Oh, you thought you could escape it? You trickster you. The KSU returns to the Boardroom this Sunday, January 26th at 10AM for another council meeting.
10:05: Called to order.
Anika’s report! She’s sending her regrets today but sent in a report. She created a candid photo campaign about KSU services (she gives props to Anna for design, Erica for photos, and me for edits). She’s asking councillors to help put them up after council.
My report! I’ve been talking to councillors informally outside of council to give us some extra time to talk through some of the big stuff that’s been happening in the KSU lately. It’s been great. I mentioned ISIC tabling and I helped Anika with her candid photo poster campaign. I’ve been spreading the word about (academic, enrolment, and library) consultation and I attended a slightly disheartening marketing consultation session on a proposed new brand identity for King’s. Many students voiced concerns but it was unclear whether this feedback would be taken into account.
Sophia has been making sure students are aware of consultations. She’s also been in touch with a variety of students about our discussion items for this week’s council.
Katie has finished elections for the FYP quote on the tshirt! (Grant me chastity and continence but not yet- Augustine). She’s been helping out with the KSU(YOU) campaign. She spent most of the snow day going around with Erica getting people to fill out posters saying what their union means to them.
She worked with the feminist collective to talk through how the KSU spaces are run and what changes could be made to make spaces safer.
Emily was at DSU council this week. They talked about the potential for a fall reading week, implementing quorum on their elections (you read that right, they don’t currently have quorum), their relationship with CASA, a potential increase to their health plan fee, and possibly electing rather than hiring a financial officer.
She hasn’t been able to meet with Stephen Kimber yet but is hoping to do so this week. She’s going to keep spreading the word to j schoolers about Thursday’s town hall meeting and consultations.
Great academic committee meeting the other day! Looking forward to ISIC tabling on Wednesday (9am – 2pm).
Hannah: Went to Dalhousie Science Society meeting. They are sponsoring a CPR and first aid course on February 8th ($40, 9am-5pm). Helped plan some of the KSU(YOU) campaign. King’s Science Society “was supposed to be a thing by today… but that fell through”. But they do have a constitution! Figuring out the executive asap. She’s hoping to host an informal science student academic advising event. Tentatively scheduled for March 5th.
Haritha notes that DASSS was cancelled this week. She was at the informal council meeting last weekend (most other councillors were there too) to talk about the budget. She was also at the KS(YOU) planning meeting and she says Hannah had tons of great ideas. Haritha appreciated our informal meeting and says it’s a “good thing” I’ve set up. HOST Society got their funding request in!
John: Battle of the Bays coming up on Feb 8th and Feb 28th. Study snacks now starts at 4:30 to be more accessible to day students (there’s talk of getting meal passes for them, too). Still working on figuring out how day students can email their essays in for editing. Trying to get a library of FYP books set up. (Other books welcome too). They’re hoping to put it in North Pole Bay. Sophia asks if they could find a location that doesn’t require a swipe card. He’s hoping to create a nice reading space on campus.
Colleen: Pool tournament coming up all this week. $5 buy in and proceeds go to pool table maintenance. They’ve been talking about wardroom renovations- though they want a kitchenette that isn’t going to happen in the foreseeable future, but they are going to be able to get a new dishwasher for the Wardy. Quin (DSS President) will be talking to the advancement office about Wardy renovation plans to make sure that when they do happen students are on board. She’s been talking to Dean Hatt about how to make campus more accessible to students. There’s a plan to have a snow day contingency plan where day students could crash in the Wilson common room.
10:25: Anna’s report. Consent week planning is going well. She spent the last week working with the president of SUNSCAD and tomorrow they’re going to release a tentative schedule (and volunteers will be needed!).
Anna’s going to set up a meeting with KTS exec past and present to talk about what the pit space agreement with the university could and should look like.
Anna mentioned our first grad committee meeting (I was there!) and notes we’ll be meeting with her every two weeks to stay in touch.
Anna says councilor check ins last week were great and one of the main useful pieces of feedback they got was that councillors would appreciate more context leading up to council meetings.
Mentioned the same marketing session I was at. The tentative brand narrative is “It takes courage to be an original thinker” and she says students gave “courageous” feedback and she’ll keep us posted on how this proceeds.
Mentions that the KS(YOU) campaign is oriented towards our thinking about the town hall meeting on Thursday night.
She also mentions that it has come to her attention that some offices on campus have been advertising work for students that doesn’t pay. She wants people to think about students getting renumeration for the work they do for the university. When James asks for details she specifies that renumeration in some cases might include something as simple as a free meal.
Final announcement: last week when they reported back from Student Roundtable with government, the government told them that they had not even started to discuss policy on tuition. This week we found out that the government plans to increase tuition by at least 3% and up to 4.5% next year. This is still in the committee phase but we have our work cut out for us over the next little while.
10:34: Michaela: Academic Consultation has been rescheduled for this Wednesday at 12:30-1:30 in the SCR (THIS IS A PIZZA LUNCH). The Enrolment Planning Committee lunch is also coming up on February 4th from 12-1 location tba (BUT THERE WILL BE PIZZA).
We’re looking for feedback by this Friday. Fill out that google form!
Michaela is working on securing a darkroom… apparently the previous space secured for the darkroom would have eliminated the KSU storage space. Hopefully we can have both. She’s working on it.
She’s been talking to Dean Hatt about planning a low risk drinking campaign. She’s looking for a graphic designer to work with, you can reach out to her at email@example.com.
10:39: Alex’s turn. There was a meeting about levy policy. They’ve assigned research tasks and will meet again soon. As of right now there are very few levy documents so they’re trying to figure out when levies were put into place. They’re going to look at minutes to figure out what kinds of discussion around levies have happened in the past. They need to figure out things like opt out procedures for different levies.
YAS Ball was cancelled. Michaela and Alex met with the YAS exec after hearing some concerns from Emily, and together figured out that the event was not going to be financially feasible.
The KTS has been in touch with the KSU about selling off some extra mylar flooring (which was purchased with KSU funds). They’re planning to buy lights (or something similar) with the money from it.
The University Budget Committee has been meeting a lot (it shouldn’t surprise us to hear that we’re in a difficult place as an institution). They’re trying to figure out how to cut back without harming academics and other core services.
10:43: Jesse’s turn. He’s giving us the details on the Student Action Day Camp happening on February 8th. It’ll be based out of the KTS Red Room with break out rooms as well. Workshops will include student movement and general activist training. There’s going to be an anti oppression workshop, an effective meeting strategies workshop, and more.
It’ll run from approximately 10 am- 6 pm and is open to all students (it is free!). Most speakers are set but the official schedule will be announced soon. Food will be provided!
March 23rd at 10 am will be the CFS NS General Meeting, likely at King’s. Positions on the Provincial Exec will be elected.
Jesse is helping Katie organize a Tenant’s Rights workshop for February 6th at 7 pm in the Manning Room. Anyone planning to rent an apartment should show up.
10:50: Haydn’s report! Nominations for exec and BOG rep positions open TOMORROW and close on FRIDAY. Nomination packages will be available outside the KSU office and on the KSU website as of tomorrow morning. Speeches will take place on February 11th in the Wilson Common Room and voting will happen on the 12th and 13th outside Prince Hall (9-5 each day).
225 party is happening, most artists already booked. Date is still March 1st. Working on getting the Wardroom license extended to be used for a larger capacity in the gym. Fingers crossed we will have a big announcement during early happy hour this Friday.
Getting email fixed: hasn’t happened yet. The CFS office is busy and hopefully we’ll get email fixed soon.
Slow down on the app front… apparently the proposed union app does not run on Blackberry and Haydn has a Blackberry so he can’t run it. Hopefully the next CVP does not have a Blackberry.
10:54: Time for action items! The Cult of Classics is planning 6 events that will cost a total of $123. They’re renting movies and having snacks appropriate to the theme of each movie. Alex is stoked about how much fun they are having and how cheaply they are doing it. Finance committee recommends approval. The motion is adopted.
History of Science and Technology Society is asking for $79 to host (get it? HOST) a Galentine’s Day party and a podcast listening party. They’re requesting contingent funding rather than non contingent because they are having trouble accessing their bank account. Galentine’s Day is taking place on Valentine’s Day but will be Galen themed. Finance committee is excited about this but is disappointed that HOST Society probably has enough money for these events but can’t access it. The motion is adopted.
We’re talking about a motion to give WUSC $402 to fly Tracy Shields to Halifax to speak at a WUSC conference.
Alex notes that we should be able to cut this number in half by instead offering WUSC photocopying through the KSU printer (they had been planning to use an outside printing service). James ( a WUSC rep) emphasizes that they have already sought out quite a lot of funding from other sources.
Alex moves to amend this motion to cover only the cost of the flight(and not the hotel room) at $179.32 and to add 400 colour photocopies. The amendment is adopted.
Anna wants to emphasize how great this is. The WUSC levy only funds the refugee student and this is allowing WUSC to “spread its wings” and do more in the community. The motion is adopted.
We have a scheduled recess now but we’re going to wait til 12 so res students can eat in meal hall.
We’re considering 5.4-5.6 in omnibus. These are three different travel bursary requests from three students all attending the same conference (Canadian Political Science Students Association Conference). They’re each asking for $100. We already gave funding requests for this same conference to two other students. The conference is taking place right now. Finance committee was frustrated that all the student presented nearly identical letters (and that they came in so late). However, finance committee really wants to give out travel bursaries and knows they aren’t advertised enough. Further, there does not exist any form or official guideline for travel bursary letters.
Michaela thinks it is great that we’re giving out funding for travel bursaries but she’s concerned that it is retroactive and that year after year the KSU says we need to advertise travel bursaries better, and then we don’t. Sophia asks how much money we have left for travel bursaries, Alex says $800, or $500 if these three bursaries are approved. Motions are adopted in omnibus.
Daniel Whitten has requested a $100 travel bursary to travel to Northern Ireland with the Dalhousie Northern Ireland Dialogue for Peace (leaving in February). Mostly funded through his own money and through fundraising. Finance Committee was very excited and saw the sum as surprisingly low considering the overall cost of the trip. This amount will help offset some of his accommodations (at a centre where he will be taking workshops). This is the place where he’ll be learning and bringing back information to lead seminars at King’s. We’re talking about amending the amount to $200. Katie points out that we would then have only $300 left for travel bursaries. She anticipates more requests coming in for summer projects. She would prefer to provide as many opportunities as possible for different students.
Jesse moves to amend the motion to $200. Alex says that Katie just made a very convincing argument, but he’s worried about dwelling on the hypothetical concern for people who have not yet approached us (and may not approach us).
Sophia is worried about the first come first serve nature of travel bursaries. She asks if there are other avenues that students can apply for funding from the KSU (are there other bursaries that the KSU offers?). Alex confirms that there are none.
Alex says he’s happy that we’re worried about spending the whole travel bursary line because it might encourage us to increase that line in the future. I note that we have recently considered reducing this budget line as it has been underused in the past.
Emily says it is important to consider what students will be bringing back to King’s. She notes that we’ve just granted $500 to one conference, and this would just be $200 from another (as Daniel is the only King’s student going to this conference). And since they are already planning a coffeehouse event it is clear this group will be engaging with the King’s community before and after the trip.
Jesse calls the question. We’re voting on the amendment- it is adopted. The question is now on the main motion (now a $200 travel bursary). It passes.
11:30: We’re taking a five minute recess.
11:35: We’ve all got copies of budgets in our hands. There’s a cute budget poster board that Anna’s putting together. It’s all happening.
She and Alex are giving us some context and then we’ll discuss. The exec has been thinking a lot about the structural deficit we’ve been talking about all year. All conversations indicate that we should expect a proposed increase of some kind. In terms of scheduling the referendum, council needs to decide on the question by next Wednesday. The plan is to propose a number today for discussion on Thursday at the town hall meeting, and then following the town hall meeting we can ratify a referendum question with the actual meeting. It’s important to us that we go to the membership before we decide on a referendum question.
Now Alex is talking about numbers. After presenting a proposed budget at the spring GM, we came back in the fall and realized the budget wasn’t as balanced as we thought (due to things like photocopying costs, greater staff costs than anticipated, etc). The exec figured out what needed to be amended and where cuts could be made, but there was still a major deficit. Alex points out that we would have had a much greater deficit if it weren’t for the amendments made in the fall.
Finance committee began investigations into how student unions comparable to ours were managing their money. We’ve also been tracking our spending really well this year so we have a better idea of what union spending actually looks like. Finance committee decided that union dues need to increase due to a long history of union growth without due increases.
It is worth noting that we can’t decide exactly how the KSU will budget in the future as we can’t tell future FVPs what to do. So we can lay out due increases with hypothetical budget changes, but we can’t count on exactly what future budgets will look like. For this reason it makes sense to choose an amount that will offer some flexibility for future executives but will also support the union growth that we have been seeing over the last several years.
Anna is putting a number up for discussion: an increase of $9.40 per term.
Alex says it is difficult to balance what we know about the past and what we can guess will happen in the future when planning for due increases. He wants to allow for the possibility of growth in ways that we can’t anticipate.
How did this number come about? The exec figured out that to cover the current deficit we would need an increase of $8.80 per year ($4.40 per term). There have also been conversations about how to account for increased staffing and exec honouraria.
I ask what kinds of things this $5 per term (above and beyond covering the deficit) could do. Alex says we want to be able to give our full time staff raises if we keep them on for future years. We’re also looking at increasing exec honouraria.
He also points out that there are other budget lines that we might want to be able to increase other budget lines (travel bursaries? other forms of financial assistance for students?).
Haritha points out that if this year’s staff review committee decides to give staff raises, that would be written into contracts and the next executive would be required to budget that way.
Hannah wonders if we can put together a general 5 year plan. Even though we can’t predict how future exec will budget in the future, it could be useful to tell members what the long term vision might be.
Colleen advocates a larger due increase. She’s worried that we won’t have enough money to add to our savings account and doesn’t think our current contingency planning would allow us to deal with an emergency should it arise.
Alex points out that $9.40 is a very conservative number when it comes to anticipating future growth, but that there was discomfort with asking for a larger number.
Hannah wonders if people will be uncomfortable with the fact that most of the money from this increase would support staffing costs rather than tangible new services. She has heard from members who are concerned about this.
Anna wants to clarify the difference between levies and due increases. As opposed to having a specific amount of money allocated to a specific cost (e.g. a levy for the South House), increasing dues is about investing in everything that the union does.
Haritha points out that there will be some continuity: current councillors and finance committee will be part of the decision making process with the next executive.
Sophia asks whether we can make up some campaign materials about what our staff and exec do on a day to day basis. Alex says he is wary of quantifying people, but he says that this is a goal of the KS(YOU) campaign. He mentions that many people brought up the galley and the wardroom as favourite parts of the union, and that we should think about the amount of work (and volunteer work) Nick Wright puts into keeping these services running.
Sophia worries that the work Chris Parsons does may go under appreciated as so much of his work happens behind the scenes. Alex says it is hard to even imagine how the union could operate without someone in the IC role.
Katie worries we need to do more to educate union members about what we’re up to and she thinks that the people who will attend the Town Hall are people who are already interested and informed about the union. She asks how we can put together a wider ranging campaign that will reach out to people who are on the edges of the community.
Michaela wants to frame this conversation around accessibility. Having staff people means that our office can be open on a day to day basis. She says the executive honouraria are important so that people who would otherwise be unable to join the executive due to financial reasons (e.g. needing to have a part time job) are able to participate. She also points out that accessibility is the reason we don’t charge cover at the wardy.
James thinks this is a very responsible thing to do. He agrees that we need to be conscious about how this will be viewed. He suggests having a discussion like this at the wardy during early happy hour to reach out to people who would never otherwise come to this sort of meeting. He says we also need to be careful about crossing messages. He’s worried about how this will look against the KSU and the CFS’s commitment to lower tuition fees. He thinks these conversations are related and he thinks that the factors the KSU presents that require this increase are the same as those that admin and government talk about when they want to increase tuition fees.
Anna makes a motion to name $9.40 per term as the number we will present to the town hall on Thursday. She likes that we’ve been talking a lot about how this might happen but she wants to know whether we actually think this is a good idea.
Hannah thinks that presenting one number at the town hall might not be the best strategy. She wonders whether we could present two numbers and then get feedback from students about it. Colleen agrees and wants to present a higher number (about $15) at the town hall as well.
Alex clarifies that the exec and finance committee think that $9.40 is the right number. Council can still figure that out. The consultation on Thursday will let the general body either agree or disagree.
Evan (from the Watch) asks whether there were consultations about the HM position last year. Anna clarifies that it went through council and it was voted on a a general meeting.
Hannah still thinks we should recommend two numbers for the town hall. Jesse says members still have the ability to suggest that the number either be higher or lower and that feedback will hold weight.
Sophia argues that our recommendation will hold weight with members even if it is possible for them to suggest the number being higher or lower.
Haritha thinks it is important for council to choose one number to be able to stand behind our recommendation.
Michaela thinks the conversation might be more straightforward with just one number.
I suggest that, if council supports the $9.40 number, we vote to recommend it, and that at the town hall meeting we just let everyone know that there have been many numbers on the table and different things could be done with each number, but that the executive, finance committee, and council support $9.40 as the best option based on our research. Haydn agrees.
Sophia notes that some students might prefer $4.40 as a way of simply covering the deficit.
Colleen thinks we should recommend the $15 per term to provide us with more financial security.
Katie suggests a 20 minute lunch break to eat and to spend some time thinking this over. It goes through. We’ll be back at 12:42.
12:47: We’re back. Jake emphasizes that if we intend to advocate for another number we should not vote in favour of $9.40 now. The motion passes. A proposed due increase of $9.40 will be brought to the general body on Thursday night.
12:49: Anna has received a letter from a number of members addressed to her and to council. It regards issues of gender equality in our community. She reminds us that all members are welcome to either approach her or any member of the exec or to attend council to voice any concerns they might have about any topic.
Here is the full text of the letter Anna is reading:
To Anna Dubinski, President of the King’s Students’ Union, and the KSU Council:
“I am writing to you, because I want the KSU to address one of the sources of inequality at King’s that I believe is under-acknowledged and under-discussed on our campus: specifically, the presence and activities of fraternities around the university (here, I am thinking particularly of Kappa Alpha, because its membership is mainly comprised of male-identified King’s students — but it is important to acknowledge that there are others, too). The direct economic benefits (in the form of scholarship funds and travel coverage, among others) and social structures provided by these institutions to men in our community serve to reinforce patriarchal norms that harm the community as a whole.
The sexism and elitism of fraternity policy and culture is often defended by an argument that proposes that fraternities provide a ‘safe space’. I think it is important that we acknowledge that this language is actually a mockery of the idea of safe spaces; fraternities make campus life less safe for people who don’t identify as cis males. The ‘safety’ comes at a cost—the reinforcement of gender norms that are harmful to women and queer members of our community—and the price is exacted from those who can least afford it. Another defense I often hear is that these societies are ‘traditional’. Here, I think it is essential that we acknowledge that not all old ideas are good ideas.
I don’t doubt that some men ‘feel more comfortable’ in the company of other men and more able to be vulnerable in gender-segregated settings, but I don’t believe that this is a healthy attitude to encourage, especially since it bears striking resemblance to the arguments that have been made in order to keep women out of universities and careers and sporting events in the past. My male peers’ need to feel ‘safe’ intellectually and emotionally (with other males) pales in comparison to the very real need that others have to fight for, to be kept physically and academically safe on this campus. The idea that fraternity culture should be protected even at the expense of women in our community seems to me to be another way of saying that men’s needs come first, even in a society where the hypermasculinity and bonding rituals in fraternities actually serve to increase the danger to women around us and further disadvantage them. As a don, I see this question about safety for women play out every day with very real physical and emotional stakes.
We need to acknowledge that women and queer and trans members of our community don’t have the kind of ‘safe’ space frat members work so hard to defend for themselves. Nor do I want women to have spaces like a fraternity to go to (i.e. sororities) — because I do think frat and sorority structures both contribute to a the reinforcement of gender binaries that are harmful to our society and culture, and both fraternities and sororities rely upon forms of exclusivity and privilege that worsen the effects of socioeconomic stratification among students. However, my concerns about fraternities on this campus far outstrip my concerns about sororities, and I do not believe that there exists an oppositional symmetry between the two. Because of the history of patriarchy and the complicity of fraternities in the perpetuation of its structures, I do not believe the privileges conferred by sororities are comparable to those that fraternities offer their members.
Most fraternities promote a vision of elitist hypermasculinity that has to be constantly proven through rituals that reinforce the exclusion of “others”—usually women, queer and trans people, and people of colour. I understand that the Kappa Alpha has taken steps to eliminate rituals associated with aggressive masculinity and is willing to eject members who spread homophobia and sexism. Forgive me for being a little skeptical about the possibility of meaningful change (that amounts to more than tokenism), given the fact that fraternities are, by nature, gender-segregated. To some extent, you can’t maintain segregation without policing the masculinity of participants. This problem is emphatically not mitigated by the presence of sororities (whose alumni don’t offer one another the kind of benefits and connections on that male frats can, with a history of the kind of privilege that is associated with patriarchy) or by social ‘gender-inclusive’ events hosted by men in fraternities.
My hope is that the KSU Council will be willing to begin discussions about taking a public stance on the existence and activity of fraternities on and around our campus, and will do all in its power to ensure that the negative effects of such groups are mitigated in our community so that we can work and study together in a more equitable environment.”
The letter is signed by Bethany Hindmarsh, Meghan Shields, Michal Stein, Katie Merwin, and Charlotte Bell.
Anna says she thinks this discussion is overdue but in the past she has not felt it possible to bring up, so she is glad that these members have brought it to our attention. She reminds us that this conversation may be a difficult one and that we can call a recess at any time and that we are able to call points of personal privilege if we feel any factors are preventing us from participating in a fair and safe conversation.
Anna emphasizes that there are no fraternities or sororities seeking KSU funding or ratified officially with the union in any way. It is important for us to recognize that we are not in a position of authority here. She also emphasizes that our discussion should surround this letter specifically.
Bethany Hindmarsh is here at council today. She is the one who wrote this letter and circulated it to other members of the King’s community. She wants to emphasize that this letter is about structures and not about individuals. The only outcome she is looking for is a conversation. She said that a number of people she circulated this letter to supported its contents but were not willing to face the social punitive measures they believed would be involved in signing the letter. Bethany therefore thanks us for even having this conversation as it is a difficult thing to talk about.
Michaela points out how huge it is that a group of our members came together to write this letter, considering how infrequently members approach the KSU about any concerns.
Jesse asks Jake what action, if any, this body could take. Jake says we have no jurisdiction other than reprimands or statements of support.
I emphasize that even having this conversation is important, and that we do have a history of writing letters and making comments about issues outside of our immediate community. For instance, last year we wrote a letter to Just Us! management supporting the workers there who aimed to form a union.
Hannah affirms this concern about safe spaces on campus but also says that everyone on campus has a right to associate with groups off campus.
I read a statement from Amelia Wilding who asked if we could talk about a group, such as the Middle Bay Gentlemen’s society, which is funded by King’s and performs the same kind of gender exclusion under the guise of tradition.
Anna emphasizes that Kim Kierans (equity officer) and Nick Hatt are great resources if anyone feels unsafe on campus.
She replies to Amelia’s thoughts by saying she would prefer to keep conversation to the content of this letter for now, but a discussion of the Middle Bay Gentleman’s society could happen later if people are interested.
Bethany is concerned that hiring by frat members of other frat members as Wardroom staff does affect student safety. She worries about students being kept safe by members of an institution that they do not trust to keep them safe. She says this is not just about friendships among members of certain organizations, but is about the way institutions interact.
Colleen says she didn’t feel comfortable broaching this topic with her friends but in the last few days several people have brought these concerns up with her. She points out that it is to an extent normal that jobs are often gotten via connections (and that’s a reality of the way hiring works).
She brings up the question of safe spaces and emphasizes that it is a reality that men may need a safe space and that men may not always feel comfortable talking about certain issues with women present.
Michaela brings up concerns she has heard about KA organizing a party that seemed to replace YAS Ball. She notes the interactions between these kinds of organizations does happen.
Bethany agrees it is an oversimplification to say that safe spaces for men make a mockery of the idea of safe spaces. She would like to nuance that statement in her letter by saying that those spaces need to be responsible to something outside themselves.
James is here, he is a member of Kappa Alpha. He wants to emphasize that he is speaking for himself and not for KA. He wants to make it clear that the organization is not political and that their one goal is promoting literacy. He also emphasizes that the party held recently was not associated with Kappa Alpha- that was just a question of the residents of that house having a party. It was not advertised as a frat party. James also emphasizes that he is a member of a King’s community first, before anything else he is involved with. He acknowledges that fraternity culture is a thing, and that fraternity culture is not a good thing.
As a member of the Wardroom staff, he wants to emphasize that all hiring for the Wardroom happens through the KSU and this shouldn’t be a concern in the future. He points out that many members of KA have applied to work at the Wardy (and not all have been hired). It does bother him that while working at the bar he might not be seen as a staff member first. He hopes that people would feel comfortable speaking with him.
He notes that there is a fear that has been raised.
James was advised not to come because there was a concern that KA members might intimidate council. He thinks there is some serious misinformation going around and he thinks this may be a fear of the unknown more than anything else.
He says some members of KA hope to invite women to join the society in the future.
His main point is that KA does not intend to infiltrate King’s, and that he doesn’t think the spirit of the fraternity is as dangerous as it is made out to be.
I thanked James for coming here to speak with us. I picked up on Colleen and Bethany’s points about safe spaces, and I emphasized that while it is important for men to have safe spaces, the institution of KA is about more than a safe space. I pointed to scholarship and travel opportunities available only to fraternity members which necessarily exclude women. I asked him to speak more about the possibility of women joining the fraternity.
He said that it could be possible and it is something this chapter is interested in doing, but that other chapters they regularly socialize with are not as open to the idea. This would not prevent the local chapter from letting women in, but it could affect their relationships with members at other chapters.
Jesse emphasizes that parties that take place at the house where KA meetings happen are not advertised as frat parties (in contrast to the advertising done at parties hosted by other fraternities). He also emphasizes that we don’t want to alienate the individual members of KA as they are members of the King’s community first.
Sophia is concerned with the perceptions of KA on campus and the secrecy surrounding it. She says there is an issue on both sides there. She thinks there needs to be a large discussion about the implications of a gender exclusive space that takes on parts of our identity as King’s students. She emphasizes female students might be interested in the literary aspect of the society, which is a common interest among King’s students, but they are excluded from these meetings. She wants to encourage a continued discussion about gender dynamics and inequality.
Anna wants to be clear that if James was ever encouraged not to attend council, that was not on behalf of council or the executive. James agrees and doesn’t want to be this to be misconstrued.
Anna emphasizes that while there might be one specific group that sparked the conversation, we are here to talk more generally about gender dynamics on campus. She says as someone who identifies as a woman, this is an experience that interacts with other experiences she has on campus, in the KSU, in class, walking home, etc.
In terms of a potential action, she thinks the union would support a community discussion. If an individual would like to bring this up, they can do so and the union can go from there. She would like to move a motion to reaffirm the KSU’s commitment to a policy of non discrimination as set out in the preamble of the union’s constitution.
Katie says we are dealing with two systems that do not share each other’s values. Union policies in this matter are already what we want them to be. She thinks one of the best ways to move forward is to come to an agreement that KA members’ allegiance lies first as members of the King’s community.
Katie thinks it might be time to have more conversation with the KSU and the KA together. While understanding that the two groups will still have a conflict in values, she hopes we might be able to find a stance with which to face one another.
Emily says that as a councillor, she tries to think about how best to represent her constituents, and her responsibility is to the union. When members of the union bring this topic up as a concern, it is our responsibility to address their concerns from the union’s perspective. She also emphasizes that she thinks when people say they feel unsafe it is not about specific individuals being “bad people”, it’s a concern about discrimination and about union values not being upheld.
Sophia emphasizes the importance of students feeling safe on campus and feeling heard.
Hannah notes that there is often a distinction between a person’s actions and their beliefs and values. People may not realize this inconsistency. If a person chooses to associate with this kind of group it may not necessarily be because they support everything it is implicated in. She also says that this does not necessarily mean that they are trying to push anything on others.
Michaela speaks in favour of the motion we now have on the table.
Anna reminds everyone that the union and the university are always there to talk to students facing these issues in the context of their individuals experiences and situations.
As a member of this community, it is her belief that no one should ever discriminate against anyone else.
Alex wants to affirm his commitment to these values, but he feels he has to abstain from this vote due to a conflict of interest as a representative.
The motion is adopted.
New Business: Anna brings up councillor appreciation. We’re gonna go out for dinner. We’re also planning ISIC tabling for this Wednesday (come visit from 9 am – 2 pm in the A &A lobby and get a card for some sweet discounts).
We’re looking at Saturday February 1st at 12:30 for a brief council to choose a referendum question re: union dues.
Haydn reminds us that election nominations open tomorrow! This includes five executive positions and BOG reps + Res reps.
Fun announcement: We’ll have KD (and vegan options) at the town hall on Thursday.
2:02: Meeting adjourned!