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. 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 week the council held the first meeting after receiving the results from the recent by-election and welcomed new members warmly. During the meeting, council went over various topics of new business on their agenda such as a proposed moratorium, the filling of committee positions and the tragic Indigenous Society incident. Closing the meeting multiple announcements were made by council members.
By-election results were sent out to the student body by ASU President Kyle Vandertoorn Tuesday evening announcing the individuals elected to fill several positions on the council. Five positions needed to be filled and three positions were: Brendan MacNeil was elected into the VP Finance & Operations with a vote of 61.6% in his favour, Cassidy Churchill was approved by the student body to fill the role of Professional Studies Senator and Lynn Verheul was approved as the Community Relations Representative.
There was no First-Year Representative nominated Vandertoorn explained and the Councillor nominated withdrew before the all-candidates meeting. This election had a higher than average voter turn out although Vandertoorn does note that the referendum was likely the cause behind that.
Both MacNeil and Churchill attended their first SRC meeting this week and were sworn in to their respective positions.
Chairperson Sulaman Qureshi went over Robert’s Rules of Order for the new members. He explained that Robert’s Rules of Order are used as a way of conducting SRC meetings in order to provide everybody with ample opportunities to contribute, develop a level of governance and is found as an effective way to conduct meetings. Quereshi then went over the formality of meetings, roles of other council members, how by-laws and motions worked and any additional information that is a necessity to understanding and participating in the weekly meetings.
Moratorium on UPass Referendums
Kyle Vandertoorn, President, brought up that the University Bus Pass (UPass) proposed to the student body got turned down in the by-election by 71% of the student population. The SRC had been proposed this UPass a few years back and spent a lot of time working on the UPass last year. Vandertoorn said that the UPass put a lot of stress on the SRC last year and over 1000 students ended up turning it down.
Vandertoorn proposed to council, as a notice of motion, an immediate moratorium on UPass referendums unless there is an outstanding amount of evidence that if the UPass goes to referendum it will for sure be passed. She suggested the moratorium will be in place for a period of about 10 years unless it is repealed by a future council.
Since 2012 there have been two referendums (2012 & 2019) held on a universal bus pass concept and a third attempt to hold a referendum in 2017. Vandertoorn went on to explain that in both referenda’s students were given the chance to vote and the UPass was turned down by an overwhelming majority. In each case, the Executive and the SRC were not promoting the concept of the pass as something beneficial to students. Due to these reasons, including the amount of time the SRC has worked on the UPass, a moratorium on the UPass is being proposed by Vandertoorn.
Vandertoorn stated that the ASU, as an organization, have spent a considerable amount of time, energy, and resources to develop and construct a program that has no prospect of being accepted by the student body. If a referendum is to be held, then it must have a reasonable prospect of success, otherwise the initiative is a waste of time for the ASU and the student body -time that can be better invested. Therefore: Be It Resolved That Acadia Students’ Union and the Students’ Representative Council implement an immediate moratorium on research and discussion of a universal bus pass program. This moratorium will remain in place for a period of ten years from its acceptance or until this Motion is repealed, whichever may come first.
Members of the council asked a few questions regarding the moratorium leading to Vandertoorn motioning to send this proposal to the Governance Committee to discuss the specifics such as the time frame it will be in place for. This motion was passed by council.
Indigenous Society Incident
Each Year October is designated as Mi’kmaq History Month, providing students with the opportunity to become more in touch with the history of the Mi’kmaq people. Every year in honour of Mi’kmaq History Month the Indigenous Students’ Society of Acadia (ISSA) puts up a tipi on the lawn between Seminary house and University Hall. During the first week of the tipi being put up, it was badly vandalized and is now unable to be used.
Soyini Edwards, Diversity & Inclusion Representative, brought this matter to council during this meeting. President Vandertoorn announced she would reach out to James Sanford, Executive Director of Student Services, to inquire about what the University is doing about the situation. Doing so will allow the ASU to take the appropriate course of action regarding the recognition of this incident and if the University is already planning on doing something to recognize it, the ASU may potentially partner with them.
Gabrielle Bailey, VP Events & Promotions, went over Homecoming events that were taking place on campus this weekend:
- Welcome Home: Hoco Kick-off will be on Friday, October 18th at the Axe Bar & Grill starting at 9pm. This event is $5 for students and is 19+.
- Backyard Bash 2019 is an event held on the Cutten House Lawn from 10am – 2pm on Saturday, October 19th. This event will have free food, a DJ, bouncy castles, photo booths and so much more!
- Sydstock 2019 ft. Big Fish will take place at the Axe Bar & Grill on Saturday, October 19th starting at 9pm. This event will cost $8 for students with all proceeds going towards the Sydney Taylor ‘13 Memorial Fund and the ASU Food Cupboard. 19+.
- Hoco Sunday Brunch will be the closing Homecoming event at the Axe Bar & Grill on Sunday, October 20th from 10am all the way to 5pm.
A few committees had been postponed by council until after the by-election due to there being not enough members at the time. The Academic Affairs Committee required one non-exec member of council to join and Sustainability Officer Max Abu-Laban volunteered himself for the position. The Occupational Health and Safety Committee required one member to join and VP Finance & Operations Brendan MacNeil decided to join.
There were a few announcements made towards the end of the meeting regarding events that council members are currently working on and will be announced shortly.
Mackenzie Jarvin, VP Academic & External, reminded council that the Get Out the Vote Campaign is still happening. She is encouraging students to vote in the Federal Election and reminding those who have voted to pledge their vote on the website in order for Acadia to have the most pledges.
Sustainability Officer, Max Abu-Laban announced that Acadia Dining Services will be opening the Acadia Growcer soon. This Growcer is a farm in a box – it requires 99.7% less land than a regular farm and 95% less water. Abu-Laban said to stay tuned for the grand opening and watch for the Growcer’s products to be featured at the salad bar in the Wheellock Dining Hall.