Due to certain controversial sections of its recently-adopted bylaws that clash with those of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations, the Math and Statistics Students’ Association risks being kicked out of the umbrella organization if no compromise can be found, as was made clear at last Thursday’s ASFA council meeting.
The tension comes after MASSA’s members voted overwehlmingly in favour of accrediting the association during a referendum held on March 2, 3, and 4. Before the vote, MASSA also adopted a new set of bylaws that contain at least two provisions that conflict with ASFA’s bylaws, noted ASFA VP finance Alexa Newman.
First, the documents state that all of MASSA’s revenues must be deposited in the association’s bank account within two days of the revenue being obtained, while current ASFA rules stipulate that all member associations’ revenues must be declared through ASFA. And second, MASSA’s bylaws indicate that if they come into conflict with ASFA’s bylaws, the MASSA bylaws may take precedence.
‘’When we have bylaws that conflict, either our bylaws need to change or their bylaws need to change. If not, we can’t accept them as a member association,’’ said Newman, urging councillors to consider what place MASSA could continue to occupy within ASFA. ‘’I don’t think it’s fair for you guys, who abide by our rules, to allow another group to have voting power and access to the same things you do but without having to abide by the rules.’’
During the hour-long debate, MASSA councillor Bruno Joyal defended his organization’s new bylaws while at the same saying there was definitely room for compromise.
‘’Kicking MASSA out of ASFA is very radical and unnecessary,’’ he said. ‘’MASSA is really looking forward to working with ASFA. Although we are challenging ASFA’s bylaws, I think it’s a very constructive challenge and could end up making ASFA a much stronger organization if the challenge is taken up.’’
The VP finance shot back by distributing to other councillors emails from two concerned math and statistics students who said they were ‘’pressured’’ and ‘’coached’’ to vote for something they didn’t really understand, referring to the accreditation referendum. Newman forwarded the emails to the Quebec government.
The Ministry of Education’s accreditation agent was, as of last Thursday, still in the process of recounting the ballots from MASSA’s referendum, a necessary step before official accreditation. Joyal continues to maintain that MASSA sought accreditation in order for math and statistics students to have a ‘’moral representative’’ as well as more financial control while still being associated with ASFA.
In an effort to reach a common ground, it was proposed that ASFA’s policy review committee be mandated to analyze MASSA’s bylaws before April 7 and present solutions at ASFA’s next council meeting.