On March 20th AUSU council convened for a regularly scheduled council meeting. Present were AUSU council, with the exception of Gurpreet Dulai, Voice Editor Tamra Ross Low, and AUSU Admin Assistant, Carla Benavides. The meeting started at 8:45 pm, at which time the minutes of the March 4 council meeting were presented and discussed, and after a couple of minor revisions these were passed and the agenda for the current meeting was also approved.
The first item of business was the resignation of Gurpreet Dulai, AUSU Secretary Treasurer. This was accepted by all council members. Sandra Moore was then asked if she would like to continue with her motion of dismissal against Mr. Dulai, and she questioned if this was even possible after his resignation had been entered. President Debbie Jabbour explained that the motion could still be pursued as a matter of record, but Ms. Moore felt that this was not necessary and the motion was withdrawn.
Next, council had a lengthy discussion over how to deal with the leased laptop computer that Mr. Dulai had been using in his position as treasurer. Ms. Jabbour reminded council that the councillor’s computer purchase plan had often been discussed, but had not been finalized. As a reference, she mentioned that Athabasca University has a plan whereby they will purchase computers for staff who require them, and depreciate the computer over three years. If the employee leaves within that three year time period, then they can choose to purchase the computer at the depreciated amount.
Council felt that this was a reasonable plan, and if Mr. Dulai should choose he could purchase his one year old laptop computer for about 1/3 off the original price, with details to be finalized later. Additionally, Mr. Dulai is eligible for the council service honorarium of $10 for each month he served on the current council, as are all councillors who leave council in good standing.
The next item on the agenda was the nomination for the new AUSU secretary treasurer. President Jabbour suggested that Sandra Moore be considered for the position because for many months she had been putting in the same number of hours as an executive council member already, and clearly she had the commitment for the job, plus she has done bookkeeping for other groups. Sandra was asked if she has any formal finance training, and she replied that she holds a diploma in computerized accounting. Council unanimously agreed that Ms. Moore is the best choice for the position of secretary treasurer and asked Ms. Moore if she would be willing to take on the position. She agreed and council voted unanimously that she be the new Secretary Treasurer.
Next President Jabbour informed council of the results of her proposals asking AU to use a small surplus in finds to reduce the tuition of students who take multiple courses. This idea is based on the fact that multiple course tuition is lower in most universities and that AU students should receive the same benefit. AU replied that this program would be too difficult to administer but they would consider it in the future. Instead, AU proposed using the surplus funds to reduce the differential fee for students outside Alberta.
Council debated for some time on this issue, questioning why the reduction was only being offered out of province and not to all students. It was noted that a large portion of AU’s growth is from out of province, and that the out of province fee makes AU tuition quite high in some markets. On the other hand, I brought up that Alberta gives significant tax dollars to AU, but no other province does, therefore Albertan’s are already supporting AU in more than one way. Some councillors felt that growth benefits all students, so the AU proposal may be reasonable.
After much debate, the decision of AU council was that it could not support lower tuition increases for one group of students, and not others. Therefore council decided they would ask that the funds be applied to reduce the tuition of all AUSU members, or they be used to purchase improved services or to hire more tutors.
[read next week’s Voice to learn what AU decided on this matter.]
Following these items there was a brief discussion of items that would be handled during the weekend councillor retreat, and which items – such as the new AUSU bylaws – must be completed prior to the upcoming Annual General Meeting in May. All other items and reports were tabled until the next council meeting, and the meeting was adjourned around 11:30 pm.
AUSU has also had many recent discussions about the upcoming AGM, which is shaping up to be a fantastic event! This year’s AGM will mark AUSU’s 10th anniversary, as well as 10 years in publication for the Voice. Read the Voice and watch the AUSU website for updates on this event and how you can be involved.
THIS WEEK: The AUSU website features a new tutor profile. Go to http://www.ausu.org to learn more about AU Anthropology and Indigenous Studies tutor, Theresa Ferguson.