Since accreditation, Congress and the MSU has, and still is, experiencing some growing pains. The MSU and the College are two organizations that are heavily intertwined in terms of logistics and administrative affairs. This year’s Congress is pushing towards making the MSU a more autonomous organization by centralizing executive powers to members of Congress who are students at the College, and by creating their own financial infrastructure independent of the College’s. These two concepts were the primary speaking points of the Congress meeting that took place this past Friday.
Currently, voting members of Congress are composed of all the elected and appointed positions held by students within the Union, except for one: the Executive Advisor. The Executive Advisor is a College employee who sits in on Congress meetings and has just as many voting rights as any other member. This individual is not accountable to the students, but does serve an important role in Congress. This individual acts as a liaison between Congress and the school. This person is intimately aware of the all aspects of student life and is able to perform administrative tasks with the school. For example, a student cannot simply book a room for a meeting or club activity, he/she must find a member of the faculty to approve the request. Congress is strongly considering hiring an individual who would fulfill the mandate of the Executive Advisor, but would be solely accountable to Congress, given they are the ones signing the paychecks. Contingent on the employment of this person is the abolition or suspension of the position of Executive Advisor. For all intents and purposes, the two people would perform the same duties, but the employee would not be a voting member of Congress. The main contention with hiring someone outside of the school, is what rights that person would hold regarding their ability to act as an administrator with the school. The reason why the Executive Advisor was effective is because of the fact that they are a member of the College faculty, allowing them to book rooms and work with the faculty. This new person would not have those same rights, unless Congress were to negotiate those privileges with the school.
In terms of financial independence, Congress has already taken active steps to insure that they control their own finances. Congress has opened their account with BMO and is in the process of moving their current funds to this account. A greater issue it seems, is one regarding the storage of club money that will be raised throughout the year. Previously, because MSU and the College were the same organization, clubs brought their money to Wayne who would then deposit the cash into a private safe on the College campus. Now that the two organizations are independent, Wayne is no longer obligated to keep and hold club money, forcing club executives to look towards different means of financial storage. Congress is already in the process of solving this by simply considering the purchase of their own safe, the location of which would be undisclosed.
It is very clear that the main focus of Congress is trying to structure itself for the years to come so that the legacy it passes on is not just one in which independence was theoretically obtained, but a legacy where future Congress bodies are not going to have to have their visions of the school restricted by external bodies. While the impacts of these discussions and administrative movements won’t be felt today, they will be felt in the years to come when students no longer have to be managed by an organization that is more accountable to the school then themselves: and that, in itself, is what the body promised us accreditation would accomplish. Stay tuned for more College news, and have a safe Halloween!
Written by MWR writer Michael Di Giorgio, edited by the MWR team