Feedback - Regulation on Student Organizations

Written Feedback to Regulation Draft

Summary Response Chart on

Written Feedback to Regulation Draft

General Comments
Feedback on the Draft Regulation University Comment
“There is a great reckoning happening across the globe, in which public institutions are being brought to account for their histories of oppression, discrimination and active participation in colonial violence. Structures and statues symbolic of this oppression are being taken down both physically and figuratively. In this context, it is unfortunate that this York University administration has chosen not to be part of the progressive movement taking place on university campuses across the world. Instead, through this draft of Presidential Regulation #4, this administration is actively seeking to maintain its status quo immersed in institutional hegemonic white supremacy, by attempting to police, intimidate, and silence a largely racialized and marginalized student body. The safer and anti-oppressive spaces painstakingly created by progressive student organizations over generations will cease to exist by the excessive force of this draft policy.”

The objects and purposes of York University, according to the Act that created and governs York University, are the advancement of learning, the dissemination of knowledge, the intellectual, spiritual, social, moral, and physical development of its members, and the betterment of society.

York University believes that student organizations advance these university goals, and York University chooses to support and encourage student organizations by granting them privileges. Privileges granted by York University include the use of York University’s email contacts for members, and its voting systems or requiring student constituents to pay money, or levies, to York University to fund student organizations. This draft regulation outlines the considerations under which a student organization is eligible to receive the university’s privileges, this is called “recognition” by the university.

The Act that created and governs York University puts limits on what student organizations York University can recognize and grant privileges to. As mentioned in both the predecessor Regulation and this draft regulation, York University is not legally allowed to fully devolve, or pass down, the authority given to it by the Act to student organizations. York University is ultimately responsible for advancing the purposes and objects of the university. At the same time, York University believes that its purposes and objects are greatly advanced by students’ freedom to associate and express themselves through independent student organizations.

The way that York University supports independent self-governing student organizations, while also advancing York University’s objects and purposes, is by only supporting student organizations that conduct themselves in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible manner. York University will not deny privileges to a student organization simply on account of its mission, purpose or procedures, unless those beliefs or procedures are contrary to this principle or lead to activities that are contrary to it.

Because openness, accessibility, democracy, non-discrimination, and legal and financial responsibility are open-ended and aspirational concepts, York University needs to ensure substantive rules are in place that give effect to them, which it has done in this draft regulation. These rules help ensure York University recognizes only student organizations that conduct themselves in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible manner. It also helps student organizations conduct themselves in this manner, by providing concrete rules and procedures to follow.

For this reason, York University does not see well-defined and justified recognition requirements on student organizations as an expression of institutional hegemonic white supremacy. Instead, York University sees it as reasonable, and indeed necessary, for York University to comply with its own legal obligations and to further its statutory objects and purposes.

In contrast to oppression, discrimination, colonial violence, and institutional hegemonic white supremacy, the draft regulation now centres non-discrimination, democracy, openness, and accessibility among its organizing concepts. The draft regulation’s requirements for recognition further these concepts and the other central concepts of legal and financial responsibility. Often, measures that help ensure legal or financial responsibility will further other concepts like democracy by increasing accountability to students, or openness by increasing transparency for students.

Centring these concepts represents an improvement over the predecessor Regulation, which for example did not explicitly include non-discrimination as a central concept structuring its requirements.

“The overall tone of the draft sounded quite coercive. We believe this should be evened out with the elaboration of ways in which Student Organizations can obtain adequate support to fulfill those requirements.”

York University appreciates that, as a document outlining rules and requirements, the draft regulation can be imposing to read. However, the University has endeavoured to use plain language and a measured and neutral tone, to help students clearly understand their responsibilities under the draft regulation, as well as their rights.

The draft regulation provides rules and procedures for recognition and recognized student organizations. The draft regulation does not govern students or student organizations; it governs when and how York University will recognize student organizations and grant them privileges. Student organizations do not have to become recognized. Recognition is only necessary if a student group wants to ask York University for privileges.

Relevant university offices, like Student Community & Leadership Development, are in place to support student organizations with questions about this regulation, compliance, and to seek training. The university offers a wealth of training and materials to assist student organizations and their executives, and the university will offer further training and materials to help student organizations comply with the draft regulation.

“As much as I understand the reasoning behind it, I find it not only very excessive, but unnecessary to strip the autonomy that comes with being a part of Student club/affiliations. University is a time in our life that prepares us for the real world, and granting us the opportunity to run our student clubs/organizations the way our members we ELECTED and HIRED is a much more decent form of democracy.”

Student organizations are still self-governing under the draft regulation. The draft regulation does not introduce substantive requirements for the purposes or procedures of student organizations. Student organizations do not have to seek recognition or privileges.

What the draft regulation requires, if a student organization wants York University to grant it recognition and privileges, is for it to conduct itself in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible manner. If a student organization does this, then York University will not withhold privileges from it, whatever its beliefs and procedures are.

Many new requirements amount to enhanced democratic procedures or financial accountability requirements. In this way, having clearer rules can actually further student autonomy/self-governance.

York University understands that university is a formative time in students’ lives and is preparation for the outside world. During and after university life, autonomous organizations are regularly required to comply with regulatory, legislative, and contractual requirements in exchange for rights and privileges. In this way, the New Regulation may provide better preparation for students in their post-university lives, in addition to furthering the goal of open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible student organizations.

General Comments on the Recognition Process
Feedback on the Draft Regulation University Comment
The draft regulation imposes obligations that either duplicate or contradict student organizations’ pre-existing obligations under their incorporation legislation.

In response to this feedback, York University has revised the draft regulation to exempt student organizations incorporated under the Corporations Act (“CA”), the Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (“NFPCA”) or comparable legislation from various constitutional requirements, to avoid duplications or conflicts with legislated incorporation requirements. The CA, NFPCA, and comparable incorporation legislation already contain many of the requirements of a constitution under Schedule C of the draft Regulation. However, to qualify for recognition, an incorporated student organization’s governing documents (e.g., articles of incorporation or letters patent) cannot include any aspects which are not mandated by legislation that are inconsistent with the Regulation.

The York University Student Centre Incorporated (YUSC), because of its mandate to manage the Student Centres, already has contractual arrangements with the University that variously meet, exceed, or are by necessity slightly varied from the requirements of the draft regulation. For that reason, the draft regulation now does not apply to YUSC.

Some feedback expressed concern about the requirement to seek approval from York University before incorporating a student organization.

Students do not have to get the approval of the Vice-Provost, Students to incorporate a student organization. Approval is only required if the incorporated student organization wants to be recognized and asks the university for privileges.

The draft regulation has been updated to clarify that the purpose of requiring recognized student organizations to seek approval to incorporate is to allow the university to make sure that any aspects of the student organization’s governing documents which are not mandated by incorporation legislation are consistent with the Regulation.

This will help ensure that York University recognizes student organizations that conduct themselves in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible manner.

This measure is appropriate because York University has exempted incorporated student organizations from the constitutional recognition requirements imposed on unincorporated student organizations. Therefore, York University has an obligation to satisfy itself that a recognized student organization is not incorporating with governing documents inconsistent with the draft regulation in ways unrequired by law.

Some feedback expressed concern about the requirement that student clubs operate for two academic years after recognition before becoming eligible for university privileges. Some feedback raised concerns that this requirement could be used to withhold funding from deserving student organizations.

The two-year requirement in section 9 protects students by creating a condition that a student organization be well-established and fully functioning to receive student levies.

York University recognizes that some student organizations may need some level of funding in their first two years to function.

The draft regulation provides that student organizations with no levy funding can charge their members modest membership fees and/or reasonable cost recovery charges to finance student organization activities. York University also makes grants available to student organizations to support their activities.

Finally, the draft Regulation preamble clarifies that York University will not deny privileges to a student organization simply on account of its beliefs or procedures, unless those beliefs or procedures are contrary to, or lead to activities that are contrary to, the guiding principle that student organizations conduct themselves in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible manner. All student organizations are equally subject to the two-year prerequisite for levies.

The draft Regulation does not include and removes any mention of student autonomy or independence.

York University appreciates that student autonomy and independence are vital to campus life and the mission of the university, and understands student concerns that the draft regulation strike the right balance between these values and other university obligations and goals. As stated in the preamble, the draft regulation aims to foster students’ freedom to associate and express themselves through student organizations. Student organizations promote learning, growth, and civic responsibility, and contribute to the educational, recreational, social, or cultural quality and diversity of life on campus.

York University has carefully considered this feedback and has made every effort to draft regulations that do not remove or diminish any autonomy or independence compatible with the university’s objects and purposes.

Indeed, the draft regulation imposes no requirements on student organizations per se. It only establishes the terms on which the university will recognize and grant privileges, like collecting mandatory levies from students for a student organization. Student organizations are not required to seek recognition or privileges to form or to participate in campus life. Unrecognized student organizations can also contribute to the richness of the university.

However, to further its own objects and purposes and to satisfy its legal obligations, York University cannot grant privileges to a student organization that does not conduct itself in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible manner. Non-compliance with these principles is the only justification under the draft regulation for denying privileges to a student organization. The preamble expressly acknowledges that “York University will not deny privileges to a student organization simply on account of its beliefs or procedures, unless those beliefs or procedures are contrary to the foregoing principles or lead to activities that are contrary to it”, and, “Where student organizations act consistently with these principles, York University will support their ability to communicate, explore and debate ideas, organize and use its facilities for lawful purposes, distribute materials on campus, and engage in peaceful demonstrations.”

All the draft regulation’s substantive requirements are in support of, and intended to assist students, by giving form and substance to what might otherwise be a more amorphous requirement.

The predecessor Regulation currently in force does not mention student autonomy, so no mention of autonomy has been removed.

The predecessor Regulation does say “York University believes that independent student governments and student organizations promote learning, growth and responsibility amongst those who conduct these activities and serve the interests of their fellow students.” While the draft regulation does not include the wording, “independent student government”, the draft Regulation is not a retreat from this position.

Fortunately, there should be little conflict in practice between student autonomy and independence on the one hand, and the objects and purposes of the university on the other hand. Many of the draft regulation’s requirements should enhance student autonomy and independence rather than impede it.

Some of the new requirements, like electoral procedures and prohibitions on commercial activity, may be contrary to student organizations’ own choice of internal democratic procedure, collective agreements, or contractual arrangements with York University.

York University respects the importance of student organizations’ choice of internal procedure and operations. Student organizations are free to design their own democratic processes. However, to receive recognition and associated privileges, a student organization must comply with university policy by conducting itself in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible manner.

The minimum requirements of the draft regulation are analogous to the democratic accountability (i.e., election) requirements imposed by general incorporation statutes, which student organizations must comply with to enjoy the privilege of incorporation. Similarly, the limits imposed by the draft Regulation on commercial activity are similar to those imposed by the Corporations Act and the Not for Profit Corporations Act. York University expects that currently incorporated student organizations are complying with their obligations under Ontario law not to be carrying on for-profit activity. Therefore, it should not be overly difficult for incorporated and unincorporated student organizations to honour their obligation to avoid essentially commercial activity if York University is to recognize them. York University is itself a non-profit entity and cannot fund with grants or levies what is ultimately profit-seeking activity.

Comments on Section 10: Obligations of Recognized Student Organizations
Feedback on the Draft Regulation University Comment
The requirement that recognized student organizations must submit a document signed by each officer acknowledging the organization’s obligation to comply with all university legislation serves as an attempt to undermine the advocacy and self-governance capability of student leaders and directly contradicts the mandates of many levy funded organizations.

York University in no way intends to undermine the advocacy and self-governance capability of student leaders with this requirement. The substance of the requirement in large part relates to good governance and accountability to constituents, and is actually a measure meant to ensure that student leaders are providing effective advocacy and self-governance.

There is no requirement that a student organization seek or receive recognition. However, if a student organization wishes to be recognized and request privileges from York University, then its officers must acknowledge the student organization’s obligation to comply with university policies such as The Human Rights Policy and Procedures and the Statement of Policy on Free Speech.

York University sees this as reasonable and necessary to the granting of university privileges. The university is responsible for its recognition decisions, and cannot make those decisions in breach of its legal commitments, objects, and purposes. For example, the university cannot recognize and fund with student levies a student organization with a discriminatory, unsafe, or criminal purpose or a group formed to promote hate against other groups or individuals.

A similar requirement already exists for student clubs under the Rules for Club Recognition, according to which a student club seeking recognition must include in its application an agreement by the signing officers to abide by the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

York University encourages feedback and input on the draft regulation itself once it is in operation. The draft regulation includes a commitment to revisit its content, with consultation from various stakeholders, at least every five years.

Nonetheless, student organizations remain obliged to abide by university legislation to be eligible for recognition and privileges. If a student organization’s mandate in principle contradicts its ability to commit to abide by university legislation, irrespective of the content of the university legislation, then the student organization is not a suitable candidate for recognition. York University cannot fully devolve its authority onto student organizations.

“Section 10.1 b) obliges Student Organizations to conduct elections at least once every academic year. Although this may not cause an issue for Student College Councils generally speaking, a significant number of Student Levy Organizations don’t have formal electoral processes put into place. They often resort to internal hiring. Abiding by this condition entails having to follow the election procedure elaborated in Schedule C, which could result in delegating supplementary tasks to members if not all positions are filled.”

York University appreciates that minimum democratic process requirements may be unfamiliar to some student organizations, like unrecognized unincorporated student organizations that have historically operated with informal leader selection processes.

However, York University regards annual elections as a reasonable minimum requirement not only for student organizations with mandatory membership, but also for any levy-funded student organization. To receive privileges, a student organization must, among other things, conduct itself in a democratic manner. Formal, secure, regular election processes help guarantee this requirement for recognition.

For incorporated student organizations, the CA, NFPCA, and comparable legislation already require regular elections of directors, and other basic requirements of corporate democracy, so York University is optimistic that the draft regulation will not impose more onerous requirements than their pre-existing legal obligations. Having similar requirements for unincorporated student organizations should also be manageable, and is a reasonable guarantor of democratic conduct in exchange for university privileges.

Unrecognized student organizations are welcome to continue to use informal procedures to select their leaders, as they see fit.

However, York University is obliged by its own purposes and objects to maintain minimum standards of democracy and accountability to student constituents, so a student organization that wishes to be recognized and receive privileges from York University needs to comply with basic democratic procedures.

“Section 10.1 e) requires Student Organizations to notify the Vice-Provost, Students within 14 days following any changes in its Governing Documents. This can be problematic for a document such as the Bylaws; Because bylaw changes can take effect immediately after being passed, they can be made continuously throughout a given term. As a result, acting in accordance with this requirement could make for an excessive amount of notifications. We believe this draft should be reviewed with more leniency.”

While York University is aware of concerns about excessive reporting requirements, the university needs to know the contents of a student organization’s governing documents to meet its obligation to ensure that student organizations are being conducted in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible manner. Just as York University must review the governing documents before agreeing to grant recognition, York University needs to review the governing documents of currently recognized student organizations when they change. For example, without reasonably prompt reporting requirements, the university might inadvertently support with levies a student organization that changed its governing documents to include overtly discriminatory content.

York University respects that there are practical realities to a student organization’s ability to report governance developments. The draft regulation aims to strike a balance between reasonable notification periods, and York University’s duty to recognize student organizations only in accordance with its objects, purposes, and legal obligations.

The draft regulation requires notification, not approval, of the Vice-Provost, Students or designate to any change in its governing documents or officers. Student organizations have two weeks (fourteen days) to provide notice. This is only required of recognized student organizations.

While bylaw changes can take effect immediately, fourteen days following a change is sufficient time to provide notice. York University will strive to provide a reasonably efficient and low-effort reporting process to reduce the load this places on students.

While changes may occur throughout a term, it should be unusual for a well-run student organization’s governing documents or officers to change so frequently as to result in excessive notifications. If a recognized student organization finds itself struggling with this, the university continues to offer training and resources on student organization governance to assist with management of offices and bylaws. York University offices like Student Community & Leadership Development are available to help with these topics.

“Some clubs have a small proportion of members who are not current students – they are alumni and other community members. It is a great way to keep alumni engaged, and many of our volunteers are students who graduated who continue to volunteer for a year or two after graduation. If elections are digital will they have access York's electronic voting system?”

Alumni and other non-student community members are encouraged to continue enriching campus life by volunteering with student organizations. The university benefits from recent alumni easing the transition of leadership and passing on institutional knowledge.

However, generally speaking, only students should vote in student organization elections. Recognized student organizations, particularly those supported by student levies, should ultimately be controlled by their student constituency.

In the event access to the university electronic voting system does pose a problem for a legitimate voter constituency, the draft regulation allows elections to be held using a comparably secure system, provided the Vice-Provost, Students has given prior approval in writing.

Some feedback expressed concern about the prohibition on activities essentially commercial in nature, and the requirement that small businesses be non-profit and arms-length. Some feedback suggested these requirements should not be the same for all student organizations, as student organizations currently differ in their approaches to conflict of interest and avoiding for-profit activity. It was also suggested that there should be an option to discuss proposed initiatives that may appear commercial in nature with the Office of the Vice Provost, Students.

York University appreciates that different student organizations have different roles and functions, and have different structures and financial situations.

However, these minimum requirements are aimed at preventing the use of recognized student organizations for essentially commercial, profit-seeking ventures. This must be a common objective of all recognized student organizations. Goods and services provided for money at a loss, or on a break even basis, or to raise funds genuinely in support of non-profit activities, will generally not be the target of the regulation.

The requirement for advisory/management boards to oversee small business operations in an appropriate arm’s-length relationship is a necessary safeguard against the misuse of recognized student organizations for for-profit activity or activity on behalf of third-party commercial organizations.

The rule against commercial or for-profit activity should not pose great difficulty for student organizations incorporated under the CA or the NFPCA, which already require that they not operate for profit. Quite apart from the requirements of York University’s regulations, student organizations engaging in essentially commercial for-profit activity might otherwise be required by law to register for HST, pay income tax, and potentially reincorporate under the Ontario Business Corporations Act.

Both incorporated and unincorporated student organizations exist within the campus community of York University, which is a non-profit academic institution. The objects and purposes of York University are essentially non-commercial in nature. Student organizations recognized and given privileges like levy funding by York University must also be essentially non-commercial in nature to be consistent with the non-commercial nature of the university.

Student organizations are allowed and encouraged to seek help from the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students or other relevant University offices like Student Community & Leadership Development on a proposed initiative that may appear commercial in nature.

York University’s aim is to help student organizations understand and achieve compliance with the rule against profit-seeking, not to sanction organizations that may have inadvertently breached the rule, though this may sometimes be necessary depending on the circumstances.

In the event of a suspected breach of this rule, York University has provided for a fair process. The student organization will have the opportunity to make submissions before a determination of breach is made, to explain the non-profit and arms-length nature of the business. Alternative dispute resolution may also be suggested by the presiding university representative before a determination is made. In this way, potential breaches of these requirements can be explored and corrected before sanctions are imposed.

Some feedback suggested that it is impractical to require a student government’s constitution to include descriptions of executive and officer positions of its board in its by-laws. Student organizations’ staff and contract job descriptions regularly change depending on the availability of wage subsidies and grants, campus space, university placement programs, and also depending on any special projects in a particular term like a website revamp or new promotional video.

York University understands that employees and officers of student organizations may have multiple, changing tasks and responsibilities in the course of their duties, and that this should not result in onerous procedural consequences for student organizations.

The draft regulation requires the constitution to either include employee job descriptions, or identify where the job description can be located and made accessible to members. The constitution does not need to be changed every time there is a change in a paid employee’s duties if the job description resides outside the constitution, or if the job description is worded to include the new duty.

Where student organizations pay employees with student levy funds, there must be an accessible written description of the job that is student-funded. York University understands that job descriptions may be reasonably broadly worded to account for the multiple or shifting responsibilities associated with a position. Where a pre-existing job description would not entail the work envisioned, the job description can be updated without changing the constitution if it resides outside the constitution, so long as the constitution allows members to know how to access this information. This is necessary to ensure members can access up to date information.

Some students expressed concern that the requirement for policies and procedures addressing real, potential, or apparent conflicts of interest is too vague, and may impede student organizations from benefitting from relationships and networks which may be able to provide more affordable options for students.

York University respects that different student organizations may wish to approach conflicts of interest differently according to their circumstances. For that reason, the draft regulation does not include a conflict of interest policy applicable to all student organizations.

Instead, the draft regulation requires that recognized student organizations have conflict of interest policies and procedures, and that they adhere to them.

Student organizations are free to craft policies and procedures appropriate to their circumstances. Well-drafted conflict of interest policies and procedures will achieve flexibility and clarity in their rules.

York University is hopeful that the draft regulation will provide improved guidance on conflict of interest obligations. Previously, the Rules for Club Recognition provided for sanctions in the event a Club did not comply with its constitutional requirements, and the predecessor Regulation provided that a “Constitution should address the issue of conflict of interest for members of the executive, council, and/or members of advisory/management boards”. By comparison, the draft regulation provides greater certainty as to recognized student organizations’ conflict of interest obligations.

The requirements to manage financial matters responsibly, not divert funds, and avoid commercial for-profit activity are vague and restrict the financial operations of organizations.

The draft regulation has been revised to try to provide more guidance on this important topic.

The restriction on “engaging in an activity or function on behalf of a commercial organization” has been elaborated for greater clarity.

The draft regulation includes characterizations of key concepts relied on by the Regulation, including “Accessible”, “Open”, “Democratic”, and “Financially Responsible”. The draft has been updated to include a characterization of “Legal Responsibility” for greater clarity.

These concepts, or similar ones, are compulsory aspects of other major Ontario universities’ student organization policies.

The draft regulation only restricts the financial operations of student organizations to the extent they are not conducted in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible manner.

York University appreciates that issues and questions may arise in practice once the draft regulation is operational. Further guidance and training will be provided by the university to help student organizations understand and adhere to their obligations.

In the event an aspect of the draft regulation provides insufficient guidance or is overly restrictive in practice, the draft regulation requires the regulation to be reviewed at least once every five years in consultation with students, representatives of student organizations, faculty, staff, and other community members.

Non-Compliance and Consequences
Feedback on the Draft Regulation University Comment
Some feedback suggested that a “right of appeal” to third party mediation or arbitration, by a figure such as the University Ombudsman, be incorporated into s. 11 (Non-Compliance By Recognized Student Organizations).

York University has given careful thought to this issue, and agrees that processes of review and alternative dispute resolution should be available at relevant points in the non-compliance process and under the right circumstances.

The draft regulation provides the representative of the university responsible for the enforcement of this regulation with the power to suggest alternative dispute resolution at any point prior to a determination of a suspected breach of the regulation.

The draft regulations provide a right of review once a determination of a breach has been made, but a review or appeal may be unnecessary before there is an actual finding of a breach. Student organizations should not have to weigh whether to initiate a review process if they may not be found to have breached the regulation in the first place.

Student organizations are entitled to an independent review process, free from bias, and are right to ask how this will be achieved. The draft regulation provides that the review will be conducted by individuals uninvolved in the determination of a breach, providing sufficient independence. In the event alternative dispute resolution is suggested before a finding of breach, student organizations would be right to expect that any arbitrator or mediator must be impartial.

Some feedback expressed concerns about the sanction power to suspend, in whole or in part, the transfer of levies to a Recognized student organization in breach of the Regulation on such terms as the Representative determines appropriate, which may or may not include the University directing levy revenues toward proper expenses or purposes of the Student Organization without transferring those revenues to the Student Organization.

Students also had concerns about how suspended levies would be held and allocated, as determination of the “proper expenses or purposes” may be a complicated and drawn out process.

York University appreciates students’ concerns about how to decide the fate of suspended levy funds, considering the many competing interests potentially in play. The draft regulation has been revised so that this sanction now contains more safeguards, and makes the potential outcomes clearer for students and student organizations.

In the revised draft regulation, a suspension of the transfer of levies may only be for a “reasonable period”. The university representative now has only two options with respect to suspended levies: either transfer the levies to the student organization, or refund the levies to the students who paid them. This structure controls the use of this sanction, simplifies the procedure, and increases accountability for students.

The draft Regulation allows the President to conduct a personal review, or a review through an independent organization, on the basis of mere speculation of a breach.

The draft Regulation only permits Presidential review under prescribed circumstances, after there has been a finding of a breach coupled with a request for review of that finding.

A finding of a breach cannot be based on mere speculation. Notice of a suspected breach can only be issued where the university has reason to believe that a recognized student organization has not, or may not have, operated in an open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, or legally or financially responsible manner, or is in breach of any agreement with the university. At that stage, a hearing is conducted with submissions, before a representative who was not involved in the suspected breach’s investigation or notice. Only at this stage may a finding of breach be made, and a Presidential review be requested.

By the time the President may be involved in a review, the basis for a breach has surpassed the level of speculation.

Governance of the Lassonde School of Engineering
Feedback on the Draft Regulation University Comment

“The LES operates for all Lassonde students, but currently only has a levy for engineering students. It is to be noted that the LES will be working in 2021/2022 to expand the levy to all Lassonde students. Thus, a successful referendum will lead to the LES fully superseding LSG in all capacities as the LES will have a Lassonde-wide levy, while LSG still does not have any levy.”

“…the university seeks to recognize the "Lassonde Student Government" (LSG) as a government representing Lassonde students instead of the "Lassonde Engineering Society" (LES). In my experience, the Lassonde Student Government is an organization that has not been able to act as the Lassonde faculty government and has essentially become a defunct organization. Over the past few years, LSG has had numerous issues such as trying to force a poorly planned levy (March 2019), lack of institutional knowledge and year-to-year transition, little presence in student life and no academic advocacy for students. An example of this, is that the LSG has a website that has not been updated since 2019 (

On the opposite hand, the Lassonde Engineering Society (LES) has a strong basis of governing documents with a Board of Directors that oversees an Executive Committee. In addition, there are a variety of representative positions for each Lassonde program to sit on the Board of Directors. Moreover, there are directorships for a variety of roles that are filled across academic advocacy, student life and more. Please visit this link to see the LES documents and structure:

Ultimately, the LES should be the recognized faculty student government for the Lassonde School of Engineering. Although the LSG was created as an initial student government, its operations have been superseded by the LES which operates at over 5 times the number of team members with monthly Board of Directors meetings, Executive Council meetings, Financial Committee meetings and Academic Committee meetings.”

The draft regulation includes enhanced referendum procedures to allow for democratic selection of a recognized student government that otherwise complies with the requirements of the draft regulation.

For example, the draft regulation has been revised and now includes democratic procedures for deciding if a relevant student constituency wishes to recognize any student government at all, and if so, which candidate student government should be recognized. The draft regulation also now includes democratic procedures for replacing a recognized student government with a different recognized student government.

Overall, the draft regulation strives to leave the choice of recognized student government to the relevant student constituency to the extent compatible with the objects and purposes of the university and the open, accessible, democratic, non-discriminatory, and legally and financially responsible conduct of student organizations.