Live Blog: Council November 30th

This is the end. One last council for 2013. Member at Large K-Gross will be live blogging from 16:00 AST onward.

Here’s the agenda.

4:07: Meeting called to order!

Alex wants to strike the motion to elect a representative to the Watch Board of Publishers, because he had been told that one of the KSU reps (Emma Morris) had dropped out and that we could elect someone to replace her. Apparently, both those things are wrong. Emma Morris did not drop out, AND we couldn’t elect a replacement at council anyway. So it all works out.

4:09: Minutes from last council are approved as corrected. I got a shout out for my copy editting. 🙂

4:10: Colleen announces the DSS’s holiday event in the wardroom on Thursday. The DSS also gave the Photography Club some money to put up a photography wall in the wardy. They’re gonna have frames soon! Fancy!

4:11: John Cavan says there’s a Christmas party going on tonight after Infringement, run by some res students.

Sophia asks whether Day Students can be involved in Battle of the Bays. John says Quinn was in charge of advertising but only two Day Students have responded so far. They’re talking about doing more to promote it in the future.

Michaela asks if there are extra study snack dates for oral exams. John says he’ll confirm (apparently these dates do exist) since he’s not the one who organizes them.

4:13: Anika just got back from the CFS General Meeting and she says it was an amazing experience. We’ll be going over her report later but she encourages everyone to learn more about the CFS since we all pay a levy to them.

4:14: Haritha reports that CSP has found a speaker to come in, and the King’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Symposium got together and the planning is underway.

4:15: I gave a little update on WUSC. Since the Board met and released the levy, the opt outs have run smoothly.

4:17: Emily talked with some Jschool students to hear their concerns before going into the external review.

Karis: there was a board meeting yesterday and it was fun! She says there wasn’t too much big news this time. Anna brought up the importance of defending the library at King’s and ensuring that library cuts not be considered here. The chair gunning for all the board members to donate, including students, which Karis describes as “a little silly” since students already pay so much in tuition and give so much of their time to the school.

The idea of a “growth model” came up. Daniel Brandes gave a presentation about FYP to the board (who aren’t necessarily very familiar with the program) and he emphasized that the ratio of 15 students to one tutor needs to be maintained. Karis says this was very helpful for board members to have in mind when talking about growth.

They also talked about international student expenses (they pay more than double regular tuition). Board members defended this by saying that it’s still cheaper than in the US, but for Karis and the other student BOG reps this was not a satisfactory answer, it’s still exploitative.

4:21: Sophia’s been talking to day students about the possibility of a day student don (apparently this has existed in the past) as well as somewhere to crash (especially as the weather gets worse).

4:23: Katie has set up the FYP announcement board and word is spreading about it! Check it out in the link next to the KSU office. There have been some issues with people not hearing FYP announcements. She’s also heard that people would be interested in a “Life Skills” workshop- things like budgeting, house hunting, basic repairs, etc etc. Council thinks this sounds like an awesome idea.

4:27: Anna’s report! Execs are going to be talking in their reports about how they feel the semester has gone and what they’re looking forward to in the new year.

She mentions, as Karis did, that the board expects all members to donate to the university. The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding, not legally binding but an agreement to prevent tuition from rising more than 3% and public funding decreasing by more than 3%) between universities and the NS government is about to expire and we don’t know if a new one will be drafted- it’s an interesting crossroads. So if the MOU is not renewed, theoretically tuition could become unregulated. But we don’t know yet what’s going to happen.

Amelia Wilding (former Arts Rep) is working with the advancement office to get more students connecting with Alumni.

Anna gave a presentation to DASSS about what it means to be a King’s student. There was discussion about whether CSP, EMSP and HOST should have reps on DASSS rather than just one King’s rep. The DSU is looking to get more representation on the senate which is a great catalyst for the KSU’s possibility of getting any representation.

The Italian Studies program is now on suspension at Dal (no new courses for 3 years, after three years the existence of the program will be reevaluated), as the Creative Writing program has been.

DASSS does an executive review where all councillors give feedback about the exec and the feedback is presented publicly- this is something the KSU is going to consider doing.

Anna is very proud of how the semester has gone. Some moments of reflection: to run for an executive position, is, as it stands, a structurally and emotionally unsound decision. As students who often manage multiple part time jobs alongside their executive responsibilities, she says it’s impossible for executive members to be able to juggle everything and give attention to all their responsibilities without sacrificing their emotional and physical health. She emphasizes that this is something we need to consider when we look at our budget and consider the union’s financial priorities.

She’s taking a moment to thank each of her co executive members. She’s saying Haydn has made KSU communications more witty than they have ever been and he lights up the whole campus. She really, really appreciates Jesse’s no bullshit approach. Alex: “Where the heck did you come from? I forget all the time that this is your first year working in the union and just two years ago you were in high school”. She thanks Michaela for working by her side, says she couldn’t do it without her.

Looking forward to next semester, she thinks there will be more time for executives to work on projects of special interest. For instance she’s looking forward to work with Grad committee, creating more public conversations about gender equity and consent, and talking about student spaces.

4:43: Katie is talking about student spaces. She asks about the President’s lodge and Anna confirms that as soon as the construction is completed and the space is livable, George Cooper will live there and will host events, as per tradition. Katie also asks about the reflection room that NSPIRG is setting up and whether something similar could happen on King’s campus. Anna says it is a good idea but space is super tight. Alex suggests that, aside from the Chapel on our campus, since King’s students do pay a levy to NSPIRG, there’s no reason we couldn’t use their reflection room.

At 12:30 on Thursday Dec 5th (this Thursday!), there’s going to be a huge announcement in Alumni Hall. It’s gonna take about 10 minutes. Anna doesn’t know exactly what it’s about (though it relates to University Affairs) but apparently it is HUGE and everyone should show up for this mystery announcement.

4:48: Michaela’s report! Wifi is in progress! It’s going to be rolled out location by location starting with the NAB and Alex Hall which are considered the most high priority. They’re trying to be sensitive and not have loud drilling etc. during the exam period. Ethernet cords will still exist in res rooms, so no worries about losing those!

The Pit renovations are going super well, the new exit exists! Construction is on track to be done for January. Reminder: don’t go down to the Pit unless you’re on the KTS exec.

She’s meeting with Alex Doyle and Nick Hatt about heating in the Bays- as anyone who has ever stepped foot in the Bays knows, heating is not so good there.

Michaela loved sitting down with academic committee. She says it was awesome to just chat about academics at King’s. They’re talking about doing an event for FYPsters where upper years will talk about life after FYP. Also, there’s the possibility that we’ll have a technology workshop soon. Apparently there are a lot of cool things we can do with our Dal email accounts that we’re not really taking advantage of.

Student Ratings of Instruction- you should all have an email about this on your Dal email accounts. It’s super important that you fill this out as it’s how decisions about tenure and appointments are made. When these ratings were switched from physical booklets filled out in class to an online system, feedback declined hugely. Last year so few students submitted their ratings that all the ratings were thrown out as they didn’t have enough to put together useful statistics. Do this ASAP, the system shuts down Dec 4th.

Haritha mentions that this also affects instructors who are hired on a year to year basis (as many instructors at King’s are).

Michaela’s talking more about student space issues. When the library was first built group study space was less of an issue as the school was open at night and there were less societies booking rooms. Now, group study space is a much bigger concern.

YAS Ball will be happening this year! Probably in January but it’s TBA.

CUBE is great but Anders may be doing too much work. Michaela’s talking about how she can support him. You should all go to CUBE! Rotating sports in the Gym Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 pm and Yoga in the dance studio at 4 pm on Wednesdays and 5 pm on Saturdays (there are extra yoga mats available). But I’m sure you’ve already heard about this because Anders advertises about this stuff constantly.

There’s some conversation going on about the policy on smoking at King’s, you call fill out a survey about it, I’m going to try to find the link.

If you have feedback about the library (e.g. changes in the hours) you can put feedback in the box by the computer rooms in the basement, but Michaela is also looking into getting a feedback form up on the KSU website.

Michaela’s looking forward to a lot of consultations and student feedback next semester.

5:08: Alex loves the Outdoor Society. They got a huge turnout for their Duncan’s Cove hike and it was beautiful. The exec has just checked in with the society to see how things are going re: safety and logistics. The union is pumped to support them.

Alex’s report! The Watch Board of Publishers meeting is apparently open to everyone, you should check it out. The South House levy from last year finally went out. Hurrah. He, Jake, and Philippa are looking into the whole levy release process in a formal way.

Last year’s yearbook will likely go out in January.

He says, “My hope for next term is to present a recommendation about Union dues to Council, conduct another consultation session in January, and then likely ask for a referendum around dues in February.”

Jesse’s report: Unfortunately I lost internet access, but happily his report is included in the agenda. He’s sticking pretty close to what he wrote down.

Katie asked what plans he has to try to increase the turnout at Action! King’s, he says he’s gonna deal with it in January. He’s open to suggestions as to how they can get more consistent numbers.

5:28: Haydn’s report, which is also included in the agenda. Some confirmed musicians for the 225 party, which will be Saturday March 1st 2014. The performers are top secret for now but will be announced soon!

5:32: We’ve received reports from a bunch of UHPs (Union Hired Positions) and now we’re going to consider their honoraria.

First up, a motion to give a $250 honorarium to Kayla Fells, our Campus Safety Officer. She’s in her second year in the position. She’s been meeting with Jesse regularly. You can check out her report in the agenda. Highlights include: condom distribution (all over campus this year, vs just in the KSU office, as was the case in past years) and a safe Halloween talk. Motion adopted!

Now, Brianna Aird (sustainability officer), also $250. Her report is also in the agenda. Jesse says she and Sustainability King’s have done a ton of stuff this semester, including bike storage in the President’s Lodge garage and compost on first floor Alex Hall (which will be rolled out throughout all of residence soon). Green week coming up next semester. Motion is adopted.

5:38: Anders Jorgen, CUBE coordinator, is up. We’ve already talked about what great work he does. Michaela says he is SOOOOO good at his job. We’ve voted to give him his honorarium.

5:40: Gwendolyn Moncrieff-Gould is our scribe. She’s a great communicator and always gets her minutes in on time. Check out the wordle she included with her report (also in the agenda). The motion is adopted!

5:42: Haydn’s motivating for Anna Dubinski (we’re voting on exec honouraria for the first semester). He’s said she puts an incredible amount of work into her position and is constantly meeting with students. Karis adds that she really appreciates the way Anna speaks on behalf of the union. The motion is adopted! Anna gets $1520 for her first term as President.

5:44: Now Jesse’s motivating for Michaela. He says she’s the glue that keeps all societies on campus working well. She’s in the office all the time and she has to deal with a lot of shit. Motion adopted.

5:45: Anna’s motivating for Alex. She says she was going to write a poem but she didn’t have time. It’s amazing how he came out of the woodwork last year with no experience with the union. She feels very lucky to work with him. Sophia says she and a lot of people she has talked to really appreciated his clear discussion of the budget at the Fall GM. Motion adopted.

5:47: Michaela is motivating for Jesse. She says it has been such a pleasure to see how he has grown into the position. She feels honoured to work with him. Motion adopted.

5:49: Alex is motivating for Haydn, last but not least. “The one, and oh my god, the only”. Alex mentions how fun it is to get TWAK and how nice it is when Haydn’s in the office. Motion adopted!

5:50: BIRT the King’s Nerdfighteria receive $141.28 in contingent funding, 15 black and white photocopies, and 5 colour photocopies. Finance committee recommends approval. They’re planning to host a Harry Potter themed dinner event (gasps of approval from councillors). They’re planning to have it happen sometime in February, before reading week. They included a COLOUR CODED budget. They’re planning to charge $7 admission to this event to subsidize costs. The funding request is for food, tableware rentals, and decorations. Finance committee wondered whether it would be possible to borrow tableware from Sodexo. Daniel (from the Nerdfighteria society) says he hasn’t been able to get in touch with Sodexo yet but he is looking into it. He says that their estimate is based on the cheapest local rental service available. Also, the Wardroom would likely be prepared to lend them wine glasses. Alex notes that since this is contingent funding, we can approve them for the funding and if they spend less, it’s cool. And they’re cooking everything from scratch! Motion is adopted!

5:55: BIRT King’s Photography Club receive $215.88 in contingent funding. Alex says this is a “neat” project. They’re going to do a film swap for 12 people- they’ll each take a full roll of photos, trade the film with someone else who will also take photos, ending up with double exposure. An “oooooh” of understanding echoes across the room. This sounds pretty cool. Looking through the details of the expenses it looks pretty reasonable. There are plans to display the photos on campus so that the community can benefit from the project. Finance committee recommends approval. Jacob, from the Photography Club, says they’re only asking for enough money to print 3 photos from each roll, but all the photos will be available online. Anna thinks this is particularly wonderful. She loves that there’s such a creative project coming up in the community. Jacob has been researching what KIPS (King’s Image Photography Society) was up to in the past (he’s been hanging out in the archives). Katie suggests they look into doing photography sales and she feels a lot of King’s students would love to be able to own images of our campus. Motion adopted!

6:00: BIRT Platypus Affiliated Society receive $505.18 in non-contingent funding, 50 black and white photocopies and 20 colour photocopies. This would be for airfare and hotel for a speaker, Tom Riley, from the International Bolshevik Tendency, for a panel discussion. Last time they drew a crowd of about 50 people. They expect Tom Riley will be a big draw, alongside three local speakers. Platypus is a larger organization that the King’s/Dalhousie society participates in.

Here’s a motivation for the request:

“The reasons for specifically inviting Tom Riley of the International Bolshevik Tendency (IBT) are two fold. First, Tom is a veteran of the Marxist Left, having entered into these politics in the early 1980s with the last wave of Maoism that swept across North America and continental Europe. Basically, he is one of a handful number of people with such a long background with the Marxian Left who remains committed to some variety of Marxist revolutionary project (as opposed to taking up Marx in terms of academic study). Second, the IBT specifically represents a current of the Trotskyist Left that is quite peculiar. While much of this brand of politics has seen itself subject to adapting its politics to changing currents, as one might say of the tendency represented by are other invited Marxist speaker, Tony Tracy (Solidarity Halifax), the IBT holds a strictly orthodox interpretation of Marx. We anticipate that Riley will be able to push the conversation in important ways, namely to consider the legacy of Marxism and why it even matters given the collapse of Marxist politics in favor of what might be better characterized as anarchism.

Finally, the IBT, itself, has published an interesting piece after the G-20 in Toronto titled, Conversation with an Anarchist:
http://www.bolshevik.org/Pamphlets/ConversationWithAnAnarchist/ibt_20120128_conversation-with-an-anarchist-introduction.html

We feel that if we hope to get to the root of the question of what is the difference between anarchism and Marxism today, Tom offers the best opportunity to have a “classical” Marxist explanation of this difference is, by a group that is actively grappling with this question in light of current events.”

Gabriel Goodman says they would like to have a variety of opinions on the panel. They believe he is ideal to represent a certain kind of viewpoint on the left and that his input is incredibly valuable to the topic and the panel would be incomplete or lacking representation without him.

Alex also talked to Chris Parsons (KSU internal coordinator) who is familiar with this area and says Tom Riley would be an appropriate speaker for the event.

Platypus has come to the KSU first for funding and they plan to go to the DSU next, if we do not fund them in full. They are a jointly ratified society. Typically societies will ask for some funding from the KSU and some from the DSU. Michaela is also wondering about funding for their other activities this year (did they already get some funding from the DSU for their publication?). She wonders whether we could wait for the first council of the new year.

Alex says the event will take place Jan 16th and we may not have council again before then. He thinks they get funding from the larger Platypus organization for their publication. He confirms that this event would take place on the King’s campus. He mentions the concern about being able to book a flight at the last minute.

Anika asks if there is another DSU meeting before the event in case we wanted to go “halfsies”. Alex doesn’t think there will be one.

Anika also asks how this compares to CSP bringing a speaker in. Alex says the cost tends to be more for CSP as they tend to have speakers who require speakers’ fees.

Today on the phone Gabe said that partial funding is entirely ok.

Alex emphasizes that this is non contingent funding, meaning that they would immediately get the cheque for the full amount (rather than reimbursing them when we get their receipts).

Michaela motions to amend to $252.59, which is half the originally requested amount. Michaela says she wants to make this amendment partly because the society says they’re ok with it. This will give them a chance to talk to the DSU about funding, and if that falls through we will have a council meeting before the event and we can talk about more funding then. She also thinks this makes sense as we still have some questions for the society and none of their representatives are at council today to talk to us about it.

Jesse is speaking against the amendment, he thinks we should fund it fully and help them go all out on promoting it. He thinks that due to time constraints we need to move fast on this.

Katie moves to recess for 10 minutes.  Motion adopted. We’ll be back at 6:30.

We’re back! I just spoke against Jesse’s point, saying that it shouldn’t be council’s responsibility to move quickly without all our questions answered in the case that society representatives are not present at council, especially since the representative from the society we’ve been in touch with has sat on council and understands how council works and how long things take.

We’ve adopted the amendment.

The motion is adopted as amended.

6:34: BIRT Amelia Wilding receive a $100 travel bursary to attend the 18th Annual Canadian Political Science Students’ Association Conference.

Alex is reading the letter she wrote, with Michelle Fryzuk, who is also asking for a $100 travel bursary. They are also looking for funding from DASSS and the Political Science Department. They may have the opportunity to present papers (though this will not be confirmed until a later date) and they are excited to strengthen their connection to this organization. They are looking forward to bringing what they learn back to King’s, perhaps by setting up a forum (this is part of the criteria for travel bursaries- the KSU likes to see how the community will benefit). Finance committee recommends approval for both. Sophia moves to consider the two motions in omnibus. Sophia asks whether it is sustainable to support King’s students on an individual basis when they go to conferences. Alex says in the 2012/2013 year the KSU offered a number of similar travel bursaries. It’s a first come first serve situation, last year there was not overwhelming demand. Michaela clarifies that there is a budget line for travel bursaries in the budget that the general membership has voted on.

If this passes we’ll still have about $800 left in the budget line (just over half of what we have available for the full year). The motions are adopted!

6:43: Remember that Kamp KSU is tomorrow at 4 pm in the Wardy! It’ll be a great time to relax.

Also, office hours are done for the year, so it you want to meet with someone please book an appointment.

Meeting adjourned!