The faculty student association will be holding a vote from January 28 to February 14 to obtain accreditation under Quebec civil law. In order to be eligible for formal recognition, the ECA must obtain the support of 25 per cent of their undergraduate student body in engineering and computer science.
Therefore a minimum of 900 students must vote yes in the polling for the accreditation process to move forward. This is a factor that has stopped previous executives from pursuing accreditation due to fear of failure to meet the requirement, according to ECA VP finance Chuck Wilson.
Lacking accreditation can be problematic because it limits student associations in terms of funding and accessibility. For example, the university is not technically nor legally obligated to provide the ECA with funding stemming from a fee-levy although it does anyway.
According to ECA President Ali Talhouni, what the ECA doesn’t have access to is the membership list of its students from the Dean of Students Office.
“We’re treated as an accredited association,” said Talhouni. “It’s the only thing we don’t get and the dean of students doesn’t give it to us.”
The student organization lost its company status following the transition from a paper registry to an online database for the Registraire des entreprises du Québec. The ECA’s status was revoked because the ECA failed to file their annual declaration as a company for several years.
Under law, student associations are unable to achieve accreditation if they are not a legally recognized company.
Lawyer Patrice Blais was present at an ECA council meeting to explain the procedure for applying for accreditation with the provincial government.
“What the ministry wants [is] to ensure there is a process and everyone can vote,” said Blais. “The ECA will be officially recognized as an association and accreditation gives you protection.”
To oversee the vote, the ECA officially appointed Judicial Board Chairperson Nick Cuillerier as their accreditation president. Melanie Hotchkiss, a student senator, will co-ordinate the campaign.