By: Elizabeth Iwunwa

  • Call to Order

The call to order was delayed by nine minutes as the councilors who were at the meeting for the first time after the fall election unofficial results were announced, were taken through Robert’s Rules. VP Communications Alex Heighington showed new councilors how to navigate the UPEISU’s website. She also explained what moving a motion entails. The meeting was opened at 6:09pm.

President Dana Kenny and council Chair Bob Deziel were absent from the meeting. John Rix and Alex Heighington filled those respective positions. Excluding Councilor Pierce Smith’s abstention, all councilors approved the minutes from previous meetings. The agenda was unanimously approved.

  • Election Reports

Megan McNeill, the Chief Returning Officer for the UPEISU attended the meeting and was given speaking rights. She noted that there was an increase in voter turnout up to approximately thirty percent. She acknowledged the winners of the just concluded fall elections. Halen Sky garnered a hundred and nine votes to make her the incoming First Year Representative. With three hundred and sixty six votes, students of UPEI made Kaylee Blackett their Accessibility Representative. Teresa Tu, incoming International Student Representative won the fiercely contested post with a hundred and thirty two votes. Jane McCorriston was voted into the position of Residence Representative with one hundred and fifteen votes. Connor Mayhew got three hundred and ninety eight votes thereby making him the new Ombudsman. Quite remarkably, Engineering Representative Andrew Simmons got forty-four unanimous votes. Megan Rix with one hundred and forty-five votes won the post of Arts Representative. The two senate representatives voted in were Owen Shaw with five hundred and five votes, and Zak Jarvis with three hundred and sixty votes. UPEI students also had to decide upon a referendum question. It was concerning the proposed amendment of the constitution. If approved, it would reflect a change in executive structure of two hired Vice-President positions to one hired position. It would result in the elimination of a hired Vice President Communication position and allow for the creation of a Director of Communication post. This would relieve the individual of the expectation of executive duties and allow him or her to focus solely on communications. The referendum question was approved.

The table below shows voter participation.

Eligible Voters Observed Voters
General Elections 3841 1121
Accessibility Representative 3805 833
International Student Representative 707 276
Residence Representative 418 130
Engineering Representative 145 44
Arts Representative 807 240
First Year Representative 869 186
Senate 3805 843
Ombudsman 3805 792
Referendum Question 3805 757

Four fines worth fifty dollars were incurred by candidates for failure to take down campaign materials after the elections. Nathan Hood asked for any recommendations from Megan to improve voter participation. She said that for this election, what helped remind students to vote was the extended campaign period. She noted that in times past, candidates were required to take down their materials hours before the elections and that was confusing for students. The election results were approved and new councillors were sworn in.

  • Accounts of Stewardship

President Dana Kenny’s report came in via video as he was away in St. John’s. The events recapped included his meeting with the Board of Governors, the Senate, and subsequent committee meetings. He also attended the alumni association meeting, which he described as an orientation for new members as the last meeting was held in June at the AGM with old members. He commended the efforts of John Rix and Nathan Hood for their respective projects namely Get Out The Vote (GOTV) and VolunTinder. Dana stated that the student population was very well receiving the projects. He mentioned the Founder’s Day event and the start of the Insipre! Campaign, which has a fundraising goal of fifty million dollars. The funds would ensure the overall improvement of student life all across campus. He remarked that the UPEISU has been very visible and active on campus especially with issues pertaining the Brown’s Court fence (click here if you missed it), Get Out The Vote, and Outrun Stigma. He gave props to Julie McWilliams for her volunteer efforts towards the Outrun Stigma Marathon. On a personal note, he said that he had issues with his back over the last week and had to Skype into some of his meetings.

VP Academic and External John Rix began his report by stating that the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign had been a success. Between the fifth and the eighth of October, polling stations were present and functional on campus. Over one thousand students had pledged to vote. He said that the Federal Election Trivia at the Wave went really well and articles regarding GOTV were being circulated in the media.  With regards to policy development, he worked with the Policy and Research Coordinator, now Senate Rep, Owen Shaw, in preparing the final draft of an external policy. The policy in question was regarding the adoption of a new twelve-month course calendar. He said that the present eight-month system did little to help plan academic futures clearly and correctly. The proposed policy would help UPEI students know for sure what courses to take and remove many impediments to graduation.

He stated that the launch of the Student Complaint at UPEI platform has been scheduled for November sixteenth and seventeenth. John then delved right into the George Coles bursaries. He said that he was having discussions for possible physical classroom consultations. He considered having emails and questionnaires sent out. He talked about the possibility of having prospective UPEI and Holland College students from grade twelve give their opinions on George Coles bursaries and the distribution of funds. He noted that this might be the largest research endeavour taken on by the UPEISU. He stated that there would be a review of CASA’s youth unemployment policy. Rix informed council that he had requested to give a presentation to the Liberal caucus and was awaiting a response. He highlighted the positive feedback from the student body on his open letter, which extensively gave a student position on student debt.

In no time, the NateHood Show was on. Vice President Student Life Nathan Hood, stated that some pub-crawl issues had cropped up. The university wanted to crackdown on it because one pub-crawl in particular was extensively publicized and raised some red flags in the areas of health and safety. He said that he was looking to use a risk reduction approach instead of prohibiting clubs from doing pub-crawls altogether. He stated that the UPEI Advisory Committee would be struck as it had not met in a few years and was responsible for reviewing the UPEI Alcohol Policy. Hood mentioned that the university was aware of the crow menace and was in the process of finding viable solutions. He stated that his brainchild, VolunTinder made the front page of a newspaper and had made at least two hundred matches. He said that he would be overseeing the Society of International Students (SIS) elections and a couple of meetings with the FED program participants.

The baton was passed on to Alex Heighington, Vice President Communications. She stated that there was an email blast regarding campus affairs. She also said that there had been classroom visits and that the Street Team’s event was scheduled for Wednesday this week.

Vice President Finance Zach Tweel noted that he was having some difficulty finding realistic ways to make an up-to-date picture of the budget as he came into the position after the summer. He said that he was still waiting for Visa statements for the Wave and Mickey’s Place to be posted online. He also thought of making a monthly statement of account, which would help with student transparency. He told council that grad applications were still rolling in and he hopes that funding will be up and running soon to help guide the direction of things. Zach said that the accounting office has not received enrolment numbers for this year but he hopes that he’ll have the budget by the next council meeting. In other news, he said that he was in the process of applying to stay on for the rest of the year.

  • Senate

Owen Shaw, one of the two councilors present (out of three) that sit on the UPEI Senate said that his first meeting was on October 16th. Most of his time at the meeting was spent formulating the Academic Plan. He also noted that there were new additions to the Senate. Dr. Malcolm Murray was appointed for a three-year term. Alex Heighington became a new member of the Honorary Degree Committee. Jane McCorriston was the latest addition to the Senate Academic and Student Discipline Appeals Committee. Stephen Wilfeard was placed on the Senate Research Advisement Committee. Chemistry professor Dr. Rabin Bissessur was also appointed to the UPEI Board of Governors Committee. Shaw is the newest member of the Senate Liaison Committee. It was also brought to council’s attention that the AVC academic dates were changed.

  • Board of Governors

Pierce Smith notified council that the UPEI Board of Governors had the introduction of new members. In his recap, he said that UPEI President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz was looking into a framework for accelerating study visas for international students. He said that it had become a growing concern that had been brought to his attention. The president is reportedly also looking into attracting international professors as funds from the Inspire! Campaign has given him more resources for that purpose. Pierce said that the unofficial enrolment figure for UPEI was a little less than expected. A huge drop is said to be expected in coming years. The international student body however saw a whopping eleven percent increase in enrolment. The number of business and grad students also increased on campus. The purchase of 93 Belvedere Avenue for future residence expansion was approved at the Board of Governors meeting. The engineering building was also said to be on track and on budget. It is to be completed and occupied by fall 2016. He noted that Integrated Communications was to be renamed Marketing and Communications to further specify its task.

  • Graduate Student Representative

Temporary Chair Alex Heighington moved a motion to give Selvi Roy speaking rights. She observed that no one had come forward for the post of Graduate Student Representative. Kate Rundle and Selvi Roy each penned emails to council. Selvi was present at the meeting and was granted speaking rights by council. She began by stating that she moved to the island in 2011 with her family as an international student. She is concerned that many international students particularly refugees feel isolated. She highlighted the fact that she had been actively involved with WUSC. Selvi said that graduate students have more responsibilities and fewer activities to engage in. If given the chance, she hopes to make sure graduate students feel welcome and encourage enrolment at UPEI. As spectators left the room, council had a discussion in camera on the matter at hand. Spectators except Selvi returned and council voted via secret ballot. After all the shenanigans, Selvi was voted in as the Graduate Student Representative.

A motion was made to approve Brandon Derry’s appointment as Education Representative. It was approved and he was sworn in at the meeting.

  • ECHUG

Alex Heighington moved a motion to give a nursing student, Robin, speaking rights. She began by saying that alcohol consumption on campus had become a thing of concern. A recent study undertaken by UPEI students showed that sixty eight percent of the student body thought fellow students drank too much.  She mentioned that there was a proposed alcohol intervention program called ECHUG. The program was developed by San Diego State University and has been administered by universities all around the world. It has been effective in dealing with issues of excessive alcohol consumption. She asked members of the council to volunteer to be a part of the pilot group of fifty. The pilot group is basically fifty UPEI students who would take the survey and get personalized interventions based on their drinking patterns. Robin said that she intended to get the program up and running by November 6th. Kaylee Blackett asked if any component of the study was tied to sexual assault as there were already programs in place to check that. She didn’t want a situation where there would be too many platforms with the same message. Robin responded by saying that she understood her concerns, and that only a small component was tied to the intervention. Everything is to be completely anonymous so that identity is protected. The student pioneers are in the process of submitting a proposal. The aim of the pilot fifty is to get feedback from students to further strengthen the proposal. Pierce Smith noted that the timing of this proposed intervention could not be better especially because of the pub-crawl issue.

John Rix asked for clarification regarding what specifically was being asked of councillors. Robin said that they were not asking for the SU’s help in promoting the initiative but wanted councillors to volunteer and be a part of the fifty. John then moved a motion to approve the changes in the Standing Committee’s bylaw. The new committee would be responsible for taking the responsibility of planning and running successful campaigns from the Academic and External Affairs Committee, and creating an advocacy team that will be based solely on communications. It will be concerned with advocacy on government levels, academic, and non-academic levels as well. His motion to speak on an issue briefly touched upon was seconded by Brandon Derry. He talked about going to the university and asking for the creation of a twelve-month course calendar. He said that more students were taking fewer course loads and many more were taking additional summer courses. He said the adoption of a twelve-month course calendar would help plan course loads and graduations. He assured that it would not affect scholarships and bursaries. Councillors generally agreed that it was a brilliant idea and approved the policy statement. John Rix and Nathan Hood abstained due to conflict of interests.

  • Society Ratifications

The following societies were ratified at the meeting.

  • UPEI Biology Society
  • Ducks Unlimited UPEI Chapter
  • Association of the Caribbean Society
  • Applied Human Science Society
  • Engineering Society
  • UPEI Sociology/Anthropology Society
  • UPEI Baha SAE
  • UPEI Business Society
  • RSM Society Ratification Appeal

The Revolutionary Student Movement had previously applied for ratification but was not approved. They sent in letters to council but could not be at the meeting. Council moved into camera for decision-making talks. A secret ballot was cast, and the appeal was not passed.

  • 2000+ Expenditures

Zach Tweel gave an account of expenditures worth over two thousand dollars in the May to August 2015 period to council. They included the new day lounge in the SU building, the new stove at the Wave, and the Stay Golden clothing for the grad meet and greet. It also covered payments to the UPEI Accounting Office for the SU building.

The lovely ladies and gentlemen of the UPEISU Council called it a night.