General Assembly

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General Assembly

The UOSU’s General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the UOSU. All members of the UOSU – meaning, all undergraduate students – are welcome to submit and vote on motions that bind and direct the activities of the UOSU. If you want the Union to take specific action, come to the General Assembly and make your voice heard!

General Assemblies can be called by the Board of Directors, or by a requisition signed by 500 Members
of the Union and delivered to the Chair of the Board.

Fall General Assembly

The UOSU’s Fall General Assembly is a yearly meeting, called before November 15th of each year by the Board of Directors.

At this meeting, Members vote to ratify the hiring of a new Public Accountant, the previous year’s audited financial statements, and all changes to the Constitution and Positions Book made by the Board of Directors since the last General Assembly. Members are also encouraged to write and submit their own motions, either to amend the UOSU’s Constitution, or to encourage the Union to take a new political stance or lend support to a campaign or initiative. These will also get voted on at the Fall GA. Lastly, Members will receive midterm reports from each member of the Executive Committee, so that students are updated on what their Union Executive has been working on since taking office in May.

Extraordinary General Assembly

The Extraordinary General Assembly occurs once a year, with the sole purpose of ratifying the results of that year’s General Elections. The agenda cannot be changed or modified, and the only motion allowed to be debated and voted on is the ratification of election results.

Other General Assemblies

Although the Fall General Assembly and the Extraordinary General Assembly are the two regularly scheduled General Assemblies, it is possible for the Board or for 500 Members to call other General Assemblies, often about a specific topic or agenda item.

The rules for this are outlined in Article 3.3 of the UOSU’s Constitution.

Dates & Agenda

This year’s 2021 Fall General Assembly will be held on Monday, November 15, at 7:00 PM, via Zoom. 

The deadline for motion submissions will be Oct 13th at 11:59pm. All motions must be sent to general-assembly@seuo-uosu.com (more information below).

The date will follow for the 2022 Extraordinary General Assembly. 

There are no other General Assemblies planned at the moment. If you have an issue or topic you would like to call a General Assembly on, feel free to reach out to the Chair of the Board for advice (bod-chair@seuo-uosu.com).  

Agenda for the General Assembly

1. Call to Order
2. Land Acknowledgement
3. Approval of Meeting Minutes
4. Approval of Agenda
5. Executive Updates & Question Period
6. Appointment of Public Accountant
7. Approval of Audited Financial Statements
8. Amendments to Constitution
9. Amendments to Positions Book
10. Motions from Members
  • Expansion of Eligibility for UOSU Executives
  • Pressuring the University of Ottawa to Reduce the Pressure of Grades
  • Affirming Freedom and Promoting Transparency
  • Additional Exemption Criteria for the University of Ottawa U-Pass
  • Reopening Minto Squash Court
  • Increase in International Student Tuition during COVID
11. Other Business
12. Adjournment

Writing General Assembly Motions

  1. Is the motion pertaining to actions or policies under the purview of the UOSU? 
    • If the motion is instead directed at the actions or policies of the University of Ottawa, consider formulating your motion in a different way, such as calling on the Union to take a stand or represent a position to uOttawa. Although the UOSU can attempt to influence and challenge uOttawa, they are two separate, independent organizations. 
  2. Is the motion clear and specific about the action it wants to take? 
    • Although symbolic motions can be important, motions that are specific about the kinds of action they would empower the Union to take are also powerful. If you would like the Union to sign onto a specific petition or endorse a campaign, the motion should say so. If you would like the Union Executive to write a report or attend specific meetings, the motion should say so. 
    • For political stances or social causes, adopting a change to the Positions Book empowers the Executive Committee to support the new Position and take action. 
    • Unclear and/or vague motions that get adopted might have rhetorical or symbolic value, but might not realistically be meaningfully implemented. 
    • Keep in mind that your motion will be debated by dozens, if not hundreds of students. Confusing or inflammatory language is bound to generate conflict and hours of changes at the General Assembly.
  3. Is the motion formatted in the correct manner? 
    • There are three parts to a motion: a title, Whereas clauses, and Be it resolved clauses. 
    • The title of the motion outlines what the motion is about. 
    • Whereas clauses list out facts or arguments regarding your motion. Think of Whereas clauses as evidence or justification for why your motion is factually important and relevant. 
    • Be it resolved clauses outline the specific action items that you would like to see take place if the motion passes. 
    • Motions will be listed in the agenda and read out at the start of debate by the Chair of the General Assembly, so formatting them properly and persuasively is a great way to get your point across, before anyone even starts speaking!
All motions for the General Assembly must be submitted to general-assembly@seuo-uosu.com ahead of the advertised deadline. They may be submitted in either official language – we will take care of translation!
 

Motions adopted by the General Assembly direct and bind the UOSU. For example, an amendment to the Constitution which is adopted by the GA changes the rules and governance of the Union. Additions or amendments to the Positions Book lay out the UOSU’s position on a given political and/or social issue, and compel the organization to action. Other motions which do not fit in these two categories 

Voting

All Members are entitled to one vote at General Assembly meetings.

Members who cannot attend can request another Member attend and vote in their place. This is called attending and voting by proxy. Ahead of each General Assembly, Members will have up to 14 days to appoint proxies. The process for doing this will be outlined in the “Notice” email, sent about a month prior to the General Assembly.

For questions, feel free to contact the Chair of the Board (bod-chair@seuo-uosu.com)

Proxy at the General Assembly

What should I know about proxying?

  • An authorized proxy can be any other Undergraduate Student currently enrolled at the University of Ottawa.
  • Each student may proxy for up to four other students.
 

Additional Information

General Assemblies may adopt resolutions that direct the activities of the UOSU, except as limited by the Constitution. Such resolutions shall bind the UOSU.

  • General Assemblies may adopt resolutions on any matter, except where the matter is under the exclusive authority of the Board, the Commissioners, or the Managing Commissioners. 
  • The Fall General Assembly shall have the exclusive authority to approve the
    audited financial statements of the UOSU, as recommended by the Board.
  • General Assemblies shall have the exclusive authority to adopt amendments to the Constitution, subject to Article XIII.
  • Resolutions that are not consistent with the Constitution shall not be considered at General Assemblies. Any resolution that is not consistent with the Constitution shall be ruled out of order by the Chair of the General Assembly. Such a ruling of the Chair of the General Assembly shall not be challenged.

General Assemblies shall be chaired by the Chair of the Board, unless a two-thirds (2/3) majority of a given General Assembly elects an alternative Chair, who shall serve for the given General Assembly only.

  • No member of staff of the UOSU shall serve as Chair.
  • A member of staff shall preside over the election of an alternative Chair.

Quorum for General Assemblies shall be three hundred (300) Members, at least one-hundred fifty (150) of whom shall be present in person.

  • Quorum for the Fall General Assembly shall be seventy-five (75) Members, at least fifty (50) of whom shall be present in person.

General Assemblies may be called by the Board, or by a requisition signed by any five-hundred (500) Members and delivered to the Chair of the Board.

  • Should a General Assembly be called by the Board, the Board shall approve the agenda of the General Assembly.
  • Should a General Assembly be called by any five-hundred (500) Members, the agenda shall be included in the requisition. The UOSU shall give notice of the requisitioned General Assembly no more than fourteen (14) days after verifying that the requisitioned has been signed by at least five-hundred (500) Members.

Notice of any General Assembly shall be given to every Member no less than twenty-one (21) days prior to the General Assembly. The notice shall include the time, place, and agenda of the General Assembly.

  • “Notice” means emails sent to every Member, a notice on the UOSU website, notices displayed in at least eight (8) buildings at the University of Ottawa campus, and notices published in the major student newspapers at the University of Ottawa.

The agenda of a General Assembly shall not be amended other than to reorder or remove items.

General Assemblies shall be conducted in accordance with the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, subject to Article 4.4.1.2.

The Board shall hold the Fall General Assembly no later than 15 November and no earlier than 15 October. The Fall General Assembly shall be the annual meeting of the UOSU, as defined by the Act.

The agenda of the Fall General Assembly shall include:

  • a motion to approve the audited financial statements for the previous Fiscal Year; 
  • a motion to appoint a Public Accountant for the current Fiscal Year;
  • a motion to approve any amendments to the Constitution adopted by the Board since the previous Fall General Assembly;
  • any motions submitted for consideration by Members, as described in Article 3.4.3;
  • any other business deemed appropriate by the Board.

No less than thirty (30) days prior to giving notice of the Fall General Assembly, the UOSU shall invite Members to submit motions for consideration at the Fall General Assembly.

  • “Invite members” means emails sent to every Member, a notice on the UOSU website, notices displayed in at least eight (8) buildings at the University of Ottawa campus, and notices published in the major student newspapers at the University of Ottawa.
  • Motions submitted by Members may be ruled out of order by the Board under s 162(6) of the Act.
  • The Board may, on the advice of legal counsel, rule out of order any motions submitted by Members that are not compatible with the fiduciary duty of Commissioners and Directors. All Commissioners and Directors shall have a right to receive the relevant legal advice in writing.
  • Motions submitted by the advertised deadline shall not be excluded from the agenda of the Fall General Assembly, except as permitted by Article 3.4.3.
  • Every Member shall have the right to attend any General Assembly by proxy.
  • Only Members may act as proxies, and no Member may act as a proxy for more than four (4) other Members.
  • Members present by proxy shall be counted towards quorum.
  • There shall be a period of no less than fourteen (14) days in which Members may appoint proxies. The process for appointing a proxy shall be described in the notice of the General Assembly.
  • No proxies shall be appointed less than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the General Assembly.

Any provision of the Constitution that applies to General Assemblies shall apply equally to the Fall General Assembly, unless the Constitution provides otherwise. In the event of an inconsistency between a provision that applies to General Assemblies and a provision that applies to the Fall General Assembly, only the latter shall apply to the Fall General Assembly.

  • Should a General Assembly, including a Fall General Assembly, adjourn or be declared inquorate without an item of business having been considered, the item may be considered by the Board before the next General Assembly, except as limited by Article 3.2 or Article 3.7.
  • Should the Fall General Assembly adjourn or be declared inquorate without the audited financial statements having been approved and/or without a public accountant having been appointed, the Board shall hold another Fall General Assembly as soon as possible, without regard for the timeline established by Article 3.4.1.
  • Should the Fall General Assembly adjourn or be declared inquorate without a constitutional amendment having been approved or rejected, the amendment shall be deemed to have been rejected.
  • Should the Fall General Assembly fail to reach quorum, the Board shall hold another Fall General Assembly as soon as possible, without regard for the timeline established by Article 3.4.1.