By: Nathan Hood
Council met to discuss its ongoing investigation into claims made by vice president student life Megan Rix, discuss feedback from the SU’s legal counsel and review a new budget.
SU Met With Legal Counsel To Discuss Resignation
Acting president William McGuigan provided an update regarding former president Chelsea Perry’s resignation and the anonymous notice of impeachment.
After meeting with the organization’s legal counsel, it was determined that the SU could not impeach a member of council who had already resigned. The rationale provided was that the SU had not codified any obligation to accept resignations and therefore resignations were effective on the date provided in a resignation letter.
McGuigan also reported that legal counsel believed the SU’s policies were flawed and had advised the SU to engage in a “complete re-do” of their policies.
Councillor Stephanie Cairns made a motion for the policy committee to review whether council could still impeach members of council who had resigned.
The motion was then amended to have the committee review whether council could vote to accept or reject resignation letters when a member of council is facing a motion of non-confidence. The motion passed.
Councillor Cairns asked whether an anonymous notice of impeachment was allowed to be put forward. Nabuurs said their legal counsel had described the practice as “procedurally dubious.”
Later in the meeting, a motion was passed to have a third party conduct a review of the SU’s governing documents, as advised by legal counsel. McGuigan said the cost for this endeavour would first come from the SU’s legal budget. Adding that he did not believe the legal budget would cover the full cost, he said the rest would come from the SU’s savings.
More Details on Investigation
Vice president academic & external Taya Nabuurs provided more clarity about a motion that was approved at the March 18th extraordinary meeting to investigate claims made by VPSL Megan Rix and whether the proper HR procedures were followed in addressing her complaints.
Nabuurs said she would like to see the following statements from Rix’s letter investigated:
- “I put in a formal complaint and an investigation went underway but I got no update on the investigation or asked if I would like to take my complaint further.”
- “…I had to work with someone who made me feel scared and uncomfortable for three months before something was done…”
- “…when something was done, I had to go to him myself and express to him my vulnerabilities and why I felt he should resign.”
- “…I was told to keep quiet about what happened to me because all of it, my whole story was confidential now and after all, “breaking confidentiality is an impeachable offence” and “Hammad resigns respectfully therefore, we have to protect him.”
Nabuurs also requested an “in-depth investigation into the complaint process undertaken in regards to Megan Rix’s experiences with Hammad Ahmed”. This would include a timeline, the individuals involved in the investigation, the result of the complaint process, and what information was provided to Rix regarding her options for proceeding with her complaint and her options for “additional recourse”.
Nabuurs further requested an “in-depth investigation into the resignation of Hammad Ahmed, the nature of this resignation, and surrounding events.”
Council moved to hire a third party investigator rather than having the investigation completed by SU ombudsperson Sweta Daboo. According to a letter circulated to council, the rationale for the motion was that the SU’s legal counsel had advised them to seek out a third party investigator and Ahmed and Daboo’s friendship had been raised as a conflict of interest.
Nabuurs said the third party would attempt to have a report ready for the final council meeting of the year. McGuigan said the costs associated with the investigative work have yet to be determined.
Draft 2018-19 SU Budget Presented
Vice president finance William McGuigan presented a draft of the SU’s 2018-19 budget. It will receive a vote at Council’s next meeting. The following are highlights of the proposed budget:
- The SU’s fee would remain at $166
- Executive salaries would increase by CPI (1.6%)
- The Canadian Federation of Students fee will increase to $10
- Student centre operating expenses are anticipated to decrease from $140,957 to $130,079
- The Wave is budgeted to lose $62,400. Mickey’s Place will close and a coffee shop element will be incorporated at The Wave
- The student centre debt budget line would increase from $30,000 to $86,000 to cover costs associated with the student centre renovations
- No increases to undergraduate, graduate, AVC, and society funding
- The director of communications’ salary would more than double with the director working full-time over the summer
- A $1,000 budget line would be created for election readiness, which would cover SU efforts relating to the next provincial election
- A $1,300 increase to the policy and research coordinator’s salary, with the coordinator working 7 hours a week throughout the summer
- The councillor initiatives budget line would decrease from $2,500 to $1,900
- The vice president student life’s programming budget will decrease from $50,000 to $45,000, while graduate student event programming will increase from $3,000 to $5,000
- A new $1,000 international student event programming budget would be implemented
- First-year event funding would decrease from $1,500 to $1,000
- The campaigns budget would decrease from $7,500 to $6,500
- The chief returning officer’s salary would increase from $800 to $1,200, with the SU expecting to split their winter election into two separate elections: one for executives and another for councillors
- A $2,000 budget line for councillor development which would see councillors receive training throughout the year
New Student Support Program Coming to Campus
Council passed a motion to launch a new student support program through Aspiria next year. The first year would serve as a trial and would be funded primarily through the SU’s health plan reserves. The SU plans to hold a referendum next year to evaluate whether students would support the creation of a new student fee to fund the program past the trial year.
The Cadre will be providing more in-depth coverage on this program later this week.