Live Blog: Council November 3rd

Welcome back to the live blog!

Call to order 10:03 am

1. Adoption of agenda

2. Approval of minutes from October 20, 2013

Oral and Written Reports (approximately 40 minutes)

3. Oral Reports of councillors

10:06: Anika was part of a “small but mighty and loud” march with the Students Unite group (a group of students from all Halifax universities). She’s also working on the Pepsi contract (King’s has agreed to buy only Pepsi products, but the contract is up for renewal and they’re looking to find a way to make an exception for the Galley so they can get local soda).

10:07: Colleen says Halloween went super well in the Wardy, Fall Ball will be on Nov 15th, and they’re working on planning a DSS GM to elect a new rep for council.

10:09: Emily is getting informed about the Journalism Review, trying to get more journalism students involved. She’s also interested in organizing some Jschool socials. And she’s going to get started on the Jschool blog!

10:10: Hannah is meeting with Daniel Brandes this week to discuss recording Thursday FYP lectures for science students.

10:11: Haritha went to the Dalhousie Arts and Social Sciences Society (DASSS) meeting this week (all program societies have reps, and the KSU Arts Rep is also a rep). They passed a bill of rights and had a big discussion around the library cuts. She’s also been in contact with EMSP and CSP to figure out ways the upper year programs can work together, as well as to figure out what people are thinking about leading up to Academic Committee’s first meeting.

Rowan (the DASSS History rep and a King’s student) says the bill of rights relates to what students expect from Dal’s BOG. They want greater transparency, more student representation, and reversal of the funding cuts.  

10:15: Katie has been working on getting more bulletin board space for FYP- looks like they’re going to split CUBE’s bulletin board which has been underused. She’s also been circulating the petition to reverse library cuts.

10:16: John says the next battle of the bays will be on the 30th. The date for the Dante Party is TBA. Anna asks if it will be in a Bay or the Wardy and John says it’s gonna be in the Wardy (quite an emotional reaction from council to that news…) due to fire safety issues and various other complications. Alex asks if Tabletop gaming society got in touch with them- they did and they’re gonna be funding some board games through the residence budget. Next study snacks is next Sunday and they want to bring back Thesis Thursdays (and combine them with Adorable Sweaters, Baking and Convos- ABCs). Colleen asks what time this will happen- John says after supper- Colleen wants him to reconsider so Day Students can attend.

10:20: I gave my report. I gave a shout out to the exec and the Chair for organizing a great councillor training and I mentioned the upcoming student consultation Finance Committee is going to organize re: how to deal with the union deficit. More from Alex to come.

4. Written Reports from the Executive Committee (see Appendix A)

4.1 Report from the President

10:21: Anna is telling us about her experience at lobby week, where she had the chance to meet with MPs (mainly representatives from the Atlantic region + Elizabeth May).

Their lobby points were:

Asking the government to forgive half of all current student debt.

Investing in student grants, not loans.

Creating a federal post secondary education act (improving accountability).

Restoring funding to Aboriginal Student support.

Mandating academic research be based on academic merit not on commercialization.

Restoring funding to education related data collection.

Developing a national strategy to tackle youth underemployment (a new lobby point for the CFS).

They got a fairly good response. They also had the chance to learn from other student unions (apparently UBC has a napping room?). And there were 5 KSU presidents (past + present) in attendance. Amazing. Apparently they took a lot of selfies together.

Anna also was at the Oct 29th march (longest march ever? Over two hours).

She went to DASSS for the first time and was super impressed. There are so many King’s students there! DASSS elects one rep to sit in on (and vote) at faculty meetings. Right now King’s students are not allowed to be faculty reps, even though there is a huge representation from King’s students as program reps. They’re working to see if they can change this. She’s also been talking to the DSU about how they can support the KSU on this.

The exec also sat down with the DSS this week to chat. This year they’ve decided not to ratify with the KSU, so they’re trying to figure out what that means and how it will work.

Announcements: Merchandise contest is a go for Galley and Wardy swag. Designers, this one’s for you! The deadline is Nov 12th.

Applications for Graduation Committee are open. We’re looking for people who are interested in planning grad week. Deadline Nov 6th. Email president@ksu.ca.

Anna emailed Richard Florizone (Dalhousie President) about how, during his 100 days of listening, he did not visit the King’s campus. He replied very quickly and is definitely interested in talking about how King’s and Dal can improve their relationship.

4.2 Report from the VP Student Life

10:33: Michaela said these last two weeks have been a shitstorm- or, rather, with more decorum: a trying two weeks fraught with many challenges and opportunities. She’s been chatting with Colleen about Day Student issues (and the “weird first year Day Student/ Res Student divide”).

She sat down with Events Committee, apparently tons of awesome people showed up! And apparently part of their job is to make sure she doesn’t embezzle the Events budget line, so that’s good. It’s not too late to join if you still want to be involved! Email slvp@ksu.ca.

Societies- if you haven’t ratified your society yet, you should! (We’re looking at you, YAS). If you’re nervous about writing your constitution you can talk to Michaela, she’s been sitting down with execs to help them write their constitutions and she’s more than happy to keep doing so. Remember, if you aren’t ratified yet you can’t use the King’s name and you can’t book rooms for meetings.

REMINDER: Get your funding requests and ratification forms in to the KSU on Mondays. No promises that anything will get on the agenda if it doesn’t come to the KSU office by the Monday before council.

10:39: Anna is passing around a list of ideas for Kamp KSU for councillors to give comments about what events they think sound good and which ones they don’t like. Oh man, I’m pretty excited to see this list. I will give you an update as soon as I see the sheet.

4.3 Report from the VP Finance

10:40:  Alex lets us know that finance committee will be meeting with students at 4 pm November 15th in the Wardroom to talk about dealing with the deficit (I’m gonna make a facebook event soon, keep an eye out). We’ll aim to have a report to council for Sunday Nov 17th and we’ll be meeting with the exec before consultations. If you aren’t available November 15th but you have ideas or questions, you should email Alex at fvp@ksu.ca.

10:42: Watch Levy Board- tried to release their levy but apparently there’s some procedure they still need to sort through.

Apparently the risk management policy is really complicated. They tried looking at the DSU’s plan but it was a shitstorm (er, a trying situation fraught with challenges…?). He’s working on it.

On the brightside, yearbook is going super well. It’s almost done! Shout outs to Colleen, Erica, and Madeline who basically did the whole yearbook at early haps on Friday. They get a well deserved round of applause. Planning to get it to the publisher this week.

Colleen mentions that work is happening on the 2013/2014 yearbook too! Societies, PLEASE TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR EVENTS SO YOU CAN BE IN THE YEARBOOK! Colleen’s pretty emphatic about this one.

4.4 Report from the VP Communications

10:45: Haydn talks about plans for the 225 party, which will be happening in March (and you’re all invited! Exciting!).

All the minutes from this year are now up to date on the website. Apparently there are some missing minutes from several years ago. Adrian Lee, Gabe Hoogers, can you get a hold of Haydn? He knows you’re doing real things now but maybe you still have the minutes on your computer.

10:47: Haydn is telling everyone about the live blog I am writing (and you are currently reading!). Apparently we had over 300 unique viewers last time- WOW. I guess I should be extra careful not to make typos, with so many of you paying attention. Haydn also mentions that writing this live blog fulfills my “watchdog” responsibility as Member At Large (yeah, that word does not actually appear in the constitution).

4.5 Report from the VP External

10:50: Jesse’s giving us the lowdown on the march on Oct 29th. He said there were about 20 King’s students out of about 50 people total (so great representation from King’s). Great media coverage from the Halifax Media Coop and awesome speakers (especially Laura Penny and Max Haiven).

There’s gonna be another event on November 28th, welcoming in the new government (though that’s still a tentative date).

Powershift is back! They want to do an Atlantic conference this year. So far they haven’t asked for money but they may want to ask King’s to host some events. They’re still in planning.

OKAY I JUST GOT THE KAMP KSU TENTATIVE SCHEDULE. So basically this is going to be a slumber party style event in the Wardy that is open to all King’s students. Proposed events include homework corner, decorate your own mug, reptile show, movie screening (The Trotsky), cookie decorating corner, tabletop gaming society, poetry society corner, hot chocolate. If you have ideas, tweet them at me! (@Karen_Elin).

10:54: Sorry Jesse, back to your report. He’ll be distributing ISIC cards at his office hours on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons (1pm- 5 pm). The goal is to distribute 800 ISICs by December- an ambitious goal but he thinks it’s possible. If you don’t have yours yet, you should definitely get one, especially if you need to book a flight home and can fly with Porter- you’ll get a 15% discount if you book through TravelCuts.

Jesse mentions the WUSC Levy Board met this week. Their budget is tighter this year as Jonas’s residence fee was not waived.

We’re taking a 10 minute recess. See you at 11:08!

While you have a couple free minutes, why not reserve your tickets to the first KTS show of the year (a double bill- Never Swim Alone and Cagebirds)?

11:09: We’re back!

6. Action Items

Motions concerning society ratification and funding (30 minutes)

6.1 BIRT the King’s Hockey Society be ratified as a KSU society for the 2013/2014 academic year.
Moved by Michaela Sam

Haritha motions to omnibus 6.1- 6.5. (Good work new councillor, you got dem Roberts Rules).

6.2 BIRT the Dalhousie King’s Spanish Society be ratified as a KSU society for the 2013/2014 academic year.
Moved by Michaela Sam

6.3 BIRT the King’s Christian Fellowship be ratified as a KSU society for the 2013/2014 academic year.
Moved by Michaela Sam

6.4 BIRT the Philistine be ratified as a KSU society for the 2013/2014 academic year.
Moved by Michaela Sam

6.5 BIRT the King’s Music Collective be ratified as a KSU society for the 2013/2014 academic year.
Moved by Michaela Sam

Michaela gives us the lowdown on all these societies. The Hockey Society organizes the King’s Cup, they’re looking for more first year students and they play on Mondays.

Luke is here from the Spanish Society, he’s their King’s rep. Next week they’re having a salsa party (that sounds awesome). There’s also gonna be an event at the Argyle later this month. The treasurer of the society is also a King’s student, and Luke is doing his best to get information out there at King’s. Luke is giving a really lovely motivation and Michaela is touched.

The King’s Christian Fellowship do Bible study sessions in the Wilson Common Room.

The Philistine is a creative writing society on campus, they publish a journal.

The King’s Music Collective has been putting on open mics. They used to call themselves the “King’s Music Society” and now they’re a collective. That was a purposeful choice. They’re hoping to record some music this year.

All these societies have their documents in order. And… we vote in favour of ratifying all these societies! Wahoo!

6.6 BIRT the Tabletop Gaming Society receive $165 in contingent funding to purchase board games and 30 colour photocopies.
Moved by Alex Bryant

11:15: We’ve already heard about this one- it’s actually going to go through Residence funding. The games will be stored in the Manning room so Day Students will be able to use them too. Alex moves to amend the motion to read:

BIRT the Tabletop Gaming Society receive 30 colour photocopies.

The amendment is adopted. Motion passes.

6.7 BIRT the Doctor Who Society receive $90 of contingent funding for reception and screening of a special Dr. Who episode and 5 black and white copies and 30 colour copies.
Moved by Alex Bryant

11:17: We’re really impressed with the detail of their budget, it sounds like a great event. Motion is adopted!

6.8 BIRT the Cult of Classics receive $65 of contingent funding for four movie screenings during November
Moved by Alex Bryant

11:18: Finance committee is into it, they’re just wondering if they might get in communication with the Foreign Film Society to coordinate events (so they don’t end up conflicting with each other). Finance Committee recommends approval.

Sophia (Cult of Classics rep) says they’ve already talked to the Foreign Film Society about working together to have bigger events, but they’re also still going to do their own thing where the two societies’ mandates diverge.

Alex is floating the idea of buying a small popcorn maker as popcorn is a very cheap snack.

Katie notices that a lot of societies are going to video difference for rentals, she wonders if we could get a union membership to get some deals (props to our first year rep for thinking about the power of the union).

Alex moves to amend the motion to add 10 black and white photocopies and 10 colour copies to the motion (Sophia points out that they had requested the photocopies but we forgot to put it on the agenda).

Amendment is adopted. Motion is adopted.

6.9 BIRT the Unconscious collective receive 1000 black and white copies.
Moved by Alex Bryant

11:24: They need this money to photocopy sheet music. Finance committee was worried about performance rights, but Alex has talked to TJ from the Unconscious Collective and apparently they’re ok because they don’t charge admission to their concerts.

Motion passes.

Motion concerning the impact of Dalhousie funding cuts (approximately 35 minutes)

6.10 BIRT the KSU oppose the cuts made to Dalhousie Libraries resulting in the freezing of new acquisitions, the limiting of library hours, and the loss of access to hundreds of academic journals.
BIFRT the KSU support the Stop The Cut Campaign.
Moved by Anna Dubinski

Anna reminds councillors that we’re all allowed to make motions like this (i.e. not only executive members can make motions). She says that even if we all think it’s obvious that library cuts are bad, we need to say so in this public space so that people know where we stand.

She moves to amend the motion to add:

BIRFT that the KSU further support the DASSS Student Academic Experience petition.

She explains that this is another endeavor that relates to library cuts, and we should consider them all together. This is the same petition Katie mentioned in her councillor report.

Amendment is adopted.

Anna suggests we divide the discussion into two sections: First, regarding the KSU’s position, and then with regard to the other initiatives we may support.

There has been a 3% cut to the library’s budget this year (which needs to be considered with regard to inflation as well) as well as a 1% cut to the acquisition budget, which has not been touched in over 20 years. So the amount cut is at least $600,000, but Jacqueline, a rep from Dal who’s with us today, suggests that may be conservative.

Anna mentions that Dal is a research university, so it’s really important that we have access to books and journals.

Rowan says the $600,000 was originally reported by the Gazette but no one knows where that number came from. Even the library doesn’t know how much money they have- that’s why they’ve had to put a freeze on acquisitions.

They’ve cut access to 400 journals including those relating to Gender and Women’s studies, African studies, language studies, etc. She also points out that King’s students rely on Dal for all journal subscriptions- the King’s library doesn’t have any journal subscriptions.

Haritha asks how they decided which subscriptions to cut. Rowan says it was supposed to be the 400 least used journals, but she’s wondering why they cut the journal called “Oceanography” when they just built a new school of oceanography.

Rowan also points out that they’ve cut monographs, which are just books written by single authors on single topics.

Hannah asks if the cuts are affecting libraries besides the Killam. Rowan says yes, Kellogg and Sexton are also affected.

The King’s library has not experienced budget cuts (they are still getting new acquisitions), but as King’s students we do rely on Dal libraries pretty heavily.

Jacqueline says the administration is scrambling right now, she’s calling the situation a case of “egregious fiscal mismanagement”. She says admin is apologetic but confident things will work out. Rowan mentions that the VP Finance at Dal has “mysteriously” decided to pursue new opportunities, so we have a brand new person trying to deal with all of this. There’s supposed to be an emergency plan going into effect but we’re not sure what that would cover.

Michaela reemphasizes King’s important relationship with Dalhousie. The King’s library is great but cannot afford to fill in the gaps when Dal cancels journal subscriptions.

Haritha mentions a point brought up at DASSS. Dalhousie libraries have a 200 year tradition of acquisitions. She mentions that the Newton Symposium brought to light that Dalhousie owns an original edition of the Principia, which is an amazing treasure to have. She emphasizes the importance of maintaining this this tradition with new acquisitions.

Anna emphasizes that the King’s library budget is not entirely safe. The KSU already buys books for the library to help out. A few years ago there was a possibility that library hours would be cut, but instead the women’s volleyball team was cut.

Jacqueline thanks us all for our support and interest in the issue. She says it’s great to have King’s students on board.

Alex mentions that courses can only run if the books for that course can be acquired for the library. He brings up a point that hits close to home for me- a course we’re both in, Lyric Philosophy, which relies on very contemporary books, is only able to to be offered because the library was able to get those acquisitions. Without new acquisitions, these kinds of courses would not be available.

Anika mentions that especially as King’s students who may study obscure things, the journal cuts are really affecting us. She’s already encountered a journal she needed to access that Dalhousie no longer has a subscription to, and her roommate has had a similar issue.

Katie mentions that FYP students are not super affected yet by these cuts as FYP books are already available and they don’t rely very much on outside research. She’s concerned about how she’ll be able to get FYPers engaged with this issue.

11:54: Haydn suggests that we put together a document to explain the basic points of the issue to make sure everyone is clear with what’s actually going on.

Rowan responds to Katie’s point, mentioning that these cuts may affect years to come as first years go on to the upper years. She also says a fact sheet does exist that we could distribute to King’s students.

Haritha asks if, when the KSU writes a letter, if we could indicate the support of the academic programs at King’s. She thinks it is important to show the academic support on this issue. Anna agrees and says this can be done.

Emily is speaking to how this might affect Journalism students. Journalism students rely on databases of newspaper articles as well as journals. especially for honours projects.

12:07: Shoot, lost internet access for a few minutes so I lost a bit of the conversation. Some key points: Rowan suggests setting up a table where we can sign the petition, sign a letter, and get an ISIC card all at once. I suggest we make a viral video to raise awareness.

Someone (sorry, I forget who!) came up with the great idea of a campaign targeted at first years by looking at journal subscriptions that have been cancelled that might have been relevant to FYP position paper research.

I suggested making a video to try to spread the word about the library cuts.

Rowan says that the Science Society has been a little less involved in this issue as they campaigned really hard to reinstate library hours (which they did successfully!) and they’re not exhausted.

Katie asks whether there could be a way to involve FYP tutorials.

Michaela says that when council takes on projects like this, the work becomes time sensitive. Councillors will have the opportunity to review materials the exec puts together in the coming days and weeks.

Haritha asks about the possibility of alumni donations. Rowan says Stop The Cut has been writing to famous alumni to let them know what’s going on (more for awareness than for funds). Jacqueline’s opinion is that it is the university’s job to fund the library and that alumni should not be responsible for paying for it. She also mentions that the idea was floated to get faculty to use their own research funds, which she sees as unacceptable.

She also reminds us that although King’s does not have a representative on FASS, the meetings are open and we are free to attend.

Hannah wants us to think about practical temporary solutions. Though we should not rely on things like alumni decisions for the longterm, we need to find solutions that will, for instance, let students write their theses this year.

Jesse doesn’t think we should consider short term solutions. He says it sets a standard that we are willing to “do it ourselves” in cases where the university should be covering their own costs. He says we should take the action route.

The motion is adopted.

Other Business of Council (approximately 10 minutes)

7. New Business

12:20: No new business.

8. Good of the order (discussion concerning the functioning of council)
Check in on second council meeting and brief discussion about paper usage

12:21 Alex tells us to take a look at the board room table… there’s a lot of paper here. The KSU spends a lot of money on photocopies for council. He suggests projecting the agenda instead of printing it out. We’re also floating the possibility of just doing electronic copies. Haydn says this would require that we make a commitment to have the agenda and the reports ready in advance. Jesse suggests using google docs so that we can make last minute updates. Sounds like we’re all pretty interested in going paperless (or close to paperless) at council.

12:28: Jake says that it is “heartwarming” that people who are not councillors are coming to council.

12:30: Next council called for 10 am November 17th.

Meeting adjourned!