The UPEISU Council met on October 29th for their fourth regularly scheduled meeting of the semester. The meeting saw prolonged discussion on executive evaluations (which occupied half of the meeting time), as well as motions on rape culture, land acknowledgments, and environmentally friendly practices.
Executive Evaluations Discussed
For over 90 minutes in a closed session, Council reviewed the results of its evaluation of the executives’ summer performances. The evaluation involved an anonymous survey completed by individual councilors. Notably, the evaluations, conducted in mid-October, were over two months overdue; the SU’s executive bylaw mandates that the evaluation be conducted in August. The Cadre will be providing further coverage of the evaluation.
Council Acknowledges Rape Culture
Vice President Academic & External Taya Nabuurs put forward a motion to formally acknowledge the presence of rape culture on the UPEI campus and at the UPEISU. In addition to requesting that the SU “recognize its own complicity in perpetuating rape culture in the past and in the present,” the motion proposed using the Our Turn – UPEI Chapter as a consultative body for issues relating to rape culture and that the SU advocate for an acknowledgement of rape culture in UPEI’s forthcoming sexual violence policy. The motion passed unanimously without discussion.
Council to Begin Meetings with a Land Acknowledgement
Nabuurs put forward another motion, this time to begin Council meetings with an acknowledgment that the land on which Council holds its meetings is the traditional and unceded territory of the Abegweit Mi’kmaq First Nation. This motion passed unanimously without debate. Nabuurs moved another motion to incorporate the previous motion into the SU’s bylaws so the land acknowledgment could be consistently practiced in the future. This motion also passed.
President Hammad Ahmed reported that he had attended the Alumni Association annual general meeting, where programming and benefits were discussed. The New Initiatives and Future Directions committee met to discuss The Wave’s financials and the SU strategic plan. Ahmed also reported attending a meeting on the UPEISU Strategic Plan which he noted was a “generic” meeting, and that student consultations were expected to take place, although it had not been determined what that will look like. Ahmed added that UPEI was working to improve internet on campus through a two-phase process.
Vice President Academic & External Taya Nabuurs took the floor next. Nabuurs shared her thoughts on the SU’s presentation to the Standing Committee on Education and Economic Development. Nabuurs said that there were a lot of questions and she was satisfied with how it went. Nabuurs said the SU will be following up with the committee by providing copies of the SU’s policy statement on needs-based grants, as requested.
Nabuurs mentioned that the data collected at the SU’s first campus consultations held on the Sexual Violence Prevention Policy is currently being analyzed and synthesized into recommendations. The task force is discussing creating a website where students could submit online feedback and fill out surveys. The task force would also upload meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and policy drafts to the website.
Nabuurs also mentioned a joint press release with the New Brunswick Student Alliance and Students Nova Scotia to encourage a regional approach to mental health services for students.
Following Nabuurs was Vice President Student Life Megan Rix. Rix said that Halloween Pub sold out, and that “rumour on the street is that bar sales were really good.” Rix has been communicating with Tony Lee and confirmed that he will be performing at UPEI, although the hypnotist show will not be X-Rated. Rix is planning to meet with the first-year representative Lou Schraeder about the future of the Future Executive Development Program, which was handed off by the SU to the RIRO at the beginning of the semester.
Rix spoke about making 200 exam kits for Atlantic Veterinary College students to help them de-stress. Rix is now turning her immediate attention to last-minute logistics for Diversity Week and is looking to start planning Two Year’s Eve.
Vice President Finance Will McGuigan then presented his report. McGuigan announced that Mickey’s Place is now serving breakfast sandwiches, which he noted are cheaper than those from Tim Hortons.
McGuigan mentioned a discussion he had with UPEI Vice-President Administration & Finance Jackie Podger about UPEI’s new carpooling program, which had fewer participants than hoped. Councillor Michael Ferguson inquired about the carpooling program and questioned whether it was actually cheaper for participants. McGuigan replied that, from what he understood, each student pays for their own pass and then afterward are reimbursed.
UPEI Degrees To Be Offered Abroad
Four motions passed at the last Senate meeting. Senate moved to amend the requirements of the Masters of Arts in Island Studies program. Effective immediately, UPEI has suspended admission of students into the Bachelor of Education – Human Resource Development [BEd(HRD)] degree program and the program shall be discontinued.
Another motion amalgamated the Department of History and the Department of Classics into the Department of History and Classics. The final motion approved will have the Academic Planning and Curriculum Committee further explore an opportunity through the Canadian International College to offer UPEI’s Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Design Engineering degrees in Egypt.
There was also a discussion about internet on campus and plans to address issues in the future.
In new business, Councillors Cairns and Leclair were appointed to the Budget Committee, and Council was notified that the UPEI Cheerleading Team and UPEI Young Liberals had been re-ratified.
Councillor Kali Ross presented a motion to review the use of paper in executive evaluations, stating that the practice was not environmentally friendly. Vice President Rix proposed an amendment to the motion to expand the review to uses of paper prescribed by the SU’s bylaws. Both the amendment and the motion passed.
By: Nathan Hood & Lorelei Kenny