NewsStudents' Union

Approval of student spaces levy pending DIE Board challenge

The future of the Students’ Union’s proposed student spaces levy is in jeopardy as two judicial challenges have been filed against it.

In an email sent to The Gateway, the Discipline, Interpretation, and Enforcement (DIE) Board said it received an application concerning the proceedings around the proposed levy. The DIE Board provides judicial oversight for the Students’ Union and is responsible for the interpretation and enforcement of SU bylaws. If the applications are granted, the proposal could be ruled out of order and not be allowed to proceed to referendum during SU elections in March.

The proposed student spaces levy was discussed at a special Students’ Council meeting on January 29. After an hour and a half of debate, council postponed the vote approving the referendum question for the student spaces levy to an emergency meeting set for February 2 at 4 p.m. in the Students’ Union Building room 0-51.

The levy would cost students $18 in the 2019-20 academic year, doubling annually until it reaches $54 by 2021-22. It would be used to renew spaces around campus that are not funded by government sources.

Two judicial challenges were included in the application. The first judicial challenge regards the timing of the special meeting. Councillors were told on January 31 there would be a meeting on February 2 to vote on the proposed levy. According to Students’ Council’s standing orders, councillors need to receive at least four days notice before a meeting is called.

The othe challenge is towards the referendum question itself. When asked for clarification, DIE Board chief tribune Karamveer Lalh, stated that while he did not want to comment on the details until the hearing, the nature of the complaints concerned how student councillors had “inadequate time to review consultations” regarding the proposed levy.

Lalh added he cannot reveal at this time the identity of the applicant of the DIE Board challenge.

In the email, Lalh said that under normal circumstances, the DIE Board would grant a stay in proceedings. This would mean the Students’ Union would not be allowed to continue discussing any matters pertaining to the space levy until the board had the opportunity to hold a hearing. However, Lalh said granting a stay would “effectively kill the motion” due to the nature of the motion. Therefore, the DIE Board agreed to allow the meeting on February 2 to proceed.

Because of this, if the vote passes, the DIE Board will institute a stay in all future actions until a hearing is held regarding the grievances. Further, if the DIE Board rules the meeting out of order, all votes and motions passed during the meeting will be nullified. If the question is ruled out of order by the DIE Board, the referendum question could also be nullified.

No date for a hearing has been set by the DIE Board at this time.

“The DIE Board will undertake to hear the application and release a decision as soon as possible,” Lalh said.

Adam Lachacz

Adam Lachacz is a third-year student double majoring in history and political science. In his spare time, he likes to read, breathe, speed, and drink mead.

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