The first meeting for the newly elected Councillors was held October 13th, but aside from that, the meeting was fairly routine. As the meeting started, however, the new councillors were not quite part of the official group, as it first needed to go over old business, and then administer the oath of office.
Agenda, and minutes from the two meetings held (the regular AUSU council meeting in September and the special one held to accept the results of the election in October) were both quickly accepted, and a review of the action items noted that they were all essentially complete as the new councillors joined the group. A new point was added to make sure that the new Councillors take the governance training that AUSU provides to the Councillors.
The old council then moved on to ratify an email motion that had been passed between the two meetings. This motion was to approve the award of one additional student service award (worth $1000) for this award cycle to honor the contribution of outgoing president Peter MacKinnon.
With that, the old business was complete, and the oath of office was administered, in its usual chaotic fashion, where Councillors all recite the oath at the same time, well, more or less. Getting several people in sync over a teleconference isn’t easy, and the results are usually good for a brief laugh.
Committee seats were then filled, with new councillor Robin Bleich taking seats on both the awards and the finance committee, and new councillor Amanda Lipinski taking a seat on the awards committee.
Council also passed a large motion to continue to pay former VP External, Brandon Simmons, $200 per month for him continuing to be AUSU’s representative on governing council, and doing the work that requires, until the Minister of Advanced Education passes an order appointing the new VP External, Julian Teterenko, in his place. This motion came as a surprise to Brandon, who said that whether it passed or not, he would continue to attend meetings and put in the time required to do so meaningfully, but that he certainly appreciated the gesture from AUSU. It was noted by President Shawna Wasylyshyn that AUSU has no provisions in policy for a non-executive councillor to be part of the Board of Governors, which is why the motion contained many “WHEREAS” clauses to ensure that the reasoning for this action was on record. This motion passed unanimously, and like all AUSU motions, will be able to be seen in full on the AUSU Minutes page after the next meeting.
The next item on the agenda was Shawna Wasylyshyn giving a brief review of AUSU’s current report to the stakeholders about the retroactive changes being applied in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, which I talked about briefly in my editorial “Changing the Program”
Only two policies were changed at this meeting. The first was about dealing with absences on AUSU committees of non-council members. Since non-council members get a nominal fee for participating in AUSU committees, it was noted that there should be something in place to make sure they’re actually providing some input and value to the committee, and something was needed in policy to address if that did not happen. The second change was to broaden the awards policy to ensure that people seeking emergency bursaries for supplementary exams were not disallowed due to their contract ending before the request for the supplementary exam could be submitted.
Finally, the reports to Council were presented, but no questions were raised about any of them by the Councillors.
With that, the October meeting adjourned.