Council November 28

Good morning everyone! Welcome to another council live blog (on a Saturday! different!).

10:16: The meeting is called to order! We recognize that we are on unceded, traditional Mi’kmaq territory.

After one quick typo, the agenda is adopted! And the minutes from the last meeting have been approved!

REPORTS OF COUNCILLORS:

Zoe, Board of Governors representative, is up first! There is a Board meeting this Thursday, so she has been meeting with Taylor and Alex to strategize for this meeting and communicate the great work that the KSU is doing.

Next is Joy, Day Students’ Society representative! She sat on the non-residence space campus master planning sub-committee and has prepared a great, long report based on her work with this sub-committee. Accessibility on campus continues to be their number one priority. The Wardroom renovation is well under way, in terms of capital funding.

The DSS also held their General Meeting recently! They approved their expense report as a budget, amended their constitution and elected a bunch of folks to the DSS executive (including Lia, the new DSS rep on council).

Now Liam is introducing himself! He mentions that the DSS continues to plan their Christmas soiree, and is working to develop a day students study snacks for first years. Welcome Liam!

Now for the report of the Member-at-Large (me!). The past two weeks have been business as usual—I’ve continued to meet with Alex weekly to go over the report from the Executive Committee meeting. Finance Committee was productive this week as well—we had a very insightful discussion about updating the travel bursary policy. I also met with Kristen this week to discuss how we plan to communicate with graduate journalism students. Once the travel bursary policy is set in stone, I will communicate it to these students.

Report of Nate, the science representative! Nate had the flu last week but he is better now. He met with Academic Committee and had a discussion about retention. He also met with the Dal Science Society Committee—he is unsure about his position, but still glad to be involved. He mentioned that the societies have been attempting to increase their presence as teaching bodies—a strange precedent to set. Science study snacks will be on December 14—very exciting! He is also looking to plan multi-disciplinary science events between King’s and Dal.

Report of Melina, the arts representative! She also attended the academic committee meeting with Nate, which she found constructive and exciting. She also clarifies that the vote that happened recently on the DASSS executive was in favour of writing a letter to Dal Senate expressing their interest in divestment.

Now for the report of Ryan, the first year rep. He was busy recently with a “large first year event” (Dante party), and helped to poster for King’s Talk (a TED Talk-style conference) on the 7th of January. He is also working with Ben (residence rep) to plan roommate appreciation day! Aidan asks how this event will include students with single rooms or day students—Ryan will take this into consideration.

Now for Taylor, our other BoG representative! He is very proud of this year’s KSU council and executive, and is looking forward to doing more work next term. At the upcoming board meeting, he will be focus on communicating low student morale towards the Board and administration. Taylor also attended an extra-FYP lecture by Dr. Daniel Paul, a Mi’kmaq elder, and was blown away by the interest and turn out.

And finally, the report of Kristen, our journalism representative! She reiterates that she is moving forward with outreach to graduate students. Also—study snacks for first year journalism students is happening next Thursday, December 3. This is Kristen’s first event, yay! Kristen also heard that next semester, the Dal Gazette will be paying for stories (exciting for j-school students who are interested in being paid for their work).

REPORTS OF THE EXECUTIVE:

Report of the President: Alex found his meeting with Dr. Safwat Zaky to be a waste of time, particularly unfortunate as Dr. Zaky was compensated for his work at King’s. The College Task Force was scheduled to meet to talk to faculty about continuing the wage freeze—however, the meeting was cancelled. Faculty morale is mirroring student morale with respect to the administration.

Last weekend, Alex attended the Presidential Search Committee and was excited by the quality of the applicants. There are currently six candidates in the running, and hopefully by January a shortlist of two or three candidates will be introduced to the community.

On November 5, the executive drafted a letter to minister Kelly Regan calling for the release of information about the tuition market adjustment at Nova Scotia universities, but there has still been no response. Alex also notes that students at NSCAD recently occupied a closed Board meeting to oppose a 37% tuition fee increase—we should give some love to NSCAD students.

The Galley Board of Directors will meet on December 4—Alex is excited! The Wardroom is replacing its ice machine, which will be paid for using the Wardroom renovation budget. They are still struggling with credit and debit, but they will hopefully be up and running in January.

Now for the report of Alex, our Student Life VP! Approximately 40% of the society budget is remaining—societies should submit more funding requests! Alex is also happy to say that study snacks will be happening this exam season—in addition to Nate and Kristen’s study snacks events. King’s facilities condition index is at 14%, which is “not bad at all.”

Now the report of Aidan, our Financial VP! There is a LOT of society funding remaining for the rest of the year, however Aidan reminds that the best events don’t always cost the most. The university finance committee will have a teleconference on Monday to discuss the renovations of North Pole Bay (which are imminent, as the building is costing the university a lot of money in maintenance currently). Aidan has renewed the KSU insurance! Also—grad week coordinators still haven’t been hired due to lack of interest, so applications are still being accepted. Aidan was thrilled to attend the Canadian Federation of Students national general meeting with Hannah, our External VP. She left feeling proud to have represented King’s and inspired by the amazing work of other student organizers. She also wants to thank all who participated in the “Combatting Anti-Blackness” panel, and is proud of the students’ union of NSCAD who put forward a motion to hold a racialized student summit.

Hannah, our External VP, is still in Ottawa so Aidan is presenting her report. The Blanket Exercise will happen on December 2 at 4 p.m. in the Pit—it’s an interactive exercise that teaches indigenous history and will be followed with a discussion afterwards.

Hannah was also thrilled to attend the CFS national general meeting in Ottawa with Aidan. Hannah is particularly proud of CFS Nova Scotia, considering our recent victories under a government that does not respect student voices.

Hannah’s report includes the emergency motion that was put forward to condemn the NS government’s decision to deregulate tuition fees and send a letter to minister Kelly Regan calling for immediate cancellation of the tuition fee reset and restore public funding to universities. The report also mentions the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.

And finally, the report of Sofia, our Communications VP! This week, TWAK will have a jobs section!  Sofia also enjoyed the DSS general meeting. She has also been speaking with Chris Parsons about reviewing union hired positions.

11:17: ACTION ITEMS:

The Janus Cooperative is looking to ratify as a society. The society will help students plan and attend events, and is also looking to be a learning cooperative. Fiona from the Janus Cooperative is now motivating for the society—she hopes that it will allow students (particularly first years) to plan events outside of the strict boundaries of other societies. Aidan notes that there is a line in the budget for students planning events outside of societies, and Alex B mentions that some of the society’s aims (such as booking rooms) can already be done through the KSU. Other councillors are now saying that this is a great idea, but perhaps doesn’t need to exist as a ratified society. Alex B mentions that this society’s goals demonstrate issues that exist in the membership regarding perception of societies and the KSU—if we don’t ratify this society, we must address these issues directly.

Now, the King’s/Dal Spanish Society is seeking ratification! They are looking to represent the undergraduate students in the Dalhousie departments of Spanish and Latin American Studies; they will be hosting events, running workshops, tutoring, etc. The motion passes, and the society is ratified!

The King’s Smash Bros Society is also seeking ratification. They will promote the love of the Super Smash Brothers video game (and maybe book Alumni Hall to play on the large screen?). Aidan is wondering if the name of the society may reduce the inclusivity of the society. Zoe is wondering if the Union would be liable for events occurring off campus. Alex thinks that the scope of the society should be broadened to include other video games to ensure the long-term viability of the society. The motion reached a split vote, and therefore was defeated.

SNARC is requesting $279.03 to host SNARCon, a conference about representative curricula and raising marginalized voices in academia. The funding will be for breakfast foods, goodie bags for the participants, gift cards for panelists, etc. They have sought funding elsewhere and hope to make the conference free to attend. The motion passes!

The King’s Poetry Society is seeking $43.52 in funding for their last meeting of the term. There will be pizza and other snacks that are gluten-free and dairy-free. The motion passes!

The King’s Wordsmiths Society is seeking $50.00 in funding for a “Classical Fanfiction Contest” on January 25, 2016. Finance committee has no recommendation as there was not sufficient information about how the funds would be allocated. However, Aidan followed up with the society and received clarification. The motion passes!

The Arts Abstract is seeking $66.07 in funding for the ongoing installation of the “Shots on a String” project in the Wardroom, which allows students to photograph each other on a film camera. The funding will be for purchasing film and developing costs. The motion passes!

The King’s Foreign Film Society is requesting $45.00 for their first screening of the new year. The funds will go towards bread, cheese and video rental. There are concerns that attendance might be low as the event is scheduled for the first Tuesday back from the winter break. Would the event be more successful if pushed the the following week? The motion is amended to not be date-specific so that the society can consider this concern. The motion passes!

Now on to travel bursaries! Adrian Pecotic has applied for a travel bursary to travel to Greece to represent Sodales (King’s/Dal debate society) at the International College Debate Tournament on December 27, 2015. Finance committee recommends a $200 bursary. The motion passes!

Grace Kennedy has applied for a travel bursary as well, to travel to Charlottetown, PEI on December 3, 2015 to do research on the state of Nova Scotian bats for an article for her creative non-fiction class. Finance committee recommends a $100 bursary. The motion passes!

12:30: NEW BUSINESS:

We are now discussing updates to the travel bursary policy. Aidan has created a draft of a new policy that should be effective in the short term.

12:40: ADJOURNMENT! Thank you for following along, and see you in the new year!