Under the proposed new Langara Students’ Union bylaws, all students, including Voice reporters and editors, will be barred from attending board meetings.
“Because every meeting will be a closed meeting, we are required to report on every meeting,” said Adam Giesbrecht, adding the LSU will be publishing it’s own newspaper to keep students informed, “pretty much within the week” of meetings being held.
Langara Students’ Union still a public body
LSU board meetings, like Vancouver school board meetings and Vancouver city council meetings, are currently open to the public.
For the school board and city council, that is a measure taken to hold publicly elected bodies accountable to the people they represent.
Langara students, including those working on the Voice, vote on who should represent them in the LSU.
Student reaction to proposed bylaws
One student was not so hot on the idea of the LSU not allowing students to attend board meetings should the bylaws pass.
“It’s for the public so that means that the public should be able to see,” said Langara business student Daniel Tkach.
He said if public bodies’ meetings were not held in the open, “they’d have control over us and we wouldn’t have any say over it.”
As common practice, Canadian government board meetings do go in camera, meaning closed to the public, for special circumstances like internal employee issues or deciding on bids from outside contractors.
Any time they are not in camera, reporters are also allowed to attend and record meetings to report to the public.
Little information being given about new bylaws during voting period
The LSU bylaw vote has been open to the public since Tuesday in the A building.
Voting booth attendees have been unwilling to share any information with anybody representing the Voice and refused to give their identities except to say they are volunteers.
While bylaws are posted on a board in front of the booth, no take-away information about the proposed bylaws is available there.
“We’re not giving them out on paper as a way to be environmentally friendly,” said one volunteer.
The voting ballots themselves are printed on standard 8.5″x 11″ paper.
Reported by Audrey McKinnon