Council Connection

Athabasca University is not closing and your credits are safe.

Aren’t you glad The Voice Magazine‘s writers attend AUSU’s monthly council meetings to bring you news you need in a timely basis? Sitting in on meetings listening to discussions on policy is sometimes?dare I say it?boring. Judging from the number of other student observers who attended this Wednesday’s meeting (ie. none) I’m not the only one who thinks so.

However, among the policies, reports, and “be it resolved that” motions, there are gems of information that make attendance worthwhile. You can wait for a month or two to access the meeting minutes and reports on AUSU’s website, or wait two days and read the highlights in The Voice.

The meeting of Wednesday, March 11 got underway shortly after 5:30pm MST and lasted one hour and one minute. The first item of note was a ratification of an earlier e-mail vote, which will see AU pony up $5000 to sponsor convocation lunches, in conjunction with AUGSA. The next three items were updates to policies 9.06 Technology and Infrastructure, 9.12 Course and Program Development, and 9.16 Co-op Programs and Job Placement.

The final two action items concerned motions to repeal two policies: 9.17 Lowering Inter-Provincial Barriers, and 9.18 Student Financial Aid System. There was minimal discussion on these items, with the consensus being that 9.17 was redundant, and 9.18, which resolved that AUSU will lobby for more non-repayable grants and bursaries for students in need, was no longer realistic.

A review of submitted reports from various individuals and committees took up the remaining 20 minutes of the meeting. As usual, the full reports are initially distributed to council members only, but will be posted with the meeting minutes in a month or so. Here’s a summary of discussion around the reports:

– in his President’s Report, AUSU Council President Jason Nixon commented on the recent rumours that AU is merging with the University of Alberta. Jason remarked that rumours of this nature were cropping up over a year ago but have no substance. It’s true that AU, along with the rest of Alberta, is facing sustainability issues. A task force composed of AU, student representatives, and government officials has been set up to address AU’s issues and will report back in June. Jason is one of the task force members. Jason stressed that student credentials are safe and AU is not shutting down.
– regarding the vacant Executive Director position at AUSU, Jason commented that the hiring process is moving along and they expect to have the position filled shortly.
– in her report, VP Finance Corrina Green observed that nobody has seen AU’s budget yet which is giving rise to rumours and anger around AU watercoolers.
– in her Office Coordinator’s report, AUSU’s Karyna Hochachka advised that the AUSU office had a productive month. they’re still fielding phone calls about the new healthcare plan, along with inquiries about the student planner and lynda.com.

The next AUSU meeting will be on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. It remains to be verified if this will be AUSU’s AGM meeting. If it is, all AUSU members are invited to attend and have their voices heard. For information, contact AUSU at 1-855-497-7003 or admin@ausu.org. admin@ausu.org.

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