BREAKFAST FOR DINNER Spring General Meeting

Check back here for the General Meeting live blog starting at 7pm. While you’re waiting, check this out.

7:57: We have quorum! It’s happening. The agenda is adopted.

On to executive reports! Michaela (president) says its been a nutty couple weeks with changeover happening. Her goals include making the union more accessible (in terms of creating task forces to involve more union members) and also tackling the issue of proposed increases to tuition and ancillary fees (3%, and 8% for meal plan).

Alex (student life vp) is giving his report. He’s wearing a onesie of some kind (I think it is a dog costume? or a fox? Can anyone confirm?). He recently attended the Athletics Awards banquet and he’s really looking forward to getting athletes more involved in the union throughout the year. He’s been working with the KTS a lot on a new pit contract with admin to ensure student priority in access to the space. Considering whether it might be productive to create a NSCAD/King’s relationship so that King’s students have access to darkroom spaces as NSCAD.

Emily (financial vice president) gives Ben Singbeil a shout out for helping her make the bacon for tonight’s event. Her main presentation will come with the budget.

Katie (external vp) hopes to communicate more with societies, as there are many societies that can be involved with campaigns. She’s also looking to make mental health a priority on campus and she’s going to be advocating for tuition reduction. She notes the recent success in Newfoundland (gvmt recently announced loans will be turned into grants) but still lacking in NS.

Jacob has been working on TWAK, you’ll see his work on the Bylaws in a minute during that presentation.

8:04: We’re looking at the budget!

Emily’s explaining it all. There’s a change in organizing the levies- external (e.g. the South House) and internal (e.g. the Galley). She’s also listed the specific budget lines that come out of each levy (for instance, the Frosh Coordinator Honouraria come out of the Frosh Week levy). This also includes photocopy budget lines.

This is the year we’re reevaluating the original galley levy. A committee was put together to look at the situation and they’ve recommended a decrease to $8. This is due to the fact that as the Galley is now three years old, it is starting to get its feet under it.

The numbers under the Campaigns and Services Manager (new name for the Internal Coordinator) and Hospitality manager are still tentative as contract negotiations are ongoing, but they’re solid estimates.

The CUBE coordinator position has been split into two different positions (with a $250 honourarium each) based on consultations with the former CUBE coordinator.

Emily is proposing a summer executive honourarium ($2500 to be divided among executives who stay over the summer). This number was recommended based on what the union needs to function during the summer. The president needs to be present to supervise staff and frosh week coordinators, and two signing authorities must be on site to pay the bills.

She’s also detailing a proposal to raise executive honouraria to $4400 ($2200 per semester, or about $550  per month, which she notes approximately covers rent). She notes that this could not be a salary, as exec members work more hours than the union could afford to pay. She notes that though this represents a significant raise, it’s still nowhere near what other similarly sized unions pay their executives.

Now onto committees. They’re organized according to the executive member who chairs them. Amounts per committee were decided based on the size of the committee, how often they meet, and what kind of work they do.

Management expenses: the contingency fund has absorbed misc union fees, which involves bumping it up from $3000 to $5000.

Union operations: They’ve added a line for sexual health products. For the last years the Campaigns and Services Coordinator has been ordering these anyway. This used to be the Campus Safety Officer’s responsibility. They will still have a budget for their activities.

The events budget (from $1500 an increase to $2000) reflects Alex Bryant’s ideas for events next year (including a winter carnival).

The handbook’s cost is noted, but Emily mentions that we should be securing advertising revenue for the handbook which should save us a fair bit of money.

The Travel & Conferences number has been increased to be able to send an additional representative to the Canadian Federation of Students general meeting.

The Travel Bursaries line has been increased to $2000 so as to have $1000 per semester available. This was based on a recommendation of finance committee.

All told, we’re left with a surplus of just over $600.

Jake Clancy Edwards asks about the Travel and Conferences line- noting it will cost an extra $1000 to send one extra person, he asks why. Emily says that because there has been so much interest in going to the general meeting the exec wanted to add an opportunity for an executive member, a councillor, or a general member to attend. She also notes that the flat fee per person has increased, so it won’t actually cost a full $1000 to send one person.

He asks why this is separated from travel bursaries. Emily says that there’s a different procedure for each. Travel bursary applicants write letters to finance committee, where the requests are evaluated, whereas the CFS conference attendees are representatives of our union and are elected as such.

Connor asks if there’s anywhere we can find more detailed information on this budget.

Alex says we should have year end statements at the fall gm (from this past year) so we can compare last year’s spending specifically to the upcoming year’s budget. At the fall GM we’ll vote again on a revised budget.

Ellie Hornbeck asks about the contingency fund. Emily notes this is money set aside for emergencies, not money we plan to spend. Ellie asks about Galley contingency, and Emily notes that the Galley contingency fund is separate and comes out of the Galley levy.

Anna Bishop asks why Campus Safety budget went from $1000 down to $300. Emily says this is because the responsibility for purchasing sexual health products has been transferred from the Campus Safety Officer’s responsibility to the main budget (the Campaigns and Services Coordinator will be responsible for this). Emily notes that with this in mind, the Campus Safety budget has actually increased.

Anne White asks what special projects are. Alex says that the first special project was the Wardroom’s sound system- this can be anything big we want to do that comes up.

Ben Singbeil asks to have the yearbook number explained. A past KSU president signed a contract for a flat rate for yearbooks. We can’t get out of this contract. Yearbooks are given out for free. This past year we put advertising in the yearbook to offset the cost. There has been discussion about whether we want to keep having a yearbook in the future.

Jake Clancy Edwards asks why we would send 4 people rather than 3 people to represent the KSU at the CFS general meeting. He says it doesn’t seem cost effective. Michaela notes that the CFS meeting is an opportunity for different representatives from the KSU to attend different panel discussions and meet with different constituencies. As many discussions happen concurrently, the more representatives we send, the more different skills and information we can bring back to our members. There’s a lot we can learn about services (e.g. bulk purchasing for frosh week) and services. Michaela notes that when representatives come back from this meeting, they’re better prepared to work in the union throughout the year, to lobby the government, etc. It makes students aware of the resources available to them.

Michaela emphasizes that this is open to all union members, not just executives.

Jake asks what’s the difference between this line and travel bursaries- who decides on each? Emily says travel bursaries go through finance committee and then council. Travel & Conferences is voted on at council. People can motivate for themselves and then council will elect representatives. Jake asks why we don’t just put this through travel bursaries?

Anna asks what the rationale is to send one more person to this conference when there are already representatives from King’s going, vs using union fees to start another event at King’s.

Anika reminds us that at the CFS general meeting there are a lot of different discussion groups, so the union can have their say in more different places. She also notes that this meeting sets the CFS priorities for the year and affects how the union will engage with CFS campaigns and services throughout the year.

Katie moves to amend the campaigns lines by increasing it from $1500 to $2000. She says this past year has not been a big year for campaigns, and she’s hoping to do more this year- such as a day of action, bringing back challenge homophobia campaign, etc.

Jake Clancy Edwards asks what the money was spent on this year. Katie says it was spent on things like consent week, powershift, take back the campus, green week, etc.

Ellie asks about reducing the surplus- Emily notes that having a surplus isn’t always a good thing. It means it can’t be allocated to anything.

Jake Clancy Edwards asks whether it was a struggle to get people to go to Powershift. He asks whether this implies that the campaigns line wasn’t spent the way it was meant to be.

Katie said a lot of people approached her saying that the $35 fee was not accessible. There was a lot of interest in the event but people couldn’t afford it. That’s why they subsidized it.

Evan says the new $500 seems vague. He’d like to see an outline of what specific campaigns it would be spent on. Alex notes that this wasn’t bumped up in the first place because the executive doesn’t have concrete plans yet. They want to let the membership vote on this. He says it outlines the organization’s commitment early on in the year. This can be looked at again in the fall.

Evan asks whether we can table this to the fall gm. Jake says we can’t, but we could vote this down now and vote on it again in the fall.

Anna Dubinski speaks in favour of this amendment. She says that in the past as budgets have been slashed, campaigns has often been the first to go. She thinks this is a great expression of the union’s priorities and it’s exciting that there are different places this could be spent.

Katie notes that she has talked to past EVPs. She says that one past EVP who put on a Day of Action had a $3000 budget for it. She wants to make sure we are prepared to do a Day of Action next year, though she is not asking for the full $3000.

The amendment is adopted.

Emma Wolf asks that a provision be added that the Galley levy be reevaluated again at the end of next year (at the next spring general meeting). The provision is adopted.

Anna Bishop moves to amend the budget to add $200 to the campus safety budget (from $300 to $500). She says this past year has seen some safety issues and she’d like the campus safety officer to be able to run campaigns.

A student asks if this would take us into deficit. Emily confirms that it would. A student asks what the $300 would pay for. Emily says it could cover for a variety of things- a speaker coming in, materials, etc. A lot of the things the campus safety officer might want to do can come out of the campaigns line (e.g. working with the no means no campaign, the fight homophobia campaign, etc). Emily emphasizes that the $300 was based on something the previous campus safety officers have said make sense.

Jake Clancy Edwards notes that effectively the campus safety officer budget has already been increased by $300 (having divided out the sexual health products line).

Ellie notes we have already increased the campaigns budget by $500, so many of the things Anna has mentioned could be covered in that sum.

A student asks if the Campus Safety Officer can use money from the campaigns line. Emily says they could work with the EVP, yes, and the EVP would likely be very excited to do that.

Michaela says this might be better to reevaluate in the fall once we have hired a campus safety officer and we understand their priorities.

Katie says that part of the increase for campaigns that was just put through would make more money available to the campus safety officer.She says that once the campus safety officer has made up their budget, in the fall we could look at this again and possibly allocate more then.

The amendment is defeated, the campus safety line remains at $300.

Zach asks why all the exec are awarded the same honouraria. Alex says in the past the President was paid more, and part of the reason summer honouraria are being introduced is to compensate the President the work they do extra work. During the school term they have remained equal because the executive works as a team.

Gwendolyn asks why all the UHPs are paid the same amount. Emily says this is something we’ve talked about a lot. Hannah Yaphe asks what a UHP is. It’s a Union Hired Position (e.g. chair, scribe, campus safety officer). Emily thinks this should be an ongoing conversation. We’ll keep looking at this over the next year.

Jake Clancy Edwards asks why the executive honouraria were raised but the UHP honouraria were not. Emily notes that this is something we’ve been having conversations about all year and that finance committee has already done research on this. This research hasn’t happened for UHPs yet. Emily thinks if we changed the numbers rights now we would be doing so without enough research.

I note that having sat on finance committee, I’ve been part of these conversations. UHPs are given honouraria, which we should think of as a “thank you” rather than a specific wage to account for exactly how many hours they work. In this sense in makes sense for them to all be equal.

I note that executive honouraria are a bit different, as these positions are so large that they’ve essentially full time jobs. The increase in honouraria was necessary in order for executives to be able to afford basic living expenses, as it is very difficult for them to take on part time jobs additional to their executive responsibilities. Though UHPs work super hard, this concern doesn’t exist here.

Alex move to amend the budget to add $123.15 to contingency so we no longer have a surplus. It passes.

And the budget as a whole passes!

9:09: Moving on to Jacob BK’s report on revisions to our governing documents. He’s explaining what the Constitutional Review Committee does. They usually just make little changes. This year they made bigger suggestions, which are necessary to make our documents conform to the law. Note that CRC does not draft policy. They make recommendations, but no decisions. The decision will be made tonight at the GM.

Three themes:

typos, grammar, words, numbering

-words that were spelled wrong are now spelled correctly. In one place, a “the” was added in. The Board of Governors’ Representative had an apostrophe on it in one place- it’s now consistently referred to as the “Board of Governors Representative”. He fixed numbering so that everything is consistent (things had gotten messed up in previous revisions).

rewording: changed Constitution to Bylaws

redundancies and overlap

e.g. the process for impeachment was listed in the Bylaws and the Operations policy when they only need to be listed once.

I asked why we changed the name from “Constitution” to “Bylaws”. Jake Eidinger explains that the KSU ratified as a society under the registry of joint stocks. The province insists they that be called “Bylaws” or else they won’t be accepted by the province.

Clarification:

moved sections- e.g. Elections policy is moved to Bylaws (because Operations Policy is amendable by council, and the committee didn’t think elected councillors should be able to determine elections procedure).

The revised Bylaws and Operations Policy is adopted!

Jacob is speaking to another change in the Bylaws that will correct the stated fiscal year in the Bylaws (should be April 1st- March 31st).

9:18: BIRT that if quorum is lost, any pending items will be referred to Council for final decision.

Jacob explains that this gives us a way to make decisions in case people leave the GM tonight.

Evan asks if he can amend this motion to require that 2/3 of council votes in favour to ratify these changes for additional accountability.

Jake Eidinger thinks about whether this works with Roberts Rules, decides that it does.

Anna Dubinski says she’s with the spirit of the motion but she doesn’t think it’s a good idea because we don’t expect a 2/3 majority for things to pass at GM, and council should be held to the same standard.

A student asks if this doesn’t pass what will happen. Jake says we would have to have another GM.

Emma Wolf asks if this amendment would slow council down. Michaela says she doesn’t think this would be too big of a hassle as most of the debate happens as the blanks are filled rather than approving the motion once the blanks are filled.

The amendment is adopted. A student thinks this sounds kind of sketchy. It’s clarified that this only applies to this meeting, not forever, she says “nevermind”.

Anna Bishop thinks it would be a good idea to advertise the opening of committee positions.

Jacob says that these positions have been advertised in TWAK, on the website, and on posters for the last week. He’s been sharing the webpage as much as he can. He says he will spread it around even more in the future.

Haritha motions to call the question. The question has been called. The motion is adopted.

9:27: Alex asks for a quorum count, we only have 45 people. Michaela motions to adjourn.

Anna Bishop says there’s still a lot more people here today than there are at council and it seems more democratic to vote now. I note that this body has already voted to refer pending items to council. If they felt uncomfortable doing so, they would have voted against the motion.

Adjourned! Join us at council in the boardroom at 10 am when we elect members of these committees.