Council Connection

June 26, 2016

On June 26th at 10:00am, council held its in-person meeting in Edmonton, but members were also allowed to join via teleconference. The meeting was called by President Wasylyshyn. Five councillors attended in person, and one by teleconference, but there were three Councillors who were absent including Philip Kirkbride, Dixie Tolver, and Josh Cross. The meeting was almost exactly one hour long, and brief discussions were made.

The first motion on the agenda was appointing Scott Jacobsen as the AUSU Council representative on the joint AUSU/Voice Action Committee.

The agenda and minutes of previous meetings passed quite quickly, with Council then moving to look at the action plan for AUSU. The time spent reviewing the action plan for the previous meetings was very brief.

The first policy that was reviewed was regarding executive accountability and compensation. This policy is made to ensure the accountability and compensation of AUSU executive Councillors. The policy speaks of time commitment and scheduling, reporting and accountability, and compensation benefits for AUSU executive Councillors. The suggested revisions relate to the banking and taking time in lieu for excess executive hours. For example, executive Councillors will receive equivalent time in lieu for all work, as sanctioned by the executive committee, performed in excess of the base hours per week. Also, another change states that when an executive councillor travels away from home overnight on behalf of AUSU, each full day shall be counted as 10 hours of work, instead of the previous 12 hours of work.

This change to the policy was made retroactive, to deal with the problem that sparked the discussion in the first place, and some Councillors shared their personal views on how this policy will affect them.

On a lighter note, the Councillors were munching on homemade chocolate chip cookies. Andrew Grey, who was attending via teleconference from British Colombia, even joked about sending him some of those delicious cookies. However, we all know that by the time the cookies reach BC, they wont be that delicious anymore.

Moving on, the next policy revision was regarding the joint Council/Voice action plan committee. I think this policy is very important as it directly involves The Voice Magazine. The AUSU Council unanimously passed a motion to work collaboratively with The Voice to help create a meaningful action plan to improve the publication and increase readership by providing non-financial support to The Voice Magazine. The Voice Editor, Karl Low, was even welcome to share his opinion regarding the policy. However, since the policy was very clear, there was little discussion to be made.

During the weekend prior to the meeting, the Councillors spent a great deal of time reviewing AUSU position policies. They discussed possible motions to adopt new polices as well as review or repeal some policies.

Finally came the question and answer period, but there were no questions being asked as it was a brief meeting. The Councillors then started talking about what happened on Friday’s June 24th meet and greet. They said it was a huge success, some of AU’s faculty members attended and even an AU student. The Councillors were happy to see him, rushing to hand him cookies as a form of welcome, and were impressed at how aware the student was about various student issues and how he was was unafraid to question the faculty present about these items. This seemed especially helpful as the student was asking about many of the same things that Council has been asking about as well. The Councillors noted that this meet and greet was nice as it brought distance education students together. I believe these meet and greets should be held more often as they make students feel less alone. Also it helps students understand that there are other people who share similar concerns.

Overall, the meeting was one-hour long, and there were brief discussions throughout the meeting. It was mentioned that the next AUSU Council meeting will be on August 9th, as July will be very hard to book with various holidays, and is also generally a slower period for AUSU. With that, at 11:06am the meeting was adjourned.

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