STUSU Briefs: April 5, 2018

New NBSA executive director 

St. Thomas University Students’ Union vice-president education Brianna Workman announced Emily Blue is the new executive director for the New Brunswick Student Alliance. 

Blue is a fifth-year communications and public policy student at STU.

“She’s worked in P.E.I. and the legislature there, as well as with [Fredericton MP] Matt DeCourcey. [She] certainly has some experience interacting with politicians and policy,” said Workman. “[She] will be new to the NBSA, but isn’t new to that sphere. [I’m] very, very excited to work with Emily in the future.”

Blue begins her role on May 1. She will be taking over from the current acting executive director of the NBSA, Sam Titus. 

Resignation letters

Three St. Thomas University’s Students’ Union representatives resigned from their positions.

Rebecca Kingston, now former social inclusion representative, stated in her resignation letter that the decision to resign was not an easy one.

“I truly believe it is the best decision for me at this time. I will remember my two terms on [Student Representative Council] as social inclusion representative fondly, made especially so by having the opportunity to work with bright, driven, lovely folks such as yourselves,” said Kingston.

Robyn Metcalfe resigned from her at-large representative position. 

“I greatly enjoyed holding this position and look forward to what the future will bring,” Metcalfe said.

Hailey Frenette, Holy Cross House representative, also resigned.

Kingston, Metcalfe and Frenette all resigned to apply for employment positions with STUSU. The constitution states that representatives must resign when applying for employment positions with STUSU.

STUSU budget tabled

St. Thomas University Students’ Union vice-president administration Matt LeBlanc shared the details of the proposed STUSU operating budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

He said the total budget has increased by three per cent, inflation accounting for 2.2 per cent.

Finances for communications has gone up to $1,273 to run the website and purchase Adobe Creative Cloud for the communications coordinator.

The executive position salaries have also increased. Executives are now paid minimum wage. The STUSU president salary is $10,800; vice-president administration, vice-president education and vice-president student life are all $5,400.

STUSU’s general manager salary has increased to $50,406.77.

As for summer employees, the budget has increased to $16,200 and the hours have increased as well.

Councillor attendance wages are being proposed in the budget, allocating a total of $1,800 to the councillors that attend regularly. This would give a maximum of $100 to each of the 18 councillor members.

“Attendance has been an issue this year … it’s just a way to kind of nudge members to be more present,” said LeBlanc.

The budget for campaigns has increased to $1,375.38, in anticipation of the upcoming provincial election, as well as the Get Out the Vote campaign on campus.

Voting on the budget was tabled until the next meeting on April 12. 

Sexual violence report 

A report on the status of sexual violence on university and college campuses in Canada will be released on April 23.

It’s comprised of submissions by student organizations across the country. St. Thomas University Students’ Union vice-president education Brianna Workman collaborated with Sam Titus, acting executive director of the NBSA, on their submission to the project.

The Council of Alberta University Students, Students Nova Scotia, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, Alliance of BC Students, Union Étudiante de Quebec, University of Prince Edward Island Student Union and College Students Alliance contributed to the report. These student organizations shared how they’re advocating, as well as the status on sexual violence in their respective provinces.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations also has its own section, detailing advocacy and the status of sexual violence on campuses on a federal level.

“There’s lots of student groups across the country that are doing a lot of really great work on sexual violence and advocating on that issue,” said Workman.

Committee Operations Policy amendments 

Several amendments to the Students’ Representative Council’s Committee Operations Policy were brought forward by STUSU president Philippe Ferland, vice-president student life Jimy Beltran and at-large representative Nicholas Decarie.

STUSU unanimously approved amendments redefining what the members relation committee does.

The reworded sections state, “The committee shall promote policies, initiatives and awareness of the Union to the student body through means which it sees fit within the St. Thomas University community,” and, “The committee shall also act as a liaison between students, the SRC and the Union, to develop initiatives and support the creation and implementation of other initiatives on campus that engage students.”

A new part of the policy was also adopted to promote student engagement on committees. The new policy states STUSU will hold a committees fair at least once a year to showcase the committees operated by STUSU. It passed unanimously as well.

The sexual assault prevention committee and mental health committee were formally established as a part of the SRC as well.

Incorporating the Indigenous reconciliation committee as part of the SRC was tabled to the April 12 meeting, so STUSU could consult with Indigenous students and leaders on campus and seek their approval and consent before adopting the new section.

Sean Kenney’s resignation 

Some council members were confused and disappointed with the way former at-large representative Sean Kenney’s resignation was handled.

Kenney officially resigned from his position at the March 15 STUSU meeting, pending impeachment.

Fellow at-large representative Nicholas Decarie said he found the resignation process confusing.

“I regret accepting the reasoning I was provided with [that allowed Kenney to resign, rather than be impeached],” Decarie said.

Kingston said she was hurt by Kenney’s conduct during the meetings.

“As a woman, and as someone who represented minorities on council, I was extremely disappointed — putting it lightly — with Sean’s conduct,” Kingston said.

Ferland said STUSU could have gotten into legal trouble if they had impeached Kenney.

“There was an incident and the school contacted us, and me and [associate vice-president of enrolment management] Scott Duguay had a discussion … In a professional environment, in an organization such as the STUSU or any other employment situations, if someone is resigning, you can’t hold them hostage for the impeachment,” Ferland said.

“SRC is not a court room … If we did try that, there would be opportunities for legal troubles as well. However, that being said, I don’t think anything Sean Kenney has done has been in any way acceptable.”

Current STUSU vice-president education and incoming president Brianna Workman said a clarification on voting on letters of resignation can and will be fixed during the summer.

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