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Philosophy students create autonomous association

Accreditation would give PSA more autonomy over activities

The Philosophy Students’ Association (PSA) incorporated last Tuesday, becoming the first departmental association with its own bank account at McGill to be recognized as a non-profit organization.

Incorporation is the first step toward accreditation which, if achieved, would turn the PSA into an independent organization in the eyes of the University and the provincial government.

The PSA is currently a departmental association under the accredited Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS).

According to PSA President Jonathan Wald, the organization is seeking accreditation to obtain more control over its finances.

“It would give us more freedom to run the activities we would like to on a more speedy basis, without much of the red tape. It would also reduce the workload on the AUS, and as we have seen over the past year the AUS has had trouble with its audits,” Wald told The Daily.

The process began last October after the AUS announced its intention to internalize all of the departmental associations’ bank accounts, on the advice of its financial auditors in order to comply with their Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with McGill.

“The two alternatives were: either the AUS further internalizes us, which we saw as complicating things with more red tape, or complete externalization, if you will, which would be accreditation,” Wald said.

The Accreditation Act requires the PSA to obtain 25 per cent of undergraduate Philosophy students to approve the accreditation.

If the PSA receives accreditation, it will also have to negotiate its own MoA with McGill.

Deputy Provost Morton Mendelson told The Daily that at this stage, “there are other steps that remain in the process and it would be premature for [the administration] to comment right now.”

Philosophy students would continue to pay AUS fees and would remain members and receive the services of the AUS regardless of whether or not accreditation is obtained.

AUS VP Internal Justin Fletcher told The Daily that the society is waiting for the accreditation vote, and the University’s response before commenting.

“When I sat down and talked to Justin Fletcher last [semester] about PSA accreditation, his worry was that if student associations started to [accredit themselves]…if they start to be more autonomous from the AUS, that the AUS could lose some of its relevancy,” Wald said. “I think it’s in the AUS interests’ for the PSA to remain represented in AUS Council meetings.”

The vote on the accreditation is set to begin on March 11.