Letter to the Membership: April 24, 2015
Dear AUSU Members,
I am writing today in regards to recent circumstances surrounding AUSU and The Voice. In the absence of both an Executive Director and President, I am currently (Acting) Editor in Chief of The Voice and (Acting) President of AUSU.
After the release of the April 17, 2015 issue of The Voice, our office received a legal complaint regarding the content in one of the articles. As (Acting) AUSU President, per Bylaw 6.5 (d), I am responsible to protect AUSU and The Voice from legal and reputational threats. At the same time, I fully realize and respect that per AUSU Bylaw 7.5.3, The Voice is an autonomous publication and is to operate without interference from Councilors or Executives. Due to these conflicting interests, I made the decision to temporarily suspend the issue of the magazine while I sought legal advice on how to proceed.
AUSU’s legal counsel contacted The Voice Editor directly, with a list of recommended corrections. She also advised me not to re-publish the article until the facts in question were substantiated. It is very important to understand that I have not personally, nor on behalf of AUSU, requested any corrections or changes be made to any article in The Voice. Any and all changes were requested by our legal team in an effort to protect both AUSU and The Voice from liability.
I am also aware that there are questions surrounding the recent Executive pay increase. In the fall of 2014, a group of non-executive councilors and AUSU’s then-current Executive Director initiated a discussion and investigation into Executive compensation. With data provided by our Executive Director regarding salaries and benefits of other Alberta student union Executives, that same group put forth a recommendation for an Executive salary increase. The motion was brought forward and passed through an email vote in an effort to pass it prior to the start of the new Executive term on April 1. None of the current Executive team voted in the motion; it passed 5-0 with the 3 Executive members abstaining from the vote.
AUSU continues to work towards representing the best interests of our Members. After a period of restructuring in our office, we are in the final stages of hiring a New Executive Director, and we plan to set the date for AUSU’s AGM within the week. As always, we welcome any correspondence via telephone at 1-855-497-7003 or you may contact me directly via email to [email protected].
Vice President External
Athabasca University Students’ Union
500 Energy Square
10109 106 St NW