The Architecture Students’ Association (ASA) formally joined the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) following a unanimous vote in favour of the motion at EUS Council Tuesday night.
The ASA became the seventh society to join the existing family of six independent departmental societies (including Chemical, Civil, and Mechanical Engineering) represented by the EUS’s Memorandum of Agreement with the McGill administration.
These departmental associations possess council privileges that include voting rights and representative seats on the EUS but also retain their individual structures and autonomy.
“Architecture is already part of the Faculty of Engineering, so this move makes a lot of sense,” EUS President Daniel Keresteci told the council. “We’ve worked a lot with the ASA in the past and we’d like to continue and improve that relationship.”
The motion was the formalization of a referendum passed during last week’s elections period, in which a majority of Architecture students voted in favour of the ASA joining the EUS. Of 170 Architecture students, 110 participated in the vote.
The motion was passed at EUS Council with no opposition or abstentions, although Keresteci took a moment to briefly clarify that this change would not affect student fees in either faculty. Josh Redel, EUS VP Communications, also reassured those present that ASA would retain the same rights and privileges as any other EUS departmental society, including U0 to U4 representative seats.
Joining the EUS grants the ASA a more formalized standing with the McGill administration via the EUS’s Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), a contract between the society and the University administration. ASA President Kyle Burrows stressed that this formal recognition was the main benefit of allying with the EUS, as MoAs are rarely granted to sub-faculty groups.
“[McGill’s administration] doesn’t recognize student groups below the faculty level,” Burrows said. “Lacking formal recognition with the school…has always limited what we can do.”
Meredith Toivanen, the ASA’s VP Communications, agreed that the move would improve the ASA’s standing and leverage with the McGill administration.
“It gives us a sense of legitimacy in the eyes of McGill,” Toivanen said.
Toivanen added that while the administration’s decision to close the Architecture Café this past summer pushed this issue forward, the alliance was intended to protect the ASA in the future and not to address past grievances.
“Essentially, the Architecture Café as an issue for the ASA has passed,” Toivanen said. “The EUS won’t be able to provide any assistance for what has happened in the past. However, if anything comes up in the future, as members of the EUS, we’ll be in better standing.”
In defending the motion from the EUS side, Keresteci said that bringing like-minded students closer together and representing a wider swath of the student population would benefit the EUS. Keresteci added that although the ASA is a latecomer to the EUS relative to the other six sub-faculty groups, the EUS constitution is designed to allow the inclusion of new departmental societies.
“This is definitely something that [the EUS] has sort of planned for,” Keresteci said. “The right pieces just needed to fall into place.”