Weekly Briefs: Jan. 30 – Feb. 2

    St. Thomas University's George Martin Hall in Fredericton, N.B. is pictured in this archive photo on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    ResLife’s policy on smudging, Indigenous residents’ complaints

    The St. Thomas University Students’ Union Indigenous Representative Tanner Augustine said it took four years to put a smudging policy in place, but it might be finally coming after meeting with Residence Life.

    The university’s 2001 Smoking Policy states that smudging can only be done upon formal request to the vice president of finance, but it does not include any mention of smudging within the residence.

    “What forced their hand was that students already began smudging in their rooms unofficially,” said Augustine.

    Smudging is a traditional practice for many First Nations and it is of cultural importance. It involves the burning of herbs such as sweetgrass, cedar, sage or tobacco.

    Augustine also brought attention to two complaints from Indigenous students living in residence. One of the students told him he had been allegedly profiled by a Resident Advisor, who assumed they had been smoking marijuana inside the residence. Another student complained about a student “spilling out hate speech in the dorms.”

    “We’re looking into that,” said Augustine.

    Upcoming STUSU elections

    STUSU president Stevie DeMerchant announced that the union will officially announce its spring general election next week.

    “Keep an eye out if you want to run for any executive positions,” she said.

    Last year’s general election saw candidates running unopposed and only 9.1 per cent of eligible students cast a vote.

    Related: STUSU election sees candidates run unopposed, low voter turnout