It’s time for an update from the Gallery! The AUSU council met on Monday, July 23, and here are some of the highlights.
Council has been busy, and ten items were up for voting and approval. Most of the policy amendments had already been opened and discussed by email, so the only thing to do during the meeting was ratify the vote on each of them. (If You’re interested in reading the AUSU policies, you can check them out on the website at http://www.ausu.org/bylaws/policies.php).
For most of the changes and new policies, everyone was in agreement, but there was one interesting exception. AUSU is looking into the benefits of participating with the Coalition for Student Loan Fairness (CSLF), a group of student loan borrowers who support fairness in the process of repaying loans. One of council’s recent proposals was the idea of giving CSLF a $3,000 honorarium to help fund some of their work, a research project called ?The Canada Student Loans Program: Solutions to Improve Public Confidence and Operational Effectiveness.? It sounds like a good idea, especially if it might result in some positive changes for AU students who use student loans.
While the motion was approved, the vote wasn’t unanimous, and now I’m curious to find out more. (From listening in on a few meetings, I know that councillors are really well versed in the minutia of policies and bylaws, so I’d like to find out a little more about councillors? thoughts on this.) I’ll check into it and report back in the next Gallery.
In the Reports section of the meeting, there were a few items of note. First, council has narrowed its search for an auditor, and the field is down to three. Second, the Awards Committee was able to give out two emergency bursaries after sorting out a discrepancy in how GPAs were being calculated. It seems that AU was using a lifetime GPA in the criteria, but the process has been remedied and students were awarded the funds.
The last interesting note is about the AUSU website itself. It was brought to council’s attention that recent minutes of council meetings weren’t posted on the site. Apparently, there was a glitch in the system and even though the minutes were posted they weren’t visible. The problem’s been fixed, though, and if you want to read about what’s been happening in past meetings, you can find everything at http://www.ausu.org/council/minutes.php.
It’s also been suggested to council (via the AUSU discussion boards) that they need to improve their communication with students. Specifically, it was requested that councillors read through all the posts and look for questions or issues addressed to them, and also that notices about council meetings be posted on the discussion boards. This point was brought up in the meeting, and I have to say that I agree with council’s reasoning on this: there’s already a central place to find information.
Council meetings are posted weeks in advance on the main page of the AUSU site (although it was agreed that the calendar could be placed in a more prominent position). All the contact information is there, so my question is, why duplicate the effort? I think the discussion boards are great, but if I have a question I’m going to go straight to the source. It makes more sense to get good, reliable information from council, and then, if you think It’s something other students might be interested in, use the boards to share the facts.
In August, council will hold some key meetings with AU staff, including the new registrar Jim D?Arcy. The next formal meeting is September 24, so I’ll be back to listen in and let you know what’s new!