Following last year’s CUSA elections, the CUSA Executive and CUSA Council constituted the Democratic Reform Committee to evaluate the mechanisms of power, decision-making, and elections within CUSA. The Committee has since released a report to the Executive and Council which will lead to an internal restructuring. The report recommends that CUSA Council act to curb executive power, institute checks and balances, and establish an external board of directors responsible for managing the non-profit corporation.
Following consultations with experts, guests, and students, the report recommends disempowering the current positions of CUSA Vice Presidents by removing them as voting members of CUSA Council, removing them from the Board responsible for CUSA’s long term legal, financial, and reputational future, and ensuring they can be held accountable by both an empowered council and a responsibly trained and advised board of directors comprised of students not otherwise involved in CUSA governance.
All of CUSA’s future actions will be more meaningfully supported by HR professionals, lawyers, and auditors.
Under the recommended system, students will only elect the CUSA President, rather than a slate of Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates. No other position will rise to the level of importance, power, or representation that would necessitate an election. Based on the Committee’s work, we expect more candidates for the presidency in the future. We expect these candidates to have more diverse experiences. We further expect that an election with more candidates will be less contentious than the one-on-one dynamic that has evolved over the past several years at CUSA.
In addition to removing the barrier to entry that was the slate system (where a group of students ran together under one banner, which provided unequal electoral advantage against independent candidates), we anticipate some candidates who are unsuccessful in a presidential run will be experienced enough to be selected for a vice presidential position.
The current CUSA executive looks forward to completing their campaign promise to reform CUSA—specifically its elections and slate system—and to leave a rejuvenated and strong association for their successors.