Although illness, course crush, and the holiday season created a significant delay, we are finally able to bring you the report about the November 17, 2022 Council Meeting. Fortunately, the meeting turned out to be quite short on activity, though it was a long session.
The meeting was called into order on November 17, 2022, at 6:30 pm, running through the usual business such as attendance, land acknowledgement, and passing the previous minutes and the agenda unopposed.
AUSU council reviewed the status of action items including further changes to the Awards policy, the policy for Member Representatives on AUSU committees, and adjustments to the Executive retreats to make them more cost efficient and accessible/effective. The Awards Policy adjustments had been completed and were on the current agenda, the other two were still ongoing.
New Indigenous Circle Appointment
Vice President External and Indigenous Circle Representative Trishtina Godoy-Contois moved to appoint Jessica Anderson to the AUSU Indigenous Circle for the 2022-2023 term. VP Godoy-Contois spoke on the appointment “More or less, this is an individual [we learned about] through the hard, hard work of Natalia and some of the staff members putting on Indigenous week, it came from the fruits of that effort, so we are really excited to have Jessica join us, and we met with her already, so I am quite excited to see what she brings and see how this plays into the next steps of the Indigenous Circle.” The motion passed unanimously. If you want to get to know the newest member of the Indigenous Circle, check out the October 21, 2022, edition of Minds We Meet, where Voice Writer Natalia Iwanek talks to Jessica Anderson.
When reviewing changes to the discipline policy, the policy that Councillors and AUSU staff themselves must adhere to, questions arose about a clause that states the complaints committee must agree unanimously. If they do not, the committee would have two choices: dismiss the complaint or have it reviewed by a neutral third party. Initially, President Fletcher wanted clarification on how it would be decided; Councillor Blake Collett explained that it was advised to be written this way to give the committee leeway to be effective, adding they could remove the option of dismissing the complaint. VP Godoy-Contois agreed; however, she was concerned that the finance committee would have to approve the expense of a third-party review as it would likely be outside of the budget and asked how they would get the approval of the cost while still keeping the complaint confidential. There was a lot of discussion around this issue; Councillor Collett stated that the details would not need to be divulged to the finance committee to receive approval and that it would largely be a formality as the Finance Committee is required to approve the expense as per the policy. The motion passed with the amendment to remove the option to dismiss the complaint; Councillor Allie Wojtaszek abstained.
The Council then went in-camera for a confidential motion. When they returned, President Fletcher motioned that BIRT council approves the executive committee seeking HR mediation, and the motion passed. Nothing outside of that was divulged, including why HR mediation might be required.
A Long Short Meeting
Although little on the agenda had been addressed, the length of time the in-camera session took meant that the meeting had already run past schedule, so President Fletcher motioned to table the remainder of the session until the December meeting, except for some updates and closing remarks. This was quickly accepted.
Exciting News for Student Loan Holders!
President Fletcher announced that Canada Student Loans had become interest-free this month due to the work of CASA. “That’s a big deal; that will save students a lot of money” Fletcher said.
Additionally, the maximum annual income for recent grads to delay the commencement of their payment plan increased from $25,000 to $40,000 in the Repayment Assistance Plan Program. “So that gives recent graduates a lot more breathing room – that’s really, really great for new grads, and our students will benefit from that” Duncan noted that this only applies to federal student loans, not provincial student loans.
Check out what council is up to at www.ausu.org on their news page and find upcoming events on their events page.