Council Connection – June 8, 2017 Meeting

The June 8, 2017 meeting of Council was a little different in that it was held in person in Athabasca, with most of the Council gathered there for convocation. Starting at 3:31 pm, some basic housekeeping business was handled with the agenda before moving on to the motions. The first two motions passed were repeats of the motions voted on by the students at the AGM. Since the Post-Secondary Learning Act says that the Student Union Council is the body with authority to pass motions for the Student Union, AUSU Council ratified the votes held at the AGM confirming that AUSU Council does approve them.

The next motion was to include the Single Parent Bursary in the 2017/2018 fiscal year as a temporary bursary, with one available at each awards deadline. It was noted that this bursary was originally a temporary bursary in the 2016/2017 fiscal year, but as it was not awarded, the Awards committee is looking to make some minor changes to the award, such as a reduction in the requried credits, to see if applicants will come forward, and require that council approve the extension of the temporary term for another year to bring those changes to fruition. This was approved unanimously.

A second motion was then brought forward from the Awards committee to increase the number of Balanced Student Awards and Returning Student Awards from two to four in the next fiscal year. A considerable amount of discussion then ensued on if this would require changes to policy and the current budget. Kim Newsome explained that the change would be for next year; the awards committee was recommending this change because those two award categories see the highest number of applicants while there remained $9,200 within the total awards budget that was unallocated to any specific award. Shawna noted that this $9,200 figure was inaccurate because some of those unallocated funds should have been allocated into the computer bursary fund when the policy was changed to award more computers, but that had not been properly done.

Executive Director Jodi Campbell noted that the motion would not change the current budget at all, as the increase would not take affect until the next awards cycle, which will be included in the next AUSU budget. However, policy changes would be required to reflect the different number of awards and to ensure that the next budget included the increased amounts.

Council became concerned about whether this motion was the proper way to go about this change, or whether what was needed was a policy change to the awards policy, which then would flow into the budget for next. This would require the creation of a number of action items for Council to follow up on to ensure that the changes were made, but this motion should not be passed until those policy changes were made. There was discussion about defeating the motion, but concerns were raised about the appearance of Council defeating a motion to increase a number of awards even if their intention was to increase those awards but through a policy change rather than a simple motion.

In the end, Council seemed to come to the consensus that the best course of action would be simply to have the motion withdrawn, which the mover and seconder agreed to.

The third motion to come from awards committee was to change the name of the Student Services Award to the Student Volunteer Award to better reflect the intent of the award. This passed unanimously with little discussion.

Finally, following some updates to the grammar of AUSU Council’s position policy on deregulation of tuition, Council started into the reports.

From the reports it was noted that AUSU was given a position on the General Faculties Council adhoc governance committee, which is looking at exactly how the GFC governs itself and specifically to do with how individual faculties are able to change and adjust their programs.

Also, it was reconfirmed that student e-mail addresses for AU will finally be rolled out to students by the end of summer. From personal experience, I would not suggest having high hopes for this deadline to be met.

Finally, Council and Exec took VPFA Scott Jacobsen to task for his reports as they were lacking detail and presented in such a manner that made it appear as if he had not worked the hours required, although Shawna confirmed that she had previously aided Scott and was confident that those hours had been worked, just not properly reported. It was also noted that action items weren’t being properly tracked by the new VPFA. It was suggested that this could be because of the recent transition, with Scott not fully understanding the requirements of the position and the current executive not being aware of that misunderstanding. In the end, Council was concerned enough about the VPFA reports that they chose to approve all but his, which they were going to correct and submit again during the next meeting, which will be held on July 11th at 5:30pm MST.

The meeting adjourned at 4:55pm.