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GFC gets quorum wrong since 2004

By Hayden McBennett, December 4 2014 —

To meet quorum — the required number of people that need to be present for an organization to vote — at General Faculties Council (GFC), one-half of an its members must be present. However, since 2004, GFC  thought quorum required one-third of its members to be present, calling the legitimacy of some votes into question.

The Post-Secondary Learning Act (PSLA) mandates GFC’s duties, but doesn’t outline how many members are necessary to meet quorum.

However, Alberta’s Interpretation Act, which passed in 2004, states any governing body operating under an Alberta statute must have one-half of its members to meet quorum.

GFC failed to meet quorum seven times since 2004, meaning they may need to vote on those issues a second time.

Students’ Union vice-president academic Hana Kadri said GFC recently realized that the Interpretation Act applies to the PSLA.

“The PSLA does not speak about quorum of the governing bodies that have to exist in an institution,” Kadri said.

Kadri said most of the times GFC missed quorum were over the summer when there weren’t as many people on campus.

“There isn’t much that goes through GFC during the summer time for that reason. At this moment there’s nothing to be concerned over. They’re just looking back to see if there’s anything significant enough that they have to bring it back to GFC,” Kadri said.

Administration is revisiting GFC’s terms of reference and declined to comment.

U of C faculty association president Sandra Hoenle, who sits on GFC, said the council should have never missed quorum.

“Having said that, I believe the administration is working to correct this situation,” Hoenle said.

Kadri said the new terms will state that GFC has to meet one-half quorum instead of the one-third they thought they needed.

GFC is the second highest governing body at the U of C, below the Board of Governors. The PSLA stipulates that GFC handles academic proceedings at the university.

The 113-member council creates programs, academic plans, research plans and has members from administration, faculty and the student body.

Although it’s only mandated by the PSLA that two students sit on council as voting members, the U of C allows around 10 students.


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