Last week the Students Representative Council (SRC) voted to move to full membership in the provincial lobby group, the New Brunswick Students’ Alliance (NBSA).
After a few procedural difficulties, including two miscounts, a tie, a councillor showing up late to break said tie, a debate about the interpretation of the bylaws, and a secret ballot, the votes sided with returning to full membership.
The return to full membership will cost the SRC an additional $4700 dollars next year bringing the full membership cost to $9400, not including conference and travel costs.
The SRC moved to associate membership last year, which includes paying only half the fees, a move supported by then vice president external Jordan Tracey.
The decision came after NBSA moved to raise its fees which, according to a letter sent to the SRC by the NBSA, was supported by the representatives from the SRC which included Tracey.
Jen Brown, previous vice president student affairs, recalls the move. “I was happy that we dropped down in NBSA”
“[The SRC] needs to focus on what’s going on on our campus, yes we need to advocate and those things are important, but honestly the SRC should be choosing one. If they are going to be a full member in NBSA they don’t need to be a full member of CASA,” continues Brown who voted to step down to half membership in NBSA last year.
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is a national student advocacy group based in Ottawa.
Tracey, now the current president, opposed the move to full NBSA membership in the discussion at council, sticking to his position from last year, and making the motion to remain as associate members.
Current vice president external, Emily Fox, is pleased with the move and thinks the increase in fees is worth it.
“I thought it was a really great idea, even though our finances are not the best, I think that this is a better use of our students’ money,” says Fox.
“The NBSA has done a lot in the past year advocating for students. I think that the SRC has really benefitted from that.”
The NBSA has had an improved profile in New Brunswick this year, engaging government, and pushing for student issues which have included recent changes to the SEED program that eliminate it’s partisan system of grant distribution.
Lindsay Handren, the executive director of the NBSA commented on the SRC returning to full membership.
“The NBSA is very happy that the Student Representative Council of UNB Saint John has voted to return to full member status.”
“We see the SRC’s decision as a reflection of our success and look forward to working with their incoming executive.”
Even though Fox will not be returning to the SRC next year as an executive, she believes the decision to be a full member of NBSA will benefit students for years to come.
“I think that it’s important that we have our voice heard, as well as help the NBSA do more.”