So you’ve got an idea.
There’s a change you want the Student Association to make, an issue you want the SA to support, or something you think the SA should advocate for.
The AGM on Feb. 7 is your chance to get that idea off the ground. To start, you need to write a motion.
WHAT IS A MOTION?
A motion is a formal proposal by a member of an assembly (like the Student Association) that asks the assembly to take action or make a stand on an issue. At the AGM, motions can be submitted by any full-time Durham College or UOIT student.
PARTS OF A MOTION
Motions consist of two parts (or clauses), each with their own purpose:
The WHEREAS clause provides context for the motion. It’s the part that explains things like why this issue is important, background information, who else adopted something similar, etc.
The WHEREAS clause can be as long or as short as the mover deems necessary. Don’t worry too much about crafting the perfect WHEREAS clauses. They’re essentially deleted if the motion is adopted.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The BE IT RESOLVED (or BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, if there’s more than one) clauses are the most important part the motion. These outline the action items of the motion.
There can be as many clauses as necessary. A general rule of thumb is to have as many clauses as there are proposed actions.
For the purposes of better understanding how motions and the AGM work, let’s pretend your goal is to get the SA to adopt Beyonce’s hit Single Ladies as it’s official anthem. Here’s what your motion may look like:
MOTION TO ADOPT BEYONCE’S SINGLE LADIES AS THE OFFICIAL ANTHEM OF THE SA
WHEREAS Beyonce is Queen; AND
WHEREAS Single Ladies is an amazing song; THEREFORE
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Single Ladies be adopted as the official anthem of the Student Association at Durham College & UOIT (SA); AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the President be mandated to sing Single Ladies upon the commencement of every meeting of the SA.
In this motion, the WHEREAS clauses are:
- Beyonce is Queen
- Single Ladies is an amazing song
The mover of this motion has used the WHEREAS clause to briefly explain why their motion is important. Be sure to keep these statements brief and concise. You’ll have an opportunity to on your motion at the AGM and provide more detail, if necessary.
In this motion, the BE IT RESOLVED THAT clauses are:
- Single Ladies be adopted as the official anthem of the SA
- The President must sing it at the start of every SA meeting
This clearly states what the mover is asking, and what a “yes” vote would result in. No matter the topic of your motion, first ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Does your motion clearly indicate an action to be taken? Is that action reflective of the goal of your motion? Make sure your motion has a clear action item or else it cannot be considered and voted on.
Here are some more motions to help you get started:
MOTION TO ADOPT GOOD SAMARITAN 911 POLICY
WHEREAS alcohol and drug overdoses can be life threatening emergency’s that require prompt medical care and attention; and
WHEREAS “rates of calling 911 during an overdose emergency are relatively low in comparison to other medical emergencies.” (Follett et. al., 2014); and
WHEREAS fear of police involvement and criminal charges is the number one barrier for calling 911. (Baca & Grant, 2007; Bohnert et al., 2011; Darke, 2011); and
WHEREAS students face the added fear of academic and housing consequences if they call 911 to report an overdose; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the SA adopt a Good Samaritan 911 policy for any incidents during SA events involving or related to alcohol and other drugs in an aim to reduce the barriers to seeking assistance and calling 911; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the SA mobilize students and lobby the respective Boards of Governors of Durham College and UOIT to adopt a Good Samaritan 911 policy as part of their on and off campus codes of conduct so that in an emergency situation any student in need of medical assistance and any bystanders including those who called 911 will not be subject to disciplinary action by UOIT and Durham College related to the violation of using or possessing alcohol or other drugs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the SA provide a full range of harm reduction materials to students, including information about safe drug use and the availability of counselling services.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the SA create a Harm Reduction service to educate students and help minimize the harms associated with alcohol and drug use.
MOTION TO REDUCE SA MEMBERSHIP FEE
WHEREAS the SA has successfully negotiated the transfer of Campus Recreation to Durham College and UOIT Athletics resulting in an annual cost-savings of $120,000 or $5.71 per student; and
WHEREAS the SA Executive team successfully negotiated a new health plan for students that will provide students with better benefits without increasing fees for students; and
WHEREAS students at Durham College and UOIT are facing ever-increasing tuition fees and student debt;
Therefore BE IT RESOLVED THAT the SA Board of Directors recommends a reduction of the SA membership fee of $6.00 per student for final approval by students at the SA AGM.
MOTION TO ADOPT VERBAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE MISSISSAUGA’S OF SCUGOG FIRST NATION
WHEREAS Oshawa, Durham College, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the Student Association (SA) is situated on the Aboriginal land of the Mississauga’s of Scugog First Nation.
WHEREAS it is important for the Student Association to stand in solidarity with the Indigenous folks in our community
WHEREAS it is important to educate members of our campus community on Indigenous history and rights
WHEREAS it is a privilege for us to study and work on Indigenous land
WHEREAS it is imperative that the SA verbally acknowledge that the land we reside on is Indigenous land;
Therefore, BE IT RESOLVED THAT written content on the acknowledgement of the First nation on which land we reside, the Mississauga’s of Scugog First Nation, will be located on the SA website
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT The Student Association will verbally acknowledge the First nation on which land we reside, The Mississauga’s of Scugog First Nation, at the beginning of every major SA event.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT The Student Association will verbally acknowledge the First nation on which land we reside, The Mississauga’s of Scugog First Nation, at the beginning of all SA Board meetings and Annual General meeting, after the call to order.