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The Speaker of the Engineering Society is responsible for running all meetings of the Board of Directors and Engineering Society Council. Until 2011, the Speaker was an Internal Director, elected annually at the Joint Council Meeting. After the creation of the Board of Directors in 2011, the Speaker ceased to be an internal director and simply became an appointee of the Board of Directors. The term Chairman of the Board was then used interchangeably with Speaker to refer to this position. Prior to 2011, the Speaker held a tie-breaking vote on questions before the Council; post-2011 the Speaker has no vote on questions before the Board unless otherwise elected to represent their constituency.

Role in Governance

Although never formalized in the Bylaws, tradition holds that the Speaker should follow the Westminster parliamentary tradition of being unbiased on all questions before the parliamentary body, and never speak in debate. 2011-2012 Speaker Rishi Maharaj broke with this tradition by regularly offering his opinion on matters of governance during and outside meetings of the Board. However, Maharaj never spoke for or against the question before the Board. Through 2011-2012, efforts were made to model the Speaker's role more closely after that of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, that is, someone who leads and guides the direction of the Board while being independent of the Officers.

2012-2013 Speaker Mauricio Curbelo completed the transition from a neutral Westminster-style Speaker to the American-style Speaker as a full member of the body (though non-voting) by routinely participating in debate and occasionally speaking to the main question. Amendments to the Elections Bylaw in 2012 gave the Speaker a permanent seat on the Election Rules Committee and a reserve seat on the Election Appeals Committee, further cementing their role as a senior member of the Society.

The addition of section 5.10.8 to Bylaw 1 in 2012 granted the Speaker the authority to bar Board members from voting on questions where they had a conflict of interest. This section was instituted in response to the refusal of 2011-2012 Board members Wayne Lin, Amanda Bell, and Nicole Tavares to abstain from voting on the question of holding a referendum to institute a designated fee portion for Skule Nite (of which they were prominent members). Further Bylaw 1 amendments granted the Speaker similar authority to that of the President to call emergency meetings, in an effort to balance the authority of the executive to control access to the democratic process of general meetings.

Current and Past Speakers

Year Speaker
2022-2023 Amanda Plotnik ECE 2T2+PEY
2021-2022 Benjamin Morehead ECE 2T1+PEY
2020-2021 Zahir Firoze Indy 2T1+PEY
2019-2020 Aleksei Wan ECE 1T9+PEY
2018-2019 Carol Yeung Indy 1T8+PEY
2017-2018 Andrew Kidd NΨ 1T8+PEY
2016-2017 Eric Bryce NΨ 1T8
2015-2016 Billy Graydon ECE 1T6+PEY
2014-2015 Tabish Gilani Mech 1T6
2013-2014 Matthew Lattavo Civ 1T4+PEY
2012-2013 Mauricio Curbelo Civ 1T3+PEY
2011-2012 Rishi Maharaj NΨ 1T2+PEY
2010-2011 Zoriana Workun Civ 1T2
2009-2010 Alvin Ho Elec 0T9+PEY
2008-2009 Billy Wong Civ 1T0+PEY
2007-2008 David Clease Mech 1T0+PEY
2006-2007 Ryan Campbell NΨ 0T7+13
2005-2006 Adam Gravitis NΨ 0T6
2004-2005 Henry Cheung NΨ 0T7+PEY
2003-2004 Craig Burkett NΨ 0T5
2002-2003 Neil Padgett Comp 0T2+PEY