Live Blog: Council October 20th

There will be council this Sunday, October 20th in the Boardroom and it will be glorious. It’s Council Number 3, we’re welcoming a whole crop of new councillors and Member at Large Karen Gross will be live blogging. It all goes down at 10AM in the Boardroom. To prep, why don’t you take a look at this week’s Agenda.

10:02: This is your friendly Member At Large, Karen Gross, checking into the live blog. We’re just waiting for quorum now. Lots of new councillors in the room, it’s very exciting!

10:14: Chair Jake Eidinger has a book he refers to as “Roberts Rules of Order for Dummies”. Awesome.

10:15: Council called to order!

10:24: We’re doing councillor reports! Anika (board of governors rep) just went to a board meeting where they were introduced to new branding ideas for King’s. Most schools brand according to “what and how”, but for King’s the group is looking at focussing on “why”. Apparently our “brand narrative” is that everything we do at King’s takes courage.

She also coined YOVT (you only vote twice) and it ended up on the election day stickers. Congrats, Anika.

10:26: Colleen is giving us the Day Student Society (DSS) updates. They just had their elections too and Colleen is now officially their Member At Large (congrats Colleen! Members at Large are pretty ok in my books).

There’s some talk about encouraging societies to hold their events earlier in the day so more day students can attend. Remember, DSS wardy nights are on Thursdays, come by any time. There’s a Fall Ball in the works- a new event not to be confused with the DASS Fall Ball. Will it be similar to YAS Ball? Probably.

She’s also working on yearbook and they can still use some help! Pop by the KSU office on Fridays at 2:30 to help out, or shoot Alex (financial vp) a message (fvp@ksu.ca) if you are interested in learning more.

10:29: First new councillor report comes from Hannah, our new science rep. She wants to try to get Thursday FYP lectures recorded. Welcome Hannah!

10:30: Emily ( new journalism rep) is meeting with Stephen Kimber this week and she’s pumped to start working on the jschool blog.

10:31: Haritha (new arts rep) is interested in building connections between alumni and students.

10:32: I just gave my report. I talked about finance committee’s project to research union fees at other comparably sized universities to see how they structure themselves. We’re hoping to come up with some ideas to address our structural deficit.

10:33: Katie (our new first year representative) wants to find a way of recording FYP announcements to make sure no one misses any. Jake encourages her to talk to Haydn about finding bulletin board space (but apparently Michaela is already working on getting more bulletin boards!). She’s also been in touch with someone who’s behind the petition to get societies to meet earlier in the day and not on weekends. She wants to see who’s concerned about this and which societies they’re concerned about.

10:36: We’re doing exec reports. You can read along in the agenda attached below (UPDATE 10:59- I was wrong, sorry! The reports are attached to the physical copies we have here and will be in the minutes which should be released after we approve them at next council. When we take a recess I will type up a summary of Anna’s report).

11:42: Ok we have a recess so here’s what happened in Anna’s report. She’s in Ottawa for lobby week with Nick Stark and David Etherington from the Canadian Federation of Students. She wrote her report from her parent’s basement. She, Nick, and Dave were watching Across the Universe.

Anna welcomes the new councillors and she’s excited to see more women on council (as am I). It’s the first time in recent memory that half or more of council positions have been filled by women.

She sent out a congrats to Dave and Nick for running the Vote Education campaign during the provincial election through the CFS. She says it was very successful in its capacity for outreach and success in media attention.

She talked about ISIC tabling (see Jesse and Chris’s reports for more). She’s going to see if more councillors are interested in helping out.

She commented on how exciting it was that students from so many different schools have come together in the Oct 29th planning group (see Jesse’s report for more details).

She met with Alex Doyle about the implementation of wireless on campus. It’s going to be done in stages so as to get some wireless access out as fast as possible (rather than doing it all at once and then turning on one big switch). She’s been emphasizing the importance of communicating with the community (especially students), and she was pleased to see Alex send out an email about the wireless updates shortly before the board meeting.

And here are the highlights I typed out as it was actually happening:

10:40: Highlight from Pres. Anna’s report: the KSU’s gonna host a sleepover in the wardy after midterms.

10:41: Anna is looking for some help with running a design contest for wardy and galley swag. Email her at president@ksu.ca if she’s interested.

10:46: Time for Haydn’s report! (Haydn’s our vp communications.)

10:48: If you are having trouble receiving TWAK, you can email Haydn at cvp@ksu.ca and he’ll put you on the list. If you want to help plan the King’s 225 Bday party, email Haydn.

10:51:Haydn also talked about elections stuff and mentioned there’s a possibility that some changes will be made to the procedural handbook regarding election policy. He’s sitting down with Oliver, our CRO, and the elections committee.

He also mentions that the constitutional review committee will be meeting soon to figure out how to rearrange our constitution and procedural handbook into a set of bylaws (that’s what we’ve gotta call our constitution, apparently. We’re trusting our lawyers).

10:54: Alex (fvp) is doing his report. He’s looking into insurance. He’s also thinking about  moving all society accounts to Scotiabank (Scotiabank is pumped about this, they might give us a deal). The advantage would be that it would be easier for the KSU to transfer money to societies. It might also open up the possibility to open up old, abandoned bank accounts.

Alex says Colleen is doing an AWESOME job on yearbook. Meetings are super efficient. They’re hoping to get the yearbook (last year’s yearbook) done before Christmas.

10:57: Alex just gave finance committee a shout out. He also notes that everything in his report so far has been really positive and he’s sort of worried that things look so positive… knock on wood?

11:00: Michaela (student life vp) gives Jake (our chair) a HUGE thank you for spending his entire thanksgiving weekend figuring out the ruling re: the first election. THANK YOU JAKE. This union is lucky to have him as our chair.

11:01: Michaela has been talking to Allie Darwin about some athlete/non athlete love (yes, that’s how she put it).

11:02: Events committee is going to meet on October 29th, no time set yet. EVERYONE can join, you don’t need to be elected. Michaela wants YOU. slvp@ksu.ca. It’s a great way to get involved with the union.

11:03: Michaela is really excited about Academic Committee. So are Daniel Brandes and Neil Robertson. (you wouldn’t believe how excited these guys are, apparently)

11:04: She’s talking about Halifax Humanities and the Odyssey Live. She’s encouraging students to get involved, find out more here. Halifax Humanities is an amazing program similar to FYP in its content, but it’s obstacle free- i.e., it’s free and all the necessary books are provided free of charge. The Odyssey Live is their major fundraiser. Definitely a worthy cause to support.

11:09: Katie asks why she wasn’t informed about the appeal to the first year rep position. She was told she had won on Saturday, and didn’t find out about the appeal until TWAK early Monday morning. Jake sincerely apologizes- it was a case of wires being crossed between him and Oliver as he was in transit over thanksgiving weekend. Michaela also notes that all election results are tentative for 48 hours, during which time appeals may happen.

11:11: Haritha asks how we can avoid making people think they will always get incentives (like garlic fingers) to vote in future elections. Michaela says there’s an onus on elections committee to make sure everyone knows when the election is, as well as on candidates to campaign to help spread the word. She suggests having all candidates meetings with elections committee might help clarify the procedure and make sure all hands are on deck re: getting the word out about elections.

11:14: Time for Jesse’s report (he’s our external vp). He points out that the 30% voter turnout we got at our most recent election was about 3 times the national average for student unions. King’s has a really high quorum compared to other unions (this was something Anna discussed in her report as well).

Jesse mentions the October 29th planning group (which Anika and Katie have already mentioned)- it’s a group of students and other interested parties from all over Nova Scotia who want to show the new government that there is a united student movement. They’re planning an action for the 29th (hence the name of the group). Things have been disrupted (with this group and with Action! King’s) due to the anti fracking/ Elsipogtog solidarity rally. He said the turnout for that rally was great (and good representation from King’s students).

11:18: Jesse says ISIC card making will keep happening during his office hours form 3-5:30 on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the KSU office, as well as during early happy hour in the wardy. Keep an eye on KSU media for updates on when you can get your ISIC card. Also, check out the sweet discounts. 

11:21: Chris, our internal coordinator, is doing his report! He doesn’t do reports at every council but he’s going to do three throughout the year. It’s a very thorough report. He thinks it’s really important to create a paper trail and also to inform council about what he’s been up to.

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done by the IC, and he thinks there was an erroneous assumption that removing the responsibilities of running the Galley and the Wardy would give him too much free time. He’s actually really busy.

11:23: He started on May 1st and he said everything in the union was in really good shape, and it was great to have Anna and Michaela in the office all summer. He did say it was a bit of a weird time to do changeover since, as the summer was starting, a lot of people were leaving and he didn’t get to know some members of the executive until September.

He mentions that there have been some issues re: splitting the positions. For instance, there was no plan for splitting the files for each position, so he had to figure it out. He and Nick (the hospitality manager) have done some work to figure out exactly who is responsible for what.

11:26: He says he’s spending a lot of time navigating the labyrinth of Dalhousie administration, and he wasn’t anticipating how much time that would take.

There was an issue with the health plan where the black out period was going to end Oct 1st, but it actually ended Oct 9th. This meant that people had an extra week of having to pay upfront for their services (and had to wait to get reimbursed later, rather than getting things covered immediately). The factors involved were outside the KSU’s control, but Chris says he’s confident they can stop it from happening next year.

There are a lot of complications with making sure people are on the list for the health plan (issues with transfer students and people who switch from part time to full time). Long story short there are a lot of labour intensive steps involved in managing the list (and that’s the main reason there’s a specific opt out deadline), but Chris is on top of it and he’s improving the procedure for future years.

He’s trying to spread the word about what’s covered under the health plan and how it works. He notes that dental premiums have gone up this year, but that’s because people were making more claims- so it’s a good thing! More students are using their dental plans!

11:34: He points out how helpful it is that we are part of to the Canadian Federation of Students. As a small union, the per unit costs of things like frosh week supplies, handbooks, and condoms would be through the roof if we couldn’t buy through the CFS.

ISIC cards have been going really well. Records weren’t great in past years but about 200 were issued per year (but only about 60% of those actually got into people’s hands). This year we’ve already issued almost 400 and all of them are getting into people’s hands. There are better discounts this year. More local independent businesses, a great discount from Porter (15% if you book through Travelcuts, which works out to about a 12% overall discount). It’s great that the health plan card is now connected to it.

It’s also really helpful to be able to connect with students while tabling with ISIC cards. It’s an easy, informal way to talk to students, see what their concerns are, and fill them in on what the KSU is up to.

11:38: Chris says he’s pleasantly surprised and happy to see how awesome the exec is this year. He says he had high expectations and they were exceeded. He wishes the exec he sat on a few years ago was half as competent as our current executive.

11:39: Chris apologizes for any typos or sudden changes in tense in his report. I apologize for any typos or sudden changes in tense in my live blog.

We’re giving Chris a huge round of applause.

And now for a ten minute recess!

11:53: We’re back! Time for action items. The first one has to do with voting on Frosh Coordinator honoraria.

Caroline and Cam are here to give us their report. The mailout went super well- it was sent out early (end of June). This did mean that some students who only registered later in the summer didn’t get the mailout, but there will always be pros and cons to any decision. They did put the mailout online so students who didn’t get it mailed to them could still access it.

They divied up the events so that each coordinator had specific events they were responsible for. It worked really well because people were working on things they were interested in.

There were some issues with Astanga Yoga dropping out from morning fitness, but they did manage to find a replacement yoga instructor. The galley breakfast was almost derailed when they found out their bagels wouldn’t come in on time, but they quickly solved the problem (because they are awesome, and so is Nick Wright).

They rejigged community day, trying to have fewer stops where students could really engage with the organizations they were visiting. It went really well (though the turnout wasn’t huge), those who were involved were really engaged. The WUSC trike race went really well. Mixed reactions to the labour day parade- some frosh felt awkward, might not recommend offering that again.

They nixed beach day in order to spend more money on music. They replaced beach day with a hike at long lake (bussed there, cabbed back). It was a great day (they only spent $80 on taxis, compared to $2000 normally spent on buses- wow).

The traditions lecture was, in Caroline’s opinion, informative but dull. We’ll have to think about how we want to approach this event in the future.

The wardy and concert in the quad was quite a process. Lots of permits involved, a noise exemption, insurance, tons of steps. It didn’t seem like it would work out, but it did! But in the future it could be helpful to plan this out a bit earlier.

In terms of finances, the budget worked out well. In future years Caroline recommends emphasizing that people don’t need to be scared of keeping track of finances. They made a bit of a mistake in not documenting who they had approached for sponsorship (they did this part right at the beginning of their term while they were still figuring things out).

One issue in budgeting and planning is that they only got final numbers of enrolment the day before frosh week. Seems to be just a reality of the job (the registrar’s office doesn’t have final numbers until frosh week starts).

Michaela likes the specific suggestions they’ve made, but she’s wondering if there are any larger scale recommendations they might make.

Caroline emphasizes the importance of communication between coordinators and the executive in terms of figuring out who has done what.

All the cheques are written and anyone who is owed money from frosh week should be able to pick up their cheque in the KSU office tomorrow.

Michaela notes that the coordinators have already gotten the first $750 of their honoraria, and we’re voting on the second half now. It passes! They’re getting paid! Hurrah.

12:09: We’re onto society ratifications. It’s a great opportunity to teach new councillors how to omnibus! It’s something we sometimes do to vote on multiple items at a time. It’s a way to save time, usually with society ratifications. We have to unanimously consent to make this happen.

We’re moving motions 7.2- 7.9 in omnibus!

Today we’re ratifying the Syd and Catherine Cook Society which is run by two first years and it’s going to be a vegan cooking society. Will this conflict with Baking with Patrol? Hopefully we can get some collaboration going on. The Dalhousie/King’s Freethought Society is a joint society between Dal and King’s.  The Best Buddies King’s Chapter works to provide meaningful friendships between King’s students and people with intellectual disabilities. The King’s Poetry Society has a really poetic constitution. The Contemporary Studies Society and the History of Science and Technology Society are two upper year academic societies ratifying today. The Arts Abstract is an online newsletter about artsy goings on. The Pride Society does a great job creating a safe space on campus and they’re gonna host the Rock Horror Picture Show on Halloween. If we ratify all the societies, we’ll have 40 ratified societies in total!

And… the motion passes! We’ve got 40 societies on campus now.

12:17: We’re voting on whether we want to give the CSP society special designation so that they can buy alcohol at their events. The KSU only gives special designation to certain societies who are able to show bank statements from past years and can demonstrate that they’re responsible groups. Alex mentions that this policy could change as we review insurance things.

CSP Society gets special designation.

12:19: The King’s Theatrical Society is asking for a loan so they can buy the rights for their first season shows (total amount is $2029.53). They want to use the KSU credit card so that they don’t have to front the cost on a personal credit card. They will write a cheque to repay the KSU immediately. The KSU credit card is a new thing but so far it has been really helpful for cases like this, especially with online payments where a credit card is required.

Alex thinks this is a great idea, but he doesn’t want to set the precedent that people can come to the KSU to front money for them all the time.

The KTS is also asking for 100 photocopies to make posters. The motion passes.

12:24: Journalists for Human Rights are asking for $28.23 for food for their first meeting. Alex says finance committee is wondering why they need 100 photocopies for one meeting- they suggest 25. Emily, who is representing the society, agrees that this is fine. Alex moves to amend the motion. It’s a great time to have a lesson on how amendments work for the new councillors! We adopt the amendment and the main motion also passes.

12:30: The CSP Society asks for $3639.20 of non contingent funding (meaning it goes directly to their bank account) for colloquia, journal costs, a guest speaker, and a department party.

Eyo (a representative from the CSP society) explains that certain costs (e.g. cheese) have been calculated down to the cent, while others are more general. He’s gonna go over why that is.

He’s talking about how great colloquia are. Wines and cheese are both contemporary and ancient. It’s a chance for intellectual debate.

They’ve allocated $1200 for a guest speaker. The CSP society likes to bring in a speaker from another university and they tend to do a few different talks across a weekend. It’s an opportunity for CSP to interact with other departments as well as to see what’s happening with scholars outside the King’s bubble. They’re hoping to get Linda Alcoff (trust- she’s awesome). Usually the CSP society shares the cost with the CSP department. They’re asking for an extra $200 because there may be some CSP departmental funding cuts so it’s possible the society will have to step up. The amount can help cover the speaker’s accommodations and flight as well as a small honorarium.

They’ve asked for $900 for the CSP party. It’s a great opportunity for students and faculty to mingle and celebrate academic achievements. A lot of this money will pay for drink tickets. They’ll also pay for decorations. It depends on what the party planners want to do (which is why this number is so general). Last year they had contortionists.

They’re reducing the cost of their journal (HINGE) by making the pages of the journal smaller (I love it. What a great way to save money).

Alex and Eyo point out that they’re asking for $1400 less than the CSP society asked for last year.

Eyo says, with regard to his communication with past society executive members, “there have been some suggestions that were given to us as to the cost of things that seemed inordinate due to the cost of things”.

Haritha suggests consulting with the Gender and Women’s Studies department about helping fund Linda Alcoff’s guest speaking gig. Eyo likes this idea and says they’re also looking into talking to South House.

The motion is adopted!

12:42: The Early Modern Studies Society is asking for $1601.40. Ian Kenny (from EMSP society) moves to amend the motion to $2200.40. When the society had to get their funding request form in, they had not yet had time to talk to Neil Robertson from the department. Ian apologizes for getting the information in so late. This will still be an $1100 decrease from the society’s budget from last year.

They need $501.40 for their journal. He emphasizes the importance of academic journals for graduating students to have the opportunity to have their papers published (it’s a great thing to have on your resume when applying to grad schools).

Half of the $600 increase they’re looking for would go towards their conference which will be open for all students in the Maritimes. The conference is really expensive. The department pays for transportation and accommodation, but the rest falls on the society. Ian is planning to personally cook a meal for 40 people to save money. He says they’re doing everything they can to avoid bankrupting the union.

They’re also looking for a bit more money for their social events now that they’ve had a chance to price everything out. They want their events to be open to everyone.

Haritha mentions that if receptions are run through Sodexo, the estimates they’ve made may be low. Ian says they’re trying to cut costs and will run the receptions in the SCR and buy the food themselves.

Haritha asks what percentage of the society budget has already been spent. If we pass this motion with the proposed amendment, we’ll have $9000 left. Last year the biggest societies at King’s spent about $20 000, this year it looks like it’ll be closer to $12 000 or $13 000.

Ian says in the future he thinks that question should be asked every time a society asks for a major amount. Alex says he hopes that’s something we can trust finance committee to consider, but it’s good to talk about it here, too.

We pass the amendment. And the motion passes, too!

12:59: Squashed! is looking for about $80 of retroactive funding for pizza they bought during frosh week. Alex explains that usually we don’t like to do retroactive funding because it’s important for decisions to go through finance committee and council before money is spent.

Squashed! did a kick off event during frosh week event. They think they managed to double the size of their society.

They talked to Alex at the beginning of the year and he said it would probably be fine probably fine, they’re just buying pizza. But then they bought really expensive pizza.

I just checked out the situation- they bought their pizza from Dominos pizza, and $80 is about what it costs for 4 extra large pizzas.

Michaela suggests that we fund about half of this amount. She thinks Squashed! should know better.

Alex emphasizes that we’ve been encouraging people to buy cheaper food than pizza, or even to have potlucks. That being said this money was spent before he was able to start talking to societies about these issues.

Haritha asks whether we can find a way to deal with early funding for frosh week events like this. Michaela is already looking into it.

Anika brings up that fact that since the meeting was held during frosh week there was no way for them to get funded in a way that wasn’t retroactive.

Katie brings up that fact that during frosh week, lots of first years will go to events to just grab pizza without necessarily being interested in the society.

The motion is adopted.

Could they look into doing dinner at King’s, perhaps in the SCR?  Will they be leading people over from King’s to the Sabbath party at Rose’s house?

The King’s Jewish Connection is asking for money for a Shabbat Potluck and a Hanukkah latke party. The Hanukkah party will be in the Manning Room. This is a good example of cheap, non pizza food. We assure Alex, who is not familiar with Jewish traditions, that Shabbat and Hanukkah are real things. The Shabbat dinner will be hosted at Rose’s house (Rose is the society rep who submitted the request). They’re going to lead people from campus to the event. Hannah, who is also involved in the planning of this event, says holding it off campus could be a good incentive for first years to get off campus and meeting upper years. They’re also going to make Challah. This event sounds lovely. The motion is adopted.

1:16: The Arts Abstract is asking for $216 of contigent funding to buy disposable cameras (and to get the film developed). The Arts Abstract is an online newsletter to let King’s students know about arts events happening around the city. They are planning to print out one copy of the newsletter each week to post in the wardroom. They want to put cameras around campus so people can take pictures. The idea is to get people feeling engaged. They want to put one in the galley and possibly one in the manning room. They would attach them in some way so people couldn’t run off with them. They would find a way to indicate the use of the camera (a note on the camera?). They want to make collages with the photos to encourage King’s students to make art.

Sophia (she’s a general member who has been here for all of council, which is awesome) asks whether people would know about the cameras and how we know they would actually get used. Caroline says they’ll be doing FYP announcements about it.

Alex says Finance Committee is into funding for the colour copies. They suggested giving the Arts Abstract half the money for the cameras for now so they can test it out for a few weeks to see how well it works rather than committing to the project for the whole year. Caroline (Arts Abstract rep) likes this idea. Alex moves to amend to $108. The amendment is adopted and the motion is passed!

1:23: New Business. Luke van Horne wrote Jake a letter resigning from his position on council. He works as a swim instructor on Sundays and he can’t get his schedule changed. Michaela looked into moving council to another date but that didn’t work out either. Luke did a great job while he was able to sit on council, we’ll be sad to see him go. Council accepts his resignation.

1:27: So Squashed! already got approved for a travel bursary for a tournament in Sydney, Nova Scotia. That tournament was cancelled, and now they’re going to a different tournament in Charlottetown, PEI. We’re going to amend the previously passed motion (who knew this was possible? Thanks Jake for knowing what’s up with procedure). We need a 2/3 vote to pass this one… and we get it!

1:29: I ask how the DSS is going to fill Luke’s spot on council. Colleen says they’ll have a DSS meeting and elect someone (this was actually how she got on council on the first place).

1:30: We set the next council for Sunday, November 3rd. Meeting adjourned!

KSU Council Meeting #3 – October 20th Agenda

And Finance Committee’s report:

Report of the Finance Committee

Arts Abstract

For disposable cameras and film development, also printing the weekly newsletter for posting in the Wardy.

The committee would like more information on the project – how are these disposable cameras going to be distributed around campus? Are they going to be attached to anything?

Verdict: The committee is interested in offering half-funding and reconsidering the project based on its success.

 

Jewish Connection

Sabbath dinner, Friday Oct. 25th; $19

Hannukah latke party, Nov. 28th ; $25

For food, photocopies.

Contemporary Studies Society

Seven colloquia

One department party

A visiting lecturer

Journal & launch party

Wine, cheese, photocopies

They asked for $5000 last year. Committee recommends academic societies as a whole keep thorough  spending records to help the budgeting process for following society executives.

Verdict: Approved.

 

Early Modern Studies Society

                  Babel (journal)

Christmas social

End of year party

Conference costs (dinner, reception, speaker honoraria, music)

Concerted effort to reduce costs from last year has been noted. Committee would like more precise estimates on costs if available, especially conference and party costs.

Verdict: Approved.

 

Journalists for Human Rights

                  Food for first meeting (only)

Reduce the photocopies from 100 to 25.

Verdict: Approved.

 

SQUASHED!

                  RETROACTIVE funding for first meeting’s pizza.

The committee is apprehensive because the pizza was f***ing expensive.

On the otherhand, Alex talked to Annie about this and it was prior to the year’s first Counil meeting.

Referred to Council.

 

KTS
Using the KSU credit card for rights, writing a cheque for reimburse at the same time.

The committee would like to stress that this is should not set  precedent for the KSU “fronting” money for projects.

Verdict: Approved.

 

SQUASHED!
Travel bursary.

The original tournament was cancelled so they didn’t use the bursary granted at Council on Sept. 29th.They are asking to use the same money for a different tournament.

Verdict: Approved.