The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) is a council composed of a body of students elected by their peers, who are tasked with running the Acadia Students’ Union (ASU). The SRC meets every Friday at 1:00 PM on Teams, however, they would usually meet in the Beveridge Forum located off the Michener Lounge in the Students’ Union Building (SUB). Each meeting is open to the public and students are welcome to attend meetings to learn more about the decisions being made on their behalf.
The SRC met again last Friday for their weekly meeting, and with some new faces! This week the council members were shadowed by some of the new elects for next year. Attendance was quickly taken; the agenda was passed (after a few new items were added), and the council members who participated in the general election declared a conflict of interest and agreed not to speak during conversations regarding election results.
The council discussed their election process and brainstormed how it could go more smoothly in future years, as well as ways it went well this year. Of specific concern was ensuring that ballots go out to all students at once, as this year part-time students initially did not receive a ballot. The SRC motioned to accept the election results and it was passed. It should be mentioned that although the Sustainability Representative was successfully elected, he officially resigned and the position will be filled through the by-election next year.
Jordi Chaffer, the Science Senator, was looking for suggestions on types of prizes he could give out for the project he has been working on. It seemed that the general consensus was gift cards, but not much discussion relating to the matter was had.
Soyini Edwards announced that she is running an initiative with the women’s center, to host a women’s conference, titled “Women of the World”. She explained that it will be virtual, and will run in about two weeks. The proposal was quickly passed by the council and Kevin George made his proposal, to run a movie night for students at the end of the term to help students relax while exams ramp up. Black Steeves, VP Events and Promotions, mentioned that Kevin will have to be cautious about how food could be eaten and shared, considering COVID-19 restrictions and safety. More, the capacity of the KCIC is extremely limited, which should be put into consideration as well. Keeler suggested that Kevin could show the movie a few times so that more people could participate. Overall, the council was very helpful and supportive in this plan and it seems it has great potential. The motion was made to accept the proposal, conditional on a report back to the council next week with more specific details.
Menat Tahoun, Professional Studies Senator, took the floor next to present her proposal. “Chats with 2020 Alumni”. She suggested that this would be a really helpful way to ease graduating students’ anxiety about entering the world with a new degree while the world is in a global pandemic. She said that she is still working through the logistics of the platform she will use, but otherwise, everything has been planned. The project proposal was passed by the council, and Brendan MacNeil led the next conversation. He explained that he wants to run a bunch of surveys to get good insights into how this year went for students and help prepare for next year. These surveys will be tailored to different subjects, such as finances, orientation week, and mental health. Brendan hopes that this will provide students with the opportunity to provide useful feedback on their feelings about this year as a student, especially throughout the pandemic. Another council member proposed to break the surveys down to more faculty-specific categories, and Brendan concurred that the surveys as they stood would do that by nature. Maria suggested that an area be provided to give feedback on Accessibility Services, as it seems many students this year have had frustrating experiences while trying to work with them. Many other council members agreed that they had heard the same things and that this opportunity for feedback would be an appreciated and beneficial idea. Robbie Holmes suggested that students are given an opportunity to provide feedback on how they felt their classes went this year, considering the student experience this year was completely different. Lara Hartman, the Arts Senator, suggested that there also be a place for Indigenous Students to provide feedback, and Brendan agreed that this was a great idea.
There’s was some discussion about physical accessibility and the council agreed that Acadia’s campus had much work to do to improve its accessibility.
Brendan Keeler, VP Finance and Operations, announced that the ASU was in a deficit, due in part to the pandemic no doubt, and that team had brainstormed the idea to cut the Axe Radio and the Athenaeum from funding and to ratify them as clubs, where they could apply for grants. He reasoned that this would not create any major changes to either program and would significantly help the budget. Brendan explained that this would eliminate the honorariums given to members of these programs would affect some people’s decisions but also reasoned that if individuals have a passion for these types of activities, then doing it as a club or hobby may be beneficial as students would have more time to produce content.
Sadie MacAlear, Community Relations Representative, expressed her concern that if students are putting the time and effort into producing content, then they should be fairly given credit for that. Soyini Edwards, who is a photographer and manager for the Ath, worried that this cut could effectively dissolve the Ath for periods because students are much more accountable to jobs that they must do (in this case in order to be paid) rather than doing something because they like to, especially when the school can be so busy.
Menat, who works for Axe Radio, asked Brendan Keeler to clarify what differences, other than the honorarium, would be noticed if these programs went from internal organizations (IOs) to clubs. Brendan explained that these IOs are receiving funding from the ASU’s operating budget right now and that this change would save that money.
Brendan Keeler added that this was a decision that would ideally be made by next week and that if anyone had thoughts or questions to contact him before then.
Alex Surette, the Sustainability Representative, announced that the new waste stations are being put up to provide the four-stream recycling program – keep an eye out for them in the SUB! Lydia Houck announced that following her meeting with the Board of Governors, it seems like students who were charged an overload fee who took a year-long 3 credit hour course will be reimbursed. Great news!