Council Connection—May 16, 2024

The AUSU Council convened on May 16, 2024, at 6:03 PM Mountain Time for a meeting on Zoom, highlighting the human resource expenditure, committee appointments of members-at-large, and monthly reports from the council executives.

Welcome and Land Acknowledgement

President Chantel Groening commenced the meeting from Ottawa at the Canadian Alliance of Students Association’s annual Foundations Conference with a land acknowledgement, recognizing the traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples of Canada, including the Inuit, First Nations, and Métis, emphasizing the importance of building equitable relationships with Indigenous learners and staff within AUSU.


All attendees were reminded of the key ethical principles of AUSU: respect for persons, respect for the organization, and respect for the common good.  Attendees were informed that the meeting would be conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order for effectiveness and recorded for accuracy.  The meeting saw full attendance from council members and staff, including:

Council: President Chantel Groening, Vice President External Jan Lehmann, Vice President Finance and Administration Diana Ramirez, Vice President Community and Wellness Olivia Shepherd, Councillors Chimaraoke Akuchie, Faustina Arsenault, Josh Flis, Annette Karien, Tammy Monro, Aiza Nazarmatova, Melanie Rousseau, and Kari Thompson, and the Indigenous Circle voice, Neenah Brown

Staff: Executive Director Jodi Campbell, Governance and Advocacy Coordinator Duncan Wojtaszek, Communications and Member Services Coordinator Ashley Janes, Voice Magazine Managing Editor Karl Low, and Voice Magazine Writer Halen Deng.


Council executives presented their reports for April 2024:

  • President’s Report: President Chantel Groening highlighted her acclimation to the role and the ongoing efforts to address student concerns.
  • Vice President External’s (VPEx) Report: VPEx Jan Lehmann focused on preparatory work and upcoming initiatives.
  • Vice President Finance and Administration’s (VPFA) Report: VPFA Diana Ramirez detailed orientation activities and financial updates.
  • Vice President Community and Wellness’ (VPCW) Report: VPCW Olivia Shepherd shared insights on research and work planning to enhance community and wellness initiatives.
  • Indigenous Circle (IC) Report: IC voice Neenah Brown noted an upcoming meeting to discuss various issues and plans for the Indigenous Circle.
  • Executive Director’s Report: Executive Director Jodi Campbell emphasized the importance of addressing student concerns and complaints with professionalism and provided updates on administrative activities.
Motions and Approvals
  1. Approval of Agenda and Previous Minutes:

The agenda for the May 16, 2024, meeting was approved unanimously, moved by VPCW Shepherd and seconded by Councillor Tammy Monro.

The minutes from the April 18, 2024, meeting were also approved without dissent, moved by Councillor Faustina Arsenault and seconded by Councillor Melanie Rousseau.

  1. Policy Updates:

Informal reviews of the following policies were presented by VPFA Ramirez, with no comments:

  • Policy 8.01 Finance Committee Terms of Reference
  • Policy 8.02 Awards Committee Terms of Reference
  • Policy 8.04 Member Engagement and Communications Terms of Reference
  • Policy 8.08 Executive Compensation Review Committee Terms of Reference
  1. Committee Appointments:

Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee: Amanda Leeman was appointed as a voting member, moved by Councillor Monroe and seconded by Councillor Aiza Nazarmatova.

Finance Committee: Halen Deng and Namrata Mathew were appointed as voting members, moved by Councillor Kari Thompson and seconded by Councillor Chimaraoke Akuchi.

Indigenous Circle Appointments: Neenah Brown, Molly Salter, Ashley Reimer, Amanda Leeman, and Lexis Roy were appointed for 2024-2025, moved by VPCW Shepherd and seconded by Councillor Annette Karien.

Member Engagement and Communications Committee: Desmond Devnich and Deidra Mahabal were appointed as voting members, moved by Councillor Thompson and seconded by VPCW Shepherd.

  1. Human Resources Expenditure:

The council approved an unbudgeted expense of up to $6,000 for human resources services from Salopek and Associates.  The discussion highlighted the necessity and implications of the expenditure.  Despite concerns raised by some members about the cost and the need for competitive quotes, the motion carried with a vote of 7-3.  Key points of the discussion included the importance of handling complaints professionally and the long-term value of maintaining a reliable HR partner.

Question and Answer Period

The Q&A session allowed for open dialogue between councillors and staff.  Key issues discussed included:

Academic Consistency: Faustina raised concerns about some tutors not meeting timelines.  Executive Director Campbell acknowledged the issue and mentioned ongoing discussions with AU to address academic consistency and other priorities.

Cree Language Teaching: Neenah questioned the availability of Cree language courses.  Executive Director Campbell noted ongoing discussions with the Indigenous Centre at AU and the potential to address this topic at an upcoming meeting.

Financial Concerns: Councillor Josh Flis expressed concerns about the HR expenditure, questioning if it was an extenuating circumstance or something that could recur.  Executive Director Campbell reassured the council about the necessity and value of the expenditure, emphasizing the importance of resolving complaints professionally to avoid higher costs in the future.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:24 PM and the next meeting of AUSU Council will be on June 20, 2024.  If you are interested in attending the AUSU Council meeting on Zoom, or if you have any questions about the AUSU Council meeting, contact