A council meeting was held on March 23/2004. All members of the student council were in attendance, as were some members of the new student council and a couple of reporters for the Voice.
First on the agenda was the results from the recent student council elections which were held on-line between March 16th and 20th, 2004. The results were very close and the new council members are as follows:
The changeover will take pace sometime in the month of April, 2004. The biggest challenge for our new council will be to find ways to deal effectively with AU’s diverse student population.
Next on the agenda was web-hosting. There have been some problems with our current web-hosting company and possibility of switching to another was discussed. The new one has many advantages, the most important being the fact that it is one quarter of the price AUSU is currently being charged. The other advantages include more flexibility as far as the council web staff being able to set up and manage council mailboxes, more mailboxes, which AUSU needs, and more web space. All the way around, it is a much better deal for AUSU. The council will look into the possibility of making the change starting in April, 2004. [ed. the change is well under way, and nearly complete at time of publication!]
Another item of interest discussed was whether or not to post the minutes of the meetings on-line. The reason there needed to be a discussion about this is due to the new privacy laws recently enacted. Some things discussed at council meetings are sensitive and subject to the new privacy laws. However it was decided that that it would be stipulated at the beginning of the meetings whether or not the minutes would be posted on-line. Council has decided to post executive meeting reports beginning with the next meeting, with the feeling that reports are far more descriptive and informative than meeting minutes.
The job-ads that are posted in The Voice were also on the agenda. A few companies post jobs in the Voice that may be of interest to students. However as there has been more of an interest recently, the subject came up of charging the company posting the ad a minimal fee for an extended posting or if an AU student is hired. Until now, the postings have been free, but with the new interest, it is an opportunity for the Voice to make some money.
The meeting ended with a question period where a few more points about the items on the agenda were clarified.
First on the agenda in this month’s AUSU council meeting was the announcement of the newly elected student council, [whose names are currently available on the front page of the website.] Within a couple of weeks they will all be meeting, along with the old council, and the official changeover will be in effect.
Now, while the new AUSU council was elected by you, it wasn’t elected by very many of you, and there is some concern over the lack of participation when it comes to polls posted on the AUSU website. These polls are not just random questions — they can and have been used as anecdotal evidence for the council to bring to AU when it comes to student issues. Take for example the latest poll on the AUSU front page — the question posed was about the quality of course materials. Only 75 votes were submitted – and out of those, only 43 people reported that they had received photocopied course materials. In a student body of over 30,000, forty-three is not exactly substantial representation! It literally only takes a second to vote, and I encourage you all to make your voices heard.
In other quick mentions, the council is looking into a few new options for the website — mainly in the web hosting and advertising area. One popular idea was to improve the job posting board by working with companies to provide new job opportunities and internships specifically tailored to AU students. Currently, advertisers are receiving free advertising on the AUSU site. Again, there may be a poll asking students their opinion on any ideas like this — if you have an opinion, give it!
Also on the website, executive reports on council meetings will be posted, instead of the current council minutes, so that you, the student, can be more extensively informed of new developments- something worth consideration, as the new council moves into position within the next month. (And with that, I wish them the very best!)