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Updated on Saturday, October 25

#19992

OMG: Potentially controversial statement: If the Feds Exec were doing more to engage students, more students would have come out to the Annual General Meeting. Ergo, student engagement has suffered under this Executive.

Discuss.

26 comments

  1. Correlation does not equal causation.

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  2. I believe you just committed a logical fallacy there, my friend.

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  3. That sounds like a logically fallacy to me.
    Statement A: Engaged students attend the AGM
    Statement B: Few students came out the the AGM
    Conclusion: There must not be a lot of engaged students, hence student engagement has suffered

    I feel like the statements don't fit the conclusion. Like there's a missing connection that would remove the possibility of alternative explanations Maybe this is no different from past years. Maybe there has always been a lack of engaged students.

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  4. Though it's likely still true that Executive efforts to engage students would engage more students.

    And if past Executives have done more, then your statement can be taken as true.

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  5. OP here.

    Good points so far. Yes, the statement is logically flawed. That's because I took it to its most extreme form when I wrote it... attracts more comments that way.

    It's clear - engagement of students is not predicated on the actions of the executive, nor is it the sole determinant of the General Meeting turnout.
    However, there is an undeniable correlation between students' engagement, and the active interest they take in their own student union. Discuss the nature of this correlation, and appraise the current exec.

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    1. There are plenty of students actively engaged in the student union who didn't care about the result of any of the votes and decided not to show up. OP you're logically inconsistent, good luck with your degree if you need logic to complete it.

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    2. The General Meeting is the highest decision-making body in the student union. If there are things on the agenda that nobody cares about, then something is wrong with the General Meetings themselves.

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    3. Not necessarily General Meetings are there if there is something wrong, why would there need to be major changes made at every meeting.

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    4. Plus, there are some pretty boring things that by law need to be passed at GM such as approval of the audited statements.

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    5. Honestly, General Meetings are tough, and I don't envy the exec who have the difficult challenge of striking the correct balance with them. Put yourself in their shoes here:

      Yes, you want students to be engaged in the student union. You *need* at least a quorum (50, in this case) of people to attend the general meeting, but realistically you want as many students as possible to attend because it's an excellent forum for feedback, information dissemination, and 'direct democracy-style' student-driven decision-making. So you want the General Meeting and its agenda to be engaging.

      At the same time, you are engaged with the Federation of Students and its business, day-and-night, roughly 60 hours a week (at least). Whether you're doing a good or bad job as exec may be up for debate, but needless to say your job consumes pretty much every waking moment. You understand that the average student attending the General Meeting is INFINITELY less-involved with, and less knowledgeable about Feds than you are. And cooler heads do not always prevail when the mob is making decisions. You want to make sure that the GM doesn't become a cesspool which will cause actual legal trouble for the corporation.

      We've had a full year of controversial General Meetings. AGMs in March 2013, July 2013, October 2013, and March 2014, that had 100+ people attend and debates that were hostile - at times even militant in nature. As a result, GMs became more organized, in an attempt to control the chaos.
      A non-controversial AGM, with barely a quorum in attendance, is not inherently a bad thing - as long as it doesn't happen all the time.

      As for the merits of THIS AGM being poorly attended... debatable. Credit card vendors were blocked from the SLC, which will probably cost Feds about $15000 in revenue in the name of 'protecting' a membership that, to great self-contradiction, insists it is capable of making smart, independent choices. Feds' long-standing transparency issues will continue for the foreseeable future, thanks to a membership who didn't find the issue important enough to place a vote on (but with a final vote on the issue of 27-26, you can hardly say the matter of Feds' transparency is truly 'settled').

      The net effect to students? Not much, other than the credit card thing - but that'll only be noticeable to students who frequent the SLC (not the majority)... and possibly to a few services who see their funds cut in order to make up for the lost revenues. The "average" student will essentially carry on as before.

      There will be other, more controversial, General Meetings in the future. And when they happen, maybe an issue like transparency will find itself on the agenda, and then it will hear the heated debate it deserves. But for the time being, we essentially have to settle for the status quo.

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    6. I like everything that was said by 6e. Just for the sake of ensuring things are correct though, I'd like to point out that the final vote was 25-26, not 27-26. This also meant it was borderline on not making quorum, and when a quorum check was called later, you could see that at least 4 students came running back into the meeting and there was only just enough students to make quorum. It is very probable that the meeting was running without proper quorum for a while.

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    7. 6f, sorry, didn't mean to get the count wrong. It was, as you say, 25-26.

      Quorum is a funny thing. Strictly speaking, you only need to have quorum at the start of the meeting, after which all business is legitimate unless someone calls a quorum check and the meeting is found to be below quorum. And of course, not everyone in attendance is obliged to vote. Even if the count had been 22-23 (less than quorum overall), as long as there are been over 50 people in attendance when a quorum check is called, then the vote itself is perfectly valid.

      That said, when you're in the sort of situation where people can play games with quorum (i.e. running out of a meeting, thus bringing the number in attendance down to a number below the requirement), then really it's just good practice to adjourn and set a new meeting date. Especially something like a General Meeting - I wouldn't be comfortable making any major decisions at an AGM which is less than 5 people above quorum.

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    8. Yo, where have i seen this before

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  6. There's a strong positive correlation between how much of a sweaty gooch OP is and how many times OP talks. Discuss the nature of this correlation.

    Douchenozzle

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  7. OP, I think it's more like "If the Feds Exec were actually accomplishing ANYTHING, then there would have been more to talk about at the General Meeting, and more people would have come out."

    There's not a lot of drama around this exec (unlike last year), and while some people will cry foul about transparency-destroying things like the President trying to muzzle Council, it's not the sort of thing that people will rise up in droves to fight. The result is a poorly-attended GM, controlled largely by non-students (read: Feds staff).

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    1. Most exec accomplishments are not things you would need to bring to the General Meeting, maybe they will be brought to council or the board. The most common thing exec would bring to a General Meeting would be bylaw changes, if you want them to work on the Feds bylaws all day so they can present them at the General Meeting you should go and tell them that, but I'm sure most of us would disagree.

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    2. 8a, you miss the point. If they'd actually accomplished things, there would be causes for which students at large would be writing motions for, and reacting to en-masse.

      Don't get me wrong - I am glad this exec is low-drama, and works well with its board. It's certainly preferable to the shitshow that was last year's exec team, and the toxic mess that was last year's board.

      I just think that, as an organization with a huge NON-VOLUNTARY membership, there needs to be a serious effort to make events like General Meetings - in which students can directly effect change - a bigger, more relevant affair.
      The same principle *generally* applies to audience attendance at Council meetings, though a lack of that is understandable given that, unlike the AGM, non-councillors can't actually vote.

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  8. Why do the MODS keep letting this shit through while other more interesting posts are left out?

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    1. The MODS don't really censor all that much, TBH. The only stuff they don't let through are usually the blatantly hateful/toxic/racist/misogynistic things, spam, or posts which are essentially duplicates of each other. Sometimes things which have no relation at all to UW get filtered too.

      But a post about life on the UW campus? Why would they filter that out?

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  9. I think the fact that they had their AGM in the middle of midterms didn't help...

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    1. Has to be in October, and October is midterm season. No way around that.

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  10. ugh, love this Whole discussion thing <3

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  11. a feds gm is boring... by its very nature... people never attend those things unless they're passionate about the topics at hand. for this gm... there werent good topics.

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    1. A student union who's allowed to make decisions on how to spend millions of dollars in student money in secret, behind closed doors, without any scrutiny... isn't a good topic?

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    2. feds will not be fixed by discussion.

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