With a little help from the Arts and Science Federation of Associations, the Fine Arts Student Alliance is hoping that their new constitution will avoid the confusion and even in-fighting that has plagued it in the past, especially regarding its structure.
Current FASA VP finance Julie Johnston is chairing the ad hoc committee known informally as the “constitution reform” committee, which has been using ASFA’s constitution as a template to review their own.
“I chose ASFA because I felt their structure was the most similar to ours, but just a little bit bigger,” she said. “But while we are taking ASFA’s bylaws and using them as a template, we are trying to preserve as much as possible the current operating structure of FASA.”
One organizational element that will not be making it into the new constitution is the actual title “VP finance,’ which is the very reason FASA decided early last term to review its bylaws.
At FASA’s September council meeting, various member clubs were furious that the executive had decided to terminate then-VP finance Laura Glover without council’s approval. But the executive maintained that because the position was hired and not elected, they could remove Glover without having to go by the normal process for ousting executives.
This constitutional dilemma led to a heated seven-hour council meeting which saw the president of the Cinema Students Association, AJ West, ask for the recall of FASA co-presidents Neal Moignard and Paisley Sim for lack of transparency. The demand was ultimately rejected.
Johnston said that in the new constitution, the position will be either designated as executive officer of finance or director of finance, a clarification that ASFA president Aaron Green said was needed.
“It’s great that they’ve decided to review their constitution because maybe if their bylaws were clearer, they could have avoided what happened earlier in the year,” he said.
Green met with the constitution reform committee several times over the past few months and said that some FASA members also sat in on an ASFA financial committee meeting. One of the the other bylaws they were looking to change was the reimbursement of students. Currently it takes up to six weeks for FASA to reimburse a member, compared to five business days at ASFA.
Johnston said another important reform will give council power to create ad hoc committees when deemed necessary. She is confident the latest version of the constitution will be ready to be presented to council at its upcoming Feb. 7 meeting. Should it receive their approval, it will be ratified at FASA’s Mar. 21 AGM.