The McMaster Association of Part-Time Students passed a set of revised bylaws at a special general meeting held on Oct. 22. The meeting was the first to be called by the new board of directors, elected in February after former MAPS director Sam Minniti was fired and board members resigned.
Just 28 people, including two guests and MAPS board members, attended Tuesday’s meeting. During the one-hour meeting, extensive changes to MAPS’ bylaws were passed by a vote of 22-0 including nine proxy votes.
MAPS president Andrew Smith said the bylaws were completely overhauled and rewritten.
According to the new bylaws, an online referendum system will be put in place to reach a larger number of part-time students in MAPS’ corporate decision-making process. Acting MAPS director Kyle Johansen said the referendum system is a response to low attendance at MAPS general meetings. Before an e-referendum is held, MAPS will hold an information meeting in person, through broadcast or on the Internet.
Should a referendum not be possible, a general meeting would be held. A quorum of three per cent has been set for all general meetings.
MAPS’ previous bylaws stated a motion could pass with at least five MAPS members in the room and at least five proxy members.
“That’s a lot of power for five people,” said Johansen.
“The bylaws kept being changed. Setting quorum at three per cent is a significant goal to achieve. Referendum will allow members to address issues on their own terms and their own time,” Johansen said.
Another new bylaw provision says that only MAPS members can approve new fees or an increase in fees and the board must provide a rationale for any request.
A two-year term of office is being enforced for directors and directors cannot serve more than eight years in a row. A review committee will be set up by both MAPS and McMaster University to evaluate MAPS’ progress and make a public report available every three years.
In addition, MAPS president Andrew Smith said he anticipates MAPS fees held in trust by the University since May 2012 will be returned to MAPS. McMaster is holding more than $362,000 in MAPS fees until the new board meets the University’s requirements for fiscal transparency.
“Hopefully, the fees will be returned by the end of the calendar year, but I can’t give a definite timeline,” Smith said.
MAPS’ most recent financial audit for 2012, released in September, was also included in Tuesday’s meeting agenda materials.
MAPS spent $206,117 in salaries and benefits, down from $352,023 in 2011. Staff travel expenditures amounted to $14,663 in 2012, up from $4,577 in 2011.
MAPS posted $209,600 in net assets for the 2012 calendar year.
In July 2013, MAPS was released from its $1M commitment to the L.R. Wilson Hall.