The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) is the body of students who are elected by their peers to run the Acadia Students’ Union. Council meets bi-weekly on Tuesdays at 5:15 PM in the Beveridge Forum which is located off of the Michener Lounge in the Students’ Union Building (SUB). All of their meetings are open to the public and students are encouraged to attend to learn more about their representatives and the decisions that are being made on their behalf.
Council met on December 4th to discuss the financial update as of November 30th, to vote on the new bylaws and to discuss the creation of an ad-hoc committee. Council also received a project proposal from Blake Steeves, First Year Officer. George Philp, ASU President, presented changes to co-op student membership of the Union, and Makenzie Branch, VP Academic and External, informed council of her involvement in CASA. The meeting received a large audience turnout, composed of students and Town of Wolfville Mayor Jeff Cantwell.
Jared Craig, VP Finance and Operations, presented the ASU’s financial update for the last fiscal year (April to November). While most services were operating at an expected net income loss, such as the Info Desk and the Union Market, there were a few areas that saw a loss greater than anticipated. Bar services saw a profit of $26,277, which Craig attributes in part to the bar ban that took place at the beginning of the school year. Perkins was also an area of concern, with a net income loss of $8,234. Overall, Craig states that the Union is pleased with Cajuns, the Info Desk, and the Union Market.
By-Law Discussion and Voting
The Council spent a fair portion of the meeting discussing the new bylaws, which are a result of an extensive $10,000 dollar review. The Council was informed by Molly Anderson, in her role as Chair of the Governance Committee, of the creation of an ad-hoc committee, that will consist of either the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson, four non-executive council members, and two regular union members (i.e. students). Councillor Chis Vanderburgh expressed his disappointment with the decision to move forward with voting, and Arts Senator Katie Winters defended this decision, stating that the creation of the committee would result in more extensive research into these issues. Following these discussions, all three By-laws were moved to be accepted as is, bylaw 1 (Council Positions) and Bylaw 2 (ASU Committees) come into effect of May 1st, 2019 and Bylaw 3 (Elections, Referendum, and Plebiscite) come into effect immediately.
An Ad-hoc committee was created specifically to conduct research and consult with students about the controversial changes made in the by-law review, which removed the petition process, and the process of impeachment by constituents. This committee will be composed on the Chairperson, four non-executive members of council, and two regular members of the union. Dahlia Chahine, Student Board of Governors Representative, motioned to amend this committees’ terms of reference to include three regular constituents instead of two to enhance student involvement. This motion was passed unanimously, and Council also decided to include a mandatory progress report, to be presented to Council at the first meeting in March of next semester in hopes of keeping students engaged and ensure that progress is being made. Council then appointed Molly Anderson as Chair of the committee, as well as Chris Vanderburgh, Katie Winters, Zach Goldsmith, and Dahlia Chahine to fill the four council member positions.
Co-op Student Membership
George Philp informed council that in the past, co-op students have not been considered members of the ASU, despite their enrolment in one course during their work terms. Philp noted that the University still considers them students, and therefore motioned that the ASU also “interpret” them as students. This would mean that co-op students would be changed the part time membership fee of $10.30 per work term. This would ensure that these students can vote, sit on Council, and access student services offered by the ASU. Philp notes that he has consulted with the co-op office on this issue, and states that they support this change. The motion was unanimously accepted by council.
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA)
VP Academic and External Makenzie Branch informed Council that over the break, George Philp and herself attended meetings in Ottawa to discuss the current focuses of CASA. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is a federal advocacy group, which represents over 350,000 students across Canada. Branch listed the main issues that this organization is advocating for this year, which is the improvement of Study Permits for international students, as well as recommendation that Canadian post secondary institutions be allowed to assist students with immigration consultation. The organization is also focusing on increasing funding for work integrated learning, since current funding is mostly going towards STEM students. Brach was admirably passionate about the group’s involvement in Sexual Violence Prevention. The organization is hoping to instate a minimum requirement for post secondary institutions to provide resources for victims of sexual violence. CASA’s other main focuses revolve around student research, which would increase the amount of funding that goes directly towards students, as well as changes that would allow graduate students to apply for grants.
First Year Officer Blake Steeves proposed a “Last Class Movie Night” which will be taking place in the KCIC, on Dec 5th at 7:30pm. They will be screening the 2011 version of Footloose, and Steeves states that this event is a “Last Class Bash” for people who aren’t in the mood for the bar scene, are underage like himself, or are die hard Footloose fans.
George Philp made several announcements to Council, the first of which being that a request has been put out for food service providers. Prospective companies will be coming in to tour the facilities before the break and will hopefully put in bids. Also, Philp announced a new policy, approved by the President’s Advisory Council, which allows students to change all university documents to show the name they prefer. This is a monumental change for students whose given name is not the one which they choose to go by. Finally, Philp announced that the budget advisory process for the university has begun, and there is talk of a 3% tuition increase. Philp states that Council will be highly involved in this process.
Following these announcements, Molly Anderson announced that there will be an event on Dec 6th at 4:30, for the Nation Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.
Town of Wolfville Mayor Jeff Cantwell also announced that on New Years Eve, there will be several events going on around town to ring in the new year, including a free brunch provided by local businesses and chefs! Cantwell encourages any students who will be around to join in on the festivities.
Ailish Bergin is a second year Politics student and Columnist for The Athenaeum