The St. Thomas University Students’ Union voted behind closed doors on Thursday to suspend provisions requiring the union to run the Aquinian Board of Directors elections, after alleging the Aquinian refused to meet with the union.
A letter outlining the decision was sent to the Aquinian and the Aquinian Board of Directors, saying the executive is willing to meet to discuss “an agreement that would formalize a contract between the Aquinian and the students’ union.”
The letter is signed by Justin Creamer, chief returning officer; John Hoben, president; and Fin MacKay-Boyce, vice-president of administration.
According to AQ editor-in-chief Liam McGuire, the disagreement started after a column submitted by Hoben was rejected by the student paper.
McGuire says the newspaper is not willing to give up editorial control to satisfy the students’ union.
“I think it’s inappropriate right before an election to give someone a column to promote their own agenda.”
Hoben says this vote was done out of frustration from the Aquinian’s decision to not meet or negotiate. Hoben said in an email on Sunday, “The exec can withdraw the suspension at any time, but we want an in-person meeting first. We had an informal agreement that both parties are free to suspend at any time, and as the AQ has suspended its portion and is not open to discussion, we felt we had few options.”
What portion the Aquinian has suspended is unclear. In the Aquinian’s constitution, it says the union may be given a column but it can be taken away at any time.
Earlier this month, Hoben requested a column be given to a member of the union in exchange for purchasing ads, despite the fact that spring elections have begun. The Aquinian declined but expressed interest in meeting to talk about story ideas and news coverage.
As an independent corporate body, the Aquinian is not bound to the union, except for the running of elections.
The private students’ union meeting last Tuesday lasted an hour an half. According to the letter sent to the Aquinian, it was a unanimous decision. However, one union member says there were three opposed to suspending the bylaw, but they were unable to convince more members to vote against it.
Last week, the Aquinian obtained a copy of the union’s proposed contract with the paper. One section reads: “The STUSU shall be entitled to one column not in excess of six hundred and fifty words, in all regular print and electronic issues of the Aquinian, to be written and elected, appointed, or hired representative of the STUSU, CHOSEN BY THE SEC OF STUSU.”
The Aquinian has also learned that Hoben and Luke Robertson, at-large representative, went to the Brunswickan’s office unannounced last Monday and asked editors and writers how much it would cost to buy the Aquinian and have the Brunswickan cover both campuses. Bruns staff members told Hoben and Robertson to talk to their managing editor.