For this week’s issue of The Manitoban, I reported on a motion that was brought forward to impeach Canadian Federation of Students-Manitoba chairperson Alanna Makinson by CFS-Manitoba Local 96, the University of Manitoba Graduate Students Association (UMGSA) at a Feb. 10 Special General Meeting.
The motion alleged Makinson “failed to consult with executive members with respect to her activities in relation to the operations of the Manitoba CFS,” according to a copy of the meeting’s agenda obtained by the Manitoban:
“The motion also claimed that Makinson had failed to communicate in the official languages of Canada, violating National CFS Bylaw 13; had not met with all member locals on their campuses, ‘which resulted in a lack of participations and disconnect between member locals within Manitoba CFS’; and that issues of communication, meeting timelines and deliverables, and violations of the bylaws ‘were brought forward to the attention of the chairperson by phone, email and at provincial executive meetings without resolution’,” reported The Manitoban.
The motion was defeated, with only two of the five CFS Manitoba locals, UMGSA and Association etudiante du College universitaire de Saint-Boniface (AECUSB), supporting the motion.
Makinson told The Manitoban she was “taken aback” when she saw the motion, and felt that “there were many, many opportunities built in through our democratic structures, the provincial executive, to direct any concerns that they might have.”
UMGSA president Meaghan Labine explained that the motion was not meant to be “hostile”, but an attempt to resolve concerns she says UMGSA had brought up on numerous occasions, stressing that they were primarily concerned with holding provincial staff accountable.
“This isn’t a high school club. You have to treat people professionally and set clear mandates and communicate effectively [ . . . ]” said Labine,.
“We need to see results for our graduate students; there’s limited time, there’s limited resources, and you only get a year to be effective.”
A motion was also brought forward by the graduate students association for the creation of a development and review committee to examine the performance of provincial office staff and full-time chairperson, which was tabled for further review by the provincial executive committee.
While Makinson told The Manitoban that CFS Manitoba had no problem with conducting performance reviews, she felt “they definitely need to be done in a proper way.”
“We don’t want to create an attacking environment; we don’t want to create a hostile environment,” Makinson said.