The first order of business was a review of current action items. The only item on this month’s agenda was to relate to council that the final auditor copy of the budget had been signed and completed, and an email vote by the AUSU Executive was completed, which concluded the ratification of the AUSU budget.
Council then moved to its new business. President Brandon Simmons noted that the upcoming Executive election will take place at 5 pm MST on Thursday, March 7th, 2019. The Executive Election is held just among council members, where all of AUSU Council will vote on which three members will be their leaders.
The next major section of new business was a motion to move the meeting in-camera to discuss some sensitive business regarding a member of the council. During an in-camera session, those attendees at the meeting who are not on the current council will be asked to leave the meeting during the discussion and will be invited to rejoin the meeting to observe the decisions and any motions arising from the closed discussion.
The motion to move in-camera was defeated unanimously, with it noted that councillors felt no need to discuss the upcoming motion further.
The subsequent proposed motion, which was to respectfully dismiss councillor Darcie Fleming from AUSU Council for accruing two or more full absences from council and committee meetings without sufficient notice in a twelve-month period, by being absent from the November 14th, 2018, and February 5th, 2019, Finance Committee meetings, was then brought forward and voted on by secret ballot as per AUSU policy. This motion was defeated by the secret ballot vote, with 1 aye, 11 nay ballots received. There was no further discussion by council.
The meeting immediately moved to its next piece of business, which was regarding policy changes to several awards and bursaries. The “#IGoToAU” award has been made a permanent award after its initial trial. Executive Director, Jodi Campbell, noted that this award was designed to reflect the current culture and work that AU is doing now. President Simmons asked for clarification about the “#IGoToAU” permanent award name when this was also the title of a previous AUSU contest. Jodi Campbell said that the awards committee decided to keep the award name as well as the hashtag. They wanted the award to have an online feel to it, and the video component to the award would give it a relevant and ‘trendy” feel. This award is very much a student engagement award.
The awards committee has started to use the hashtag more to engage students more and create a feeling of AU pride which would hopefully lead more student involvement. Communications and Member Services Coordinator, Donette Kingyens, also noted that this award was different than the awards associated with “professional” faculties and occupations and so the hashtag gave this award a more modern vibe than professional awards. Jodi Campbell added that this award also takes advantage of the branding that AU and AUSU has undertaken in the past two years.
In other award news, the computer bursary was changed from a possible twelve to fourteen awards but with a slightly decreased amount available per award, as computer bursaries are the highest used awards. Hopefully, this change will mean that more AU students can be helped by this bursary.
Additionally, the amount of money available for Emergency Bursary awards was reduced from $6,000 to $4,000, however it was noted that applications for the Emergency Bursary have never topped $3,000 in a year, so it was felt that reducing the total available to $4,000 left in enough room for any applications that might come forward, while freeing up money for other uses in awards, such as the now permanent #IGoToAU award.
The next section of the meeting were the councillor reports. President Simmons highlighted the recent Executive retreat that was very successful with goal-setting and planning. He also highlighted AUSU’s role in helping Ontario advocacy, which took the form of participation in a letter signed by many post-secondary student councils across Canada which was sent to Ontario Premier Doug Ford listing concerns to changes of post-secondary funding in that province.
The Vice-President and External Affairs report discussed AU’s comprehensive course review that is underway. Some courses have been dropped and some will be dropped in the future, and some new courses are in the process of being created. However, the course review and subsequent course creation process will happen over a long-time frame. It was also noted that AU is seeking to open up new programs, with both the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Faculty of Science in the process of creating or submitting proposals for new programs and courses, but no results should be expected from this process before 2020.
VPEX Melinda Goertz also noted that AUSU is in the process of revamping its website and logo and that council should stay tuned for developments. AUSU’s new Podcast is under production and new episodes have been recorded and will be released when they are ready.
Executive Director Jodi Campbell’s report affirmed President Simmons’ pride in the recent retreat, saying that he was really happy with outcome and positive intention. AUSU is making improved communication with students a priority and is creating many new initiatives to reach that goal. He also noted that AUSU has now received its first new members list. This is something with a long history at AUSU, as the lists that AU has been willing to give to AUSU previously about its own members have been lacking in a lot of detail that AUSU could use to personalize how they deal with various members. One example was that the new list will let AUSU see what students are new to the university but are not just visiting students, so AUSU can provide them with more information about the services they might want to access from AUSU.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 PM.
The next AUSU meetings are:
Thursday, March 14th, 2019, 6:30pm MST
Thursday, April 11th, 2019, 6:30pm MST