The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) is a council composed of a body of students elected by their peers, who are in charge of running the Acadia Students’ Union (ASU). The Council meets weekly on Wednesdays at 5:00 PM in the Beveridge Forum which is located off of the Michener Lounge in the old Students’ Union Building (SUB). Every meeting is open to the public and students are encouraged to attend the meetings to learn more about the decisions being made on their behalf.
This Wednesday, the SRC received a presentation regarding the ASU Act of Incorporation, was given a Fall By-Election Report and quick update on the UPass Moratorium. Additionally, members of council proposed events, welcomed new members and gave various announcements.
ASU Act of Incorporation
The ASU was given a presentation by Ian Morrison, former General Manager, regarding the ASU Act of Incorporation. The presentation began with some background on the existing act which was put into effect on March 27th, 1967. The existing act allowed the ASU to be formed and to create bylaws that are not consistent with the provincial bylaws. Simply, Morrison put, this act outlines what the ASU and SRC can and cannot do. However, Morrison highlighted a few problems found within the Act of Incorporation including that the act states that officers must be elected but executive officers can be appointed, and that the ASU draws its authority from the province.
Morrison discussed how his team has been working to change the act and bring forward a new one titled the Acadia Student Unions’ Act (ASUA). While the document is fairly like the last it does include a few notable changes:
- States the ASU is able to do anything that a natural person can do, they would be only limited by legislation. Although increasingly common in the west, this act would be the only case in Nova Scotia where a union would be considered a natural person.
- Allows the possibility of all officers to be appointed to the council.
The changes in this act would not condemn any past actions of the ASU and would only be in effect from that point onward. Morrison went on to say that the act and referendum questions have been through about eight drafts with the Legislative Council in the past year.
Council would approve the referendum question for the ASUA and a referendum would be held in February 2020. The proposed referendum question is as follows and would require the majority of votes to pass:
“Do you support the adoption, by the legislature of the Province of Nova Scotia and the proposed ASUA including any amendments made to the proposed Act by the Legislature of the Province of Nova Scotia which shall repeal and replace Act to Incorporate Acadia Students union (1967)?”
Sustainability Officer Max Abu Laban raised the concern that by making it possible for the appointment of any officer on council this would be taking away the students’ ability to vote for who they want to hold a position. Answering his concern both Morrison and Robbie Holmes, VP Student Life, explained that the SRC has continually chosen to have a vote in order to promote student democracy and that won’t change but positions such as VP Finance & Operations require a certain skill set that isn’t always present in potential nominees. Holmes went on to say that in the past the SRC has been worried about who may fill the VP Finance & Operations role and this allows them to appoint individuals with the skillset needed and dismiss those who do not obtain this skillset.
Morrison also proposed a referendum question for constitutional change regarding the bylaws which previously called for 25% of the student population being present in a general meeting. The proposed referendum question is as follows and would require two-thirds approval to pass:
“A quoram for a general meeting of the Union shall be 2% of the membership of the Union or 100 members of the Union, whichever is larger”
ASU Fall By-Election Report
Chief Returning Officer Chantelle Peng presented the fall by-election report to members of the council. The SRC needed to fill both the councillor at large and first-year representative positions and the nomination period was open from November 8th-15th, 2019. Peng went on to describe the election schedule the election would’ve taken before explaining to council that due to their only being one candidate for each respective position; however, Peng made the decision to approach Chairperson Sulaman Quershi asking him if he would admit both candidates into the positions, should they accept, under Bylaw 3.
Both candidates accepted the roles of Councillor at Large and First-Year Representative and the election schedule was cancelled by Peng.
Jonah van Driesum, Councillor, resigned from both the Elections Committee and the Hiring Committee in order for the new SRC members to fulfill their requirements. Molly Anderson, Councillor, was nominated and voted into both the Elections and Hiring Committee.
Moratorium on UPass Referendum Update
Originally the council was set to vote on the UPass Moratorium which was sent back from the Governance Committee. Due to new members joining the SRC, not all members were given the chance to review the proposed documents. As a result, the UPass Moratorium has been deferred until next week.
VP Student Life, Robbie Holmes, proposed cleaning the SRC room in order for it to be used by members of council for work, office hours, meetings etc. Currently, Holmes believes the room is underutilized and this is due to boxes blocking the back room. He asked for volunteers to help clean the room to which Anderson volunteered.
Cassidy Churchill and Paige Stewardson, Professional Studies Senator and Arts Senators, proposed a Holiday Movie Night which would take place in the KCIC Auditorium on December 1st from 7-9pm. They will be hosting the event to bring together students from all faculties in a holiday event inclusive of all religions and cultures by playing the holiday movie ‘Home Alone’. Snacks and drinks will be provided by Churchill and Stewardson.
Diversity and Inclusion Representative, Soyini Edwards, talked about the Phenomenal Women’s Conference which was held in the Fountain Commons and Mackeen Room on November 21st (6-10pm), 22 (12-2pm) and 23 (12-2pm). The Phenomenal Women’s Conference is an event working at tackling the insecurities and troubles that the women on this campus face every day. In collaboration with the Women’s Centre and Acadia’s Mental Health Initiative, this event will benefit the students that participate by seeing that they are not alone in their struggle and create a closer community and hopefully have them not be shy/ ashamed of that struggle.
Brendan MacNeil and Gabrielle Bailey, VP Finance & Operations and VP Events & Promotions, are dedicated to uncovering why student activity and engagement has been low recently. They encouraged council members to give them any insights that may be helpful regarding engagement at The Axe, events and programs.
Graduate Studies Senator Matthew Penney will be holding a lunch panel with members from all faculties in the winter semester coinciding with an event held January 31st – February 1st, pending a location. He asked council for any topic suggestions they could use during the panel.