On February 26, the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) held a town hall to discuss potential changes to the EUS executive structure. The suggested restructuring is part of EUS 2020, an ongoing project aimed at creating new, innovative ideas for making EUS more current and accessible to students.
Last year’s EUS President Carlos Capriles explained the motivation behind the project. “EUS should be shaped over time with the students’ needs – and students’ needs change, […] the people who come to McGill change, and the organization should be shaped along with it,” he said at the town hall.
The proposed changes would remove the position of VP Clubs & Administration and add the position of VP Student Life, meant to broaden “the scope of our activities to encompass the changing needs and growing diversity of our faculty,” according to the presentation. The VP Student Life would not only work on social events, but also address issues of inclusivity and mental health. Moreover, they would work more closely with the EUS Equity Commissioner, who currently works intimately with the president. The changes also include eliminating the VP Services position and redefining the existing executive portfolios.
To accommodate the loss of an executive position, the plan would create directorship positions, about two or three per VP, to support the executive by heading committees and taking charge of the smaller tasks that the VP currently performs. According to the presenters, the proposed restructuring is similar to changes made at other student government organizations, such as the University of British Columbia’s Undergraduate Engineering Society.
This is the first time that the proposal of the EUS 2020 team has been presented at a public event, and the vision is subject to change. The presenters expressed a desire to hold multiple events over the course of the next year, in order to have as much input from engineering students as possible before drafting changes to the executive mandates in the EUS constitution.
“EUS should be shaped over time with the students’ needs – and students’ needs change.”
“It’s time to change some things in the constitution […] so I want to spread the word and try to get people to voice their opinions so that the changes go in the direction that is the best for everyone,” said EUS 2020 member Stéphanie Breton at the town hall.
Indeed, many at the forum took issue with the proposed changes. Some of the people present showed concern over the elimination of the VP Services, considering that the current EUS executives are all “stretched thin” and do an overwhelming amount of work.
One audience member noted that managing the General Store (G-Store) and Frostbite, student-run businesses overseen by EUS, is a big part of the Services portfolio. He argued that because these services are so vital to EUS, they should merit their own VP.
“[There are] so many managerial aspects – that [in itself] is [a] reason why we have VP Services and removing it would be a loss to the Society.”
Another widely held concern was allocating a large amount of responsibility to directors, who might not be as motivated as VPs to stay on top of their work. An employee at the G-Store voiced concern about potential implications the restructuring might have on constituents’ abilities to access VPs.
After the meeting, Breton clarified that the submission of these changes will be delayed until the next academic year.