The AUSU election is an opportunity for AU students to elect their AUSU student council, who in turn elect their AUSU executive council (President, VP External and Student Affairs, and VP Finance and Administration). Elections are typically held every 2 years for all thirteen (13) council seats, unless there are council vacancies which may lead to a by-election. Our most recent general election was held in March 2020.
2020 AUSU By-election
AUSU held a by-election in August 2020 to fill 4 vacant council seats. Ballots were emailed to all AU undergraduate students on August 25 and closed on August 31.
You can also check out the live stream of the election results on Facebook Live.
|Candidates Announced||August 12, 2020|
|Campaign Period||August 12 – 31, 2020|
|Voting Period||August 25 – 31, 2020|
|Election Results Announced||September 3, 2020|
|Appeals Period||September 3 – 10, 2020|
What do AUSU councillors do?
AUSU councillors represent Athabasca University undergraduates students and advocate on their behalf. They also guide and direct the students’ union organization through its mission, vision, and values. Councillors attend council and committee meetings by teleconference, develop strategic plans, policies, bylaws, an annual budget, and more. AUSU councillors serve for a two-year term. You can find out more about councillor responsibilities in the following AUSU policy:
– AUSU Policy 2.14 Councillor Responsibility and Honoraria
In addition, three executive positions are internally elected every year from the elected councillors – the next executive election will take place in spring 2021. The executive positions consist of the President, VP External and Student Affairs, and VP Finance and Administration, with competitive remuneration. You can find out more about the executive positions in the following AUSU policies:
– AUSU Policy 2.03 Responsibilities of Executive Officers
– AUSU Policy 2.15 Executive Accountability and Compensation.
Make note: the executive positions were elected in April 2020. For the 2020 AUSU By-election, there are no vacant executive positions to run for.
The day-to-day operations of AUSU are run by a dedicated team of 5 staff members (3 full-time, 2 part-time), but the organization is student-led by the elected council and executives.
What are the Benefits of being on Council?
- Opportunity to advocate on behalf of Athabasca University students.
- Helping to create and foster an Athabasca University student community composed of distance education learners around the world.
- Becoming part of a dedicated and amazing team of AUSU staff and council that serve the needs of the AU student body.
- Opportunity to provide services and support to AUSU members.
- Opportunity to learn more about the management of your university, and post-secondary education on a provincial and national level.
- Governance training and experience, including how to develop goals and strategic plans, approve a budget, read and revise policies, conduct meetings, vote on motions, and more.
- Opportunity to work on AUSU committees and help guide and direct the organization.
- Paid honorarium for attending meetings ($75 per council meeting and $50 for committee work for councillors without portfolio, unless otherwise specified in the committee terms of reference).
- Bringing your AU student experience to the next level and getting involved, no matter where you live!
Why Should you Vote in the AUSU By-Election?
AUSU impacts your experience as a distance education student at AU, no matter where you study from or how engaged you are.
AUSU council guides and directs your students’ union in its mandate to provide services, support, and advocacy for AU students and is part of creating an online AU student community.
There are a lot of important topics for AUSU to tackle in the upcoming two years, including:
- Tuition increase of 7% for 20-21, with potential 7% increases for 2 more years
- Impacts of COVID-19 on Athabasca University studies
- New AU Virtual Learning Environment with major online infrastructure changes
- Support and advocacy for marginalized and under-represented students
- Service standards and timelines at Athabasca University
- Relevance and competitiveness of distance education
The students you elect to council will sitting at the table with the AU administration and meeting with government officials, influencing the decisions being made regarding these important topics.
AUSU council also guides and directs your students’ union in its mandate to provide services, support, and advocacy for AU students and is part of creating an online AU student community. The students you elect to student council will be the ones deciding what priorities AUSU focuses on.
Your vote helps determine who sits on council and impacts YOUR AU experience.
How does the Election work?
AUSU is the AU Students’ Union, and represents the undergraduate students of Athabasca University (the “membership”). The AUSU membership elects AU students to represent them on AUSU student council. For the 2020 AUSU By-election, there are 4 vacant council seats to fill. The council term for the new councillors elected in the by-election would be from September, 2020 to the end of the normal 2-year term in April, 2022.
Students will be invited to nominate themselves to run for council July 24 to August 7, 2020. The official candidates will be announced on August 12, 2020.
Candidates can campaign to the membership prior to and during the election period. Campaigning will include candidate biographies on our website, and candidates may also campaign through the AU Student Mobile App, on the AUSU Forum, or social media. The AUSU website will be kept up to date with campaign and candidate information, and regular updates will be posted to social media as well as circulated to all AUSU members by email.
Voting will be done by electronic ballot, which will be circulated to all AUSU members on August 25, 2020. Voting closes on August 31, 2020 at midnight Mountain Time. A public teleconference meeting will be held on September 3, 2020 to announce the election results, following which the election results will also be posted online.
The newly elected councillors will take office in September 2020. Their term on council will continue until April, 2022 in alignment with our regular 2-year council term.
There are three executive positions which are filled by internal election from among the elected councillors (President, Vice President External and Student Affairs, and Vice President Finance and Administration). These roles are currently held by President Natasha Donahue, Vice President External and Student Affairs Stacey Hutchings, and Vice President Finance and Administration Monique Durette. Executive positions are held for one year and the next election of executive councillors will occur in the spring of 2021.
The complete election rules are outlined in AUSU Policy 3.01: Election Conduct.
For more information about AUSU elections and election procedures, please review section 3 of the AUSU policy manual, which can be found online here.
For more information about councillor roles, responsibilities, and honorarium, please review section 2 of the AUSU policy manual, found online here.
For any other questions about the 2020 By-Election, please contact the Chief Returning Officer, Bailey Daines, at [email protected].