From the Gallery

The AUSU public council meeting on November 16 was a busy one, so grab your favourite mug and settle in because there are plenty of updates to share.

To begin with, the vote ratifications contained standard items like the purchase of a new mail meter and a new position policy on copyright. But there was another key item that members should be aware of.

AUSU policy 2.08 sets out the rules for council meeting attendance as well as absences. In accordance with that policy a vote was ratified to remove councillor Heather Fraser from Council, due to three full absences from monthly meetings in a one-year period. (You can read the relevant policy section, 2.08.7, here.)

And while You’re in the policy manual, you may want to check out section 3.0 because the upcoming General Election date has been set. The election for the AUSU 2010-2012 Council will take place March 7, 2010, and the four-day voting period includes one weekend day. You’ll find more details on the AUSU website as the election gets closer, so don’t forget to check for updates regularly.

Another interesting note concerns the possibility of AU implementing plagiarism-detection software. The use of such software has generated a lot of debate both in the media and among students and educators. Council has appointed President Karl Low to represent AUSU on the AU Academic Council’s ad hoc committee as it weighs the pros and cons of the issue.

In awards news, the latest AU Honours List is now online! Thanks in part to lobbying on this issue by Council, the honours list now uses ?the last 30 credits that contributed to the 30, 60, 90 or 120 credit point? of an undergrad program to calculate a student’s GPA. If you think your name should be on the list, or aren’t sure if you qualify, check out AU’s Undergraduate Honours List policy for details.

Still on the topic of awards, one item put forward during the meeting was from the Awards Committee, which requested that undistributed funds of $14,500 from previous Academic Achievement awards be distributed in the form of additional AUSU bursaries, returning student awards, computer bursaries, and travel bursaries. Council approved the motion unanimously and the Awards Committee plans to notify recipients soon.

Various student awards may be getting a boost, but one service That’s set to disappear is the Lock Loan Program. Through this program, students taking exams at the Calgary or Edmonton campus could borrow an AUSU lock to secure their valuables. However, large and continued losses made the program too costly to continue. Ultimately, the expense of replacing the locks costs all AU students, and Council regretfully passed a motion to cancel the program. These sturdy combination locks really are handy, so if you want to buy one (for a very reasonable $4) just check out the latest AUSU Student Gear catalogue.

Other interesting plans are in the works though, including a newly created AUSU brochure. This small, colourful brochure will be packed with quick information bites on AUSU services and help promote them to students. The 2010 AUSU Planners are well underway too, so don’t forget to watch the AUSU homepage for updates on how to order.

And an item in the VP Finance report is sure to be of interest to students who get writer’s cramp just thinking about exams: there has been some discussion about AU moving away from paper-based exams. It will likely be quite some time before (or even if) such a move becomes reality, but it would definitely be good news when it comes to essay questions!

The next public council meeting is scheduled for January 18, and all AUSU members are welcome. See you there, From the Gallery.