brock student card and waive it around saying that I can still swipe it, I can still log in on the computers, and I still haven’t finished my degree. So there.

Not a student? I say, once a student, always a student. How so? I have experience both in the life and dealing with the burden of taking responsibility for it. I’ve been a student “proper” for five years of my life, and involved in campus activities and campus politics for maybe a decade. I was a very involved student at Niagara College. Wait wait, is this about elitism? I don’t pay the fee so I don’t get to have fun on all the rides? Get real. I’m just as Ontarian as you are — where does most of the operating money for this institution come from, after all? — and this is my future too. My OSAP debt is real. My student experience is real, too. I have a valuable voice and those who hear it send me accolades. And they poo-poo anyone who tries to shut me down.

And, more significantly, even if not, you don’t have to be gay to fight for gay rights. You don’t have to be black to fight for equality. And you don’t have to be a student to fight for empowering students. Knowledge is power. And I’m redistributing the wealth.

We’re talking about a system that is admittedly in crisis, which is the gateway all young humans must pass through. Keeping that system in check is important because it is important. Not because I’m carrying a valid student card (which I am, by the way).

I believe my work is empowering. Others agree. The fact that Ursacki doesn’t agree causes one to question if he wants to keep people in the dark about everything? Bar none, no one has gone as far and as hard on bringing light to BUSU — BrockTV, Brock Radio, Brock Press, and, to a lesser but not insignificant degree Brock administration — than I have.

How is that possible? Because I’m not a student, I don’t have to juggle the courseloads of four ridiculous classes. I have a job. I devote my intellectual capacities towards helping people deal, cope, grapple with, something they otherwise would be clueless about. I serve a symbol of their right to be informed. They care about information. Not whether or not my BUSU fees have been paid lately.

Question 3: Kyle Rose
Topic: Tell us something good

He asks if I’d be willing to highlight the positives of BUSU, and I note that I’m entirely volunteering my time while thousands of dollars are spent to promoting the good side. I then list off Car Share as “very cool” and pat everyone on the back for O-Week. “We have a pantheon of voices in the world. I’m a voice that says a particular perspective. If you thought I’m expecting you like I’m preaching gospel… I assume you’re listening to me with a skeptical ear.” Score: Fuck ya. Bonus points for dropping “pantheon” like it ain’t nothing.

Question 4: Roland Erman
Topic: What can we do better with the AGM?

What can we do better at the AGM? Well, I’m sure to spread the responsibility around and by mentioning that the media has a responsibility to continually educate the public. Here, I’m able to provide a good suggestion — which it looks like they’ll be following – to provide an agenda in advance. I cover this a bit on a recent question on my Ask.fm/BrockBUG page.

Question 5: Chris Yendt
Topic: will you admit what you said and apologize to Tyler Evans for it?

“The Gadfly is somehow a different entity than busuleaks,” Yendt intones, suggesting it is not. Busuleaks was dropped because I didn’t want to pigeonhole the reporting to just BUSU, and I thought adopting the Socratic metaphor was fitting. Yendt continues, “You have necessarily taking a lighter tone and a more professional attitude in your reporting.” Well, shucks, that’s almost an endorsement, buddy. Considering I’m the guy you came to in 2012 — when I was at my so-called worst — to start a new newspaper at Brock, a fact I included in my presentation.

Then he says, “So, I will ask you, on the record, to recognize a statement that you made, regarding Mr. Evans, and issue a public apology … where you called him a disabled individual with a bunt up arm. Do you accept that is something you said, under the Brock University Gadfly, and will you issue a public apology to Mr Evans?! And if you deny it, I have photos.” Amazingly, this has to be in the public record now. Okay then. So, in March 2014, Jason Tucker was in a debate and Tyler Evans remarked “Who invited the cave troll” to which I was shocked and responded something to the effect of “I can’t believe you are making fun of people’s appearances considering you are a disabled individual with a bunt up arm.” I didn’t bother providing the context, instead called the comments “reprehensible”, and left it at that. Score: Decent. But weak. I could have taken responsibility, defended my self, and gone on the offensive.

How? Well, First, Tyler Evans is currently a collaborator. We talked frequently. We work together on a political projects. He hasn’t mentioned that comment, and I believe I apologized for it pretty much minutes after I said it. Sometimes you say crazy things when your friends disappoint you. So what? And really, so what — after months and months of my writing about BUSU, BUSAC, and Yendt himself, the first question he gets out is — why are you a dick to Tyler on Facebook? Of course, 2 years earlier Tyler mocked me on Chris Yendt’s Facebook wall, telling me to “get a life, get a girlfriend”. Yet somehow, despite chirping each other over the years, we are friends.

Of course, my perceived objective was to expand my social reach within council, therefore Yendt made it his object to undermine my social credibility, not my work, in an entirely false connection between The BUG, which is a media outlet, and those comments, which I made in a personal capacity. As if being a jerk on Facebook taints the veracity of this website. Thank you, try again.

Tyler tells me, “He tried to use that as a bludgeon, but obviously didn’t care about my feelings. He never talked to me about it.” He later defended me towards the end of the meeting. Since this, I’ve been taunting Yendt on Twitter to provide the screenshots.

2 ‘community’ seats added to BUSR Board on NCRA recommendation

Brock University Students Radio Board of Directors community member Matt Dalzell motioned Thursday at the BUSR collective meeting to add two community seats to it’s Board of Directors.

“I want you to keep in mind that this has absolutely nothing to do with the recent changes to our board, even if we had BUSAC and BUSU still on the board, we would still be out of balance, we would still have the same five and only two community, and so this is an attempt to right that, if you will. We’ve received guidance from the NCRA which is the National Campus/Community Radio Association which has said that we are not in balance and we should be, should they review our board structure, it’s too heavy I guess on the student side, so that’s what this bylaw is proposing to do, is add two new community members to the board,” said Matt Dalzell.

Deborah Cartmer, “The timing does, I’m sure, seem suspect, for people who think there is a conspiracy, um, but it really has nothing to do with the current situation. This came about because last year I was informed by the NCRA — who is any governing body by any stretch — they are an association of campus and community radio stations. We have known our bylaws our out of whack for a long time. So they told us last year that we were out of balance a should fix this, and so we checked again this year after that change was made, the recent one, okay, so are we still out of balance? The answer was yes. Basically, they’re strongly recommending — they have no authority to do anything — but they’re strongly recommending to correct that imbalance, because it jeopardizes us federally. There’s supposed to be a balance and the community and the university they represent, and ours has always be lopsided.”

The motion passed.


Brock Press Plagiarized BUG In Cover Story

So, this happened…

Exhibit A:

“Everything you need to know about Brock Radio kicking BUSU out of its board”
BrockBUG.com, August 31, 2014

An amendment, passed last week at the Brock University Students Radio (BUSR) Annual General Meeting which removed two BUSU seats from its board, has put BUSR under scrutiny for compliance with its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), despite having been de-funded last October. Councilor Calvin Eadywho was one of seven Brock University Student Administrative Council (BUSAC) councilors who were overlooked by the BUSR AGM — has announced through BrockTV intentions to launch a motion to put BUSR under review of Bylaw 4200: Referendum Implementation and Review Committee (RILRC).

Exhibit B:

“Brock Radio kicks BUSU off board”
Brock Press, Sept 9, 2014

At the BUSR Annual General Meeting, two BUSU seats were removed from the BUSR board. The action has put BUSR under inspection because it may have possibly put them in direct violation of their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), despite being de-funded last year. Councillor Calvin Eady, one of seven BUSAC councillors overlooking the Brock University Student Radio AGM, announced intentions to put BUSR under review of Bylaw 4200: Referendum Implementation and Review Committee (RILRC).

Hey, look, it’s the same…but worse!

Worse why? Because I attributed BrockTV for the news I was covering: Eady planned a RILRC motion. I only knew this because of BrockTV, which is why I provided attribution. So, not only was the entire paragraph plagiarized, but it removed a key attribution.


Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. Do I really even need to explain to you that my version made factual sense, and the Brock Press version, which changed the word “overlooked” to the word “overlooking” did not? Sorry, but “seven BUSAC councillors overlooking the Brock University Student Radio AGM” is not even true.


Exhibit C (The BUG):

Out of total of 29 eligible-to-vote BUSR members, eight were present to vote at the August 27, 2014 meeting. and 10 had provided a “proxy vote”. Only three of those were students

Exhibit D: (Brock Press)

The AGM had eight members of 29 eligible-to-vote BUSR members present at the meeting with ten providing a proxy vote, only three of the ten being students.

Yeah, just clearly copied.


Exhibit E (The BUG):

Problems for Brock Radio

1. The passage of this motion puts BUSR out of harmony with the 2012 BUSR MOU which specifies the structure of the Board of Directors.
2. This is antagonistic towards BUSU and BUSAC who would gate-keep future referendums. If Brock Radio wants to win (and keep) student funding, it needs to foster (not hinder) relations with Student Leaders.
3. Now there is talk, according to councilors Eady and Tulloch, of pressing a lawsuit against Brock Radio.

Exhibit F (Brock Press)

The biggest problem now for Brock Radio is their conflict with the 2012 BUSR MOU specifying the structure of the Board of Directors. Not only does this put Brock Radio in an unfavourable position with BUSU and BUSAC, who are in charge of any future referendums, but BUSAC councillors Eady and Tullock are considering pressing a lawsuit against Brock Radio.

This isn’t a very controversial linguistic analysis, is it. I mean, anyone can see that my article was copied and then mutilated to produced the Brock Press version of it. It’s like plagiarism, plus vandalism. Embarrassingly for the author, as if this isn’t bad enough, when plagiarizing, Tulloch became “Tullock”, and, interestingly, he does not have a first name. Probably because I accidentally left it out of my report.

Whose Lawsuit Is It, Anyway? I said Eady and Tulloch told me there is talk. I didn’t say that they are, themselves, considering pressing the lawsuit. The difference is not exactly subtle. I named them because I need to source my assertions, not because they “considering pressing a lawsuit”, which is a factually different statement entirely. Unless The Brock Press can verify their version of the facts, it should be retracted.

There are some other factual errors and critiques I could make about this Brock Press report, but this article is about its plagiarism.

If this were a classroom, the article’s author — who produces many news stories — would clearly be facing Academic Misconduct:

Plagiarism means presenting work done (in whole or in part) by someone else as if it were one’s own and applies to all forms of student work. The work of others can include, but is not limited to, written work, ideas, music, performance pieces, designs, artwork, computer codes and Internet resources. Associated dishonest practices include faking or falsification of data, cheating or the uttering of false statements by a student in order to obtain unjustified concessions.

Of course, we are in Canada. Where there are laws against this, too.

“Appropriation of the literary composition of another and passing off as one’s own the product of the mind and language of another. . An example of the offence of plagiarism in the law is INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT, which comes into being when the work allegedly copied is protect by copyright.” [quote p.170 Canadian law Dictionary, 2nd ed., by John A. Yogis, Q.C. (adapted fr. Law Dictionary by Steven H. Gifis), © 1990 Barron's Educational Series, Inc.; ISBN #-0-8120-4308-1; Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 90-34213]

To be honest, I don’t believe how serious this is. The Brock Press — Editor-in-Chief Tim Stacey — just heavily plagiarized The Brock University Gadfly.

Should I be mad? It’s absurd.

This tremendous lack of editorial control, and blatant disregard of the basics of plagiarism significantly degrades The Brock Press institution as a whole.



Notably, the second half of the article appears to be original reporting which includes very useful points from Deborah Cartmer about the history of BUSU neglecting the BUSR board, which I highly recommend you read.


BUSAC Agenda for Sept 10: State of the Institution, Ruling on Brock Radio, and Review of Student Life Fee

Agenda preview: This Wednesday evening is the 3rd BUSAC Meeting of 2014-15. The agenda for the meeting was released last night and includes some noteworthy happenings.

- State of the Institution, Brian Hutchings (Brock University VP Finance and Administration)
- A presentation from the speaker regarding his Ruling on Brock Radio
- A presentation from the Brock University Gadfly (Yes, me!)
- Business Students Association will present a budget
- Catholic Students’ Association has a $1,550 clubs funding request

The AGM date will be set for October 9, 2014.

Elections: Three Student At Large positions will be filled, and two committees will have elections. There will be elections for filling the vacancy recent resignations in student Senate, and separately on the BUSU Board of Directors.  Regarding resignations, two resignations from BUSAC will need to be filled by By-election in October. The interim senators will also be replaced at that time.

The motion from Calvin Eady to put Brock Radio to RILIRC (Bylaw 4200) review is expected to be tabled or amended in light of the ruling from the speaker

Finally, council will hear a motion from VPSS Paul Dermody to put the Student Life Fee under review of Bylaw 4200. Dermody was an advocate of the fee during the March 2013 campaign, and this year as an executive was elected to the new Student Life Fee oversight committee, However it is not believed that the committee has yet met in any substantive way. Observers are very keen to hear why Mr. Dermody has decided to motion for Referendum and Ancillary Implementation Review (RILR) Committee review.


Ruling: Brock Radio amendment “illegal and invalid”

Brock Radio AGM Decision – Chris Ventura (PDF)

Full text:

BUSAC Speaker
As per the request of the President of BUSU, the BUSU Executives and the General Manager of BUSU, I have been requested to produce a recommendation on the actions taken at the Brock Radio Annual General Meeting by a board member to remove BUSU and BUSAC seats from their board of directors. Below, I will provide the necessary legislation and logic for said actions. Memorandum of Understanding

Repeal of the Brock University Student
Radio Fee (October 2013)
This MOU is the most up to date version of Brock Radio’s operational mandate from the Brock University student body (via Brock University Students’ Union). When this referendum was passed in the fall of 2013, it became a legal binding document for the actions of BUSR. Section 2 of the MOU clearly outlines, “All monies collected for the Brock University Student Radio fee prior to the Spring of 2014 shall remain with Brock University Student Radio Inc. and must be used under the provisions of the 2012 Brock University Student Radio Referendum.” This section explicitly states that so long as Brock Radio has finances collected under the fee, the 2012 MOU must continue to be followed.

Memorandum of Understanding–Brock University Student Radio levy Referendum (March 2012)

The question asked in this referendum was, “Do you support the continuation of the $1.50 per credit fee for the operation of Brock University Student Radio (103.7 FM), as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding.” This passed with 1021 votes for, and therefore the MOU from March 2012 became the guiding document for the funding of Brock Radio.

As stated in section 2 of the October 2013 MOU, “All monies collected for the BUSR fee prior to the Spring of 2014 shall remain with Brock University Student Radio Inc. and must be used under the provisions of the 2012 Brock University Student Radio Referendum.” The provisions of the dispersion of the fee are listed in sections 5-7 of the Spring 2012 MOU and they are,

5. All monies collected from the Brock University Student Radio Fee shall be forwarded to Brock University Student Radio, and shall be spent according to an annual budget approved by the Brock University Student Radio Board of Directors.
6. Any monies collected from the Brock University Student Radio Fee, not spent by Brock University Student Radio shall remain as retained earnings for Brock University Student Radio.
7. The monies collected from the Brock University Student Radio Fee shall only be spent
on expenditures directly related to the production and operation of Brock University Student Radio.

The removal of BUSAC and BUSU representatives from the Board of Directors is in violation of Section 9 of the March 2012 MOU,

9. The affairs of Brock University Student Radio shall be managed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is comprised of the following:
a. One (1) Member of the BUSU Executive.
b. One (1) BUSAC councillor.
c. One (1) Student at Large representative.
d. Two (2) Student Brock Radio Volunteers.
e. One (1) representative from the
Brock University Faculty.
f. Two (2) members from the Niagara Community
Since section 5 clearly and plainly invokes the necessity of the Board of Directors, as a necessary component for the oversight and dissemination of the collected fee, section 9 would be considered a provision of the fee collected, along with sections 5-7.

By changing the composition of the BUSR Board of Directors, the actions taken at the AGM are in direct violation of the 2012 March and 2013 October Memorandum’s of understanding. According to BUSU hierarchy of legislation, the MOU is the representative document of a referendum, therefore stands over all other legislation under our purview (excluding international, federal, provincial and municipal law). Though Brock Radio is no longer able to collect any monies from Brock University Students at this time, the funds previously collected and currently being used via reserve funds to continue to fund the radio station require oversight from elected student leaders.

Since this fee is collected by Brock University, transferred to Brock University Students’ Union Inc. (as per the ancillary fees agreement with Brock University) then transferred to the BUSR Board of Directors, it is simply not enough to have students  from the greater Brock population to represent students on their board. The BUSU executive has a fiduciary responsibility to oversee all student funds collected under the ancillary fee agreement and ensure its transparent and accountable spending. BUSAC represents the will of the student body and should also have a right to ensure adequate oversight over the spending of student dollars.

Since the MOU overrules the decision and bylaw change at the AGM, the bylaw change is illegal and therefore is invalid. Brock Radio’s Board should be sent a letter immediately explaining that their actions do not overrule their MOU (As the changed the bylaw) and therefore should be reversed immediately at the next board meeting, since they are in direct conflict with their highest governing document.

It is imperative the BUSU and BUSAC fight to stay on the board of directors until such time that student funds previously collected are no longer funding the radio stations operations. That being said, given the obvious contempt between BUSU, BUSAC and BUSR, a cultural and personal rift has developed. BUSU should work to actively mend some of the broken ties to ensure that student funds are not misappropriated, either maliciously or in contrast to the current MOU. There was a councilor who suggested BUSU could file a law suit against the radio station and I would HIGHLY recommend against that action. There is a much greater value in building bridges to ensure accountability and transparency than wasting student dollars on a long and drawn out law suit.

Bearing those recommendations, I believe either the BUSU president or the GM should be tasked to work with the BUSR board of directors in both formal and informal settings to rebuild lost confidence and attempt to reverse the decisions made at the AGM in an amicable and agreeable way. Any formal legal actions to ensure student leadership oversight on the spending of student dollars should be kept as a last resort.

Please consider the above explanation and recommendations my official interpretation of the situation as speaker of BUSAC. I believe that the actions taken by BUSR board members to remove BUSAC and BUSU members were done for reasons of interest for those board members, so I do not see correcting this problem to be a struggle. I hope that all parties can come together in the interest of accountability and transparency for the student funds we are all tied to.

Yours in good government,
Chris Ventura
Brock University Students’ Administrative Council Speaker