SRC Decoded: What You Missed November 20th

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.

Mayor of Wolfville Speaks to Council

Mayor Jeff Cantwell had a brief discussion with Council, primarily to acknowledge the difficulty of conducting of a by-law review and to acknowledge the hard work put in by ASU President, George Philp, along with the rest of the SRC. Cantwell mentioned the current petition in favour of implementing a Kings Transit U-Pass, which would provide students with unlimited use of enhanced Kings Transit services for $20 per month per student. With this suggestion, ASU President George Philp laughed and stated that “it never goes away”. Cantwell concluded his talk by encouraging everyone to contact the Town of Wolfville and Town Council Members with any comments, questions and/or concerns. He also shared that the Town has a wide variety of staff and programming that can provide quick and easy answers for students and community members alike.

Students Nova Scotia

Tristan Bray, Executive Director of Students Nova Scotia, and Makenzie Branch, VP Academic and External and one of Acadia’s representatives to SNS, shared information Founded in 2003, Students Nova Scotia is a member-driven non-profit organization that represents over 20,000 students across the province. The organization aims to identify and research student issues, come up with solutions, and lobby the provincial government to seek better learning environments and supports for post-secondary students across the province. Their four main pillars are accessibility, affordability, quality, and student voice and these values guide the organization throughout its decision-making process. The current priorities of the organization including student financial aid, health care for international students, sexual violence prevention and promotion, increased mental health supports, and increased student employment opportunities.

Project Proposals

With the semester coming to a close, several council members brought forward their project proposals to be accepted by council. The first was from VP Finance and Operations, Jared Craig, who proposed a financial literacy event that will teach students about budgeting, credit card use, student loans, debt, etc. This will be taking place on Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 5:00 PM in the Michener Lounge and will be facilitated by representatives from Enactus Acadia.

The second proposal was by Theology Senator, Zachary Goldsmith, who proposed the promotion of Chapel Lunch on Wednesday, November 21st, 2018, which takes place from 11:30 AM-12:15 PM the Acadia Divinity College.

Student Board of Governors Representative Dahlia Chahine proposed a semester re-cap, which will go over the main events that have taken place so far this year. It will be a document which will be circulated around to students, to be completed by the end of the semester.

Councillor Alyssa Hall proposed putting condom containers in the bathrooms of The Axe, which will run for a two-week trial period.

Arts Senator Katie Winters and Councillor Sebastian Farkas are planning a career building event primarily directed towards Arts students. There will be professionals available to review cover letters and resumes, help with interview preparation skills and take professional headshots for participants. It will take place on Monday, November 26th, 2018 from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM in BAC 138.

Professional Studies Senator Amar Randhawa proposed a student meet-and-greet at the Axe Bar & Grill on either November 26th or 27th, 2018 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. The goal is to allows students from all faculties to build relationships with one another.

Science Senator Mackenzie Jarvin will be bringing in therapy dogs from St. John’s Ambulance. It will be taking place on December 3rd in the MacKeen Room, from 4:30 PM to 7:30PM.

Sustainability Officer Hannah Machat will be organizing a workshop involving “The Tare Shop,” which is a waste free shop in Halifax, NS. Kate Peppler, owner of the shop, will be present at the event, and the goal is to teach students about plastic free initiatives that focus on a waste-free holiday season.  It will be taking place on December 1st, 2018 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the Wolfville Farmers Market or the SUB.

Equity Officer, Kate Hamre, will be showing “The Hunting Ground”, a sexual violence film series, followed by a discussion period. It will take place in the KCIC Auditorium on November 26th, 2018 at 6:00 PM.

All events will be promoted through Acadia Students Union social media with location and dates/times to be confirmed in the near future.

By-Law Overview

The majority of the meeting consisted of discussion with ASU lawyer, Tom MacEwen, about the current By-Law Review and the draft by-laws. For a full overview of the proposed changes, check out the ASU website.

For the most part, MacEwen provided his rationale behind each change in the proposed by-laws. Discussion ensued with several Members of Council expressing their displeasure with proposed changes that remove the petition process for referenda and impeachment of Council members by their constituents. MacEwen stated that the decision was made to prohibit the potential logistical issues that may come with vague referenda questions. An example that was given was the Kings Transit U-Pass Program, which, if passed, will require the Acadia Students’ Union to set up a new student fee, collect fees from students and remit these fees to Kings Transit.

Councillor Chris Vanderburgh contested the removal of the process stating, “you don’t set up a framework for democracy because it is easy, you do it because it is right.” Students who attended the meeting, Ruvimbo Chipazi and Kyle Thompson-Clement (Arts and Culture and Opinions Editors of The Athenaeum, respectively) also raised concerns with this decision. Chipazi pointed out that, even though most Council members are elected, only roughly 35% of the student body votes, so the Council may not reflect the true wishes of the student body. Thompson-Clement stated the possibility of a future Council being complicit, thereby reducing the opportunity for impeachment. MacEwen raised the point that if enough students are willing to get together to complete the process of impeachment by petition, it is likely that they should be able to convince at least one Council member to bring it forward instead. The discussion concluded with ASU President George Philp motioning to send this issue to the ASU Governance Committee to review and consult with students.

Council adjourned without completing the entire overview of all by-laws, which will continue on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 at 5:15 PM. The proposed bylaws will be considered for adoption at this same meeting after being introduced on notice of motion at this meeting.

Ailish Bergin is a second year Politics student and Columnist for The Athenaeum.