By: Allison O’Brien
The UPEISU council met on September 23 to discuss executive reports, a financial report for Back 2 School pub, open election positions, and executive evaluations.
President William McGuigan said that he had been working with the Chief Returning Officer and SU Communications to advertise for fall elections. He said that it was “overall a great outcome but maybe could have gone better,” referencing the fact that three positions (DVM rep, education rep, and nursing rep) still remain vacant.
McGuigan said that he is part of the UPEI Alumni Association Board, and mentioned that the board is planning celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the university. One of the projects that McGuigan mentioned he is working on for the anniversary, along with VPFA John Ployer and Editor-in-Chief Allison O’Brien, is the digitization of The Cadre from years 1986-2012. McGuigan also said that he had a productive meeting with Student Affairs and Aspiria to discuss the program and how it will help students.
Vice President Academic and External Emma Drake attended a bilingual multidisciplinary symposium that is looking at creating a bilingual program at UPEI in Arts and Science. Drake also met with the Faculty Association to discuss the SU’s position on Student Opinion of Teaching Surveys (SOTS).
Drake met with several members of the community and province to discuss AirBnB regulation and housing affordability. She also planned Pints with Politicians at The Fox and Crow, which will happen during the week of the municipal election.
Vice President Student Life Sarah MacEachern reported on Consent Week. She said that most events had a good turnout and felt that the week was overall effective, although the information sessions had a bad turnout. MacEachern noted that next year Consent Week should be combined with Love and Sex Week, and there shouldn’t be any campaigns in September because “it is far too busy.”
MacEachern said that because Back 2 School Pub went so well, the PEI Liquor Control Commission will continue to give donations to the SU to run food and hydration stations at the rest of the Wet/Drys for the year. MacEachern said that Beyonce Tribute Night is coming along well, and she is in the process of planning International Night and Environmental Week.
Vice President Finance and Administration John Ployer spoke about Financial Literacy Day. He said that the information sessions were moderately attended by anywhere from 5 to 15 people, but next year the VPFA should seriously consider the time of year the event is held, types of sessions held, and the methods of promotion.
Ployer expects to report on budget amendments, a sustainability strategy, club finances, and human resource initiatives at the next council meeting.
Back 2 School Pub Reports
Vice President Ployer presented a financial report on the SU’s Back 2 School Pub. The event generated a net profit of $5,116.34, a 95% increase from the $2,627.53 that was generated in 2017. While the event made similar incomes in 2017 and 2018, it was the decrease in expenses this year that brought in more money for the SU. “We saved money with security and production and the headliner,” Ployer said.
Council deliberated and presented the results of the latest round of executive evaluations over the course of approximately 85 minutes. The SU’s executive committee bylaw requires evaluations to be conducted in September and January. The results of executive evaluations are confidential.
Open Election Positions
On the day of the council meeting, four positions in the SU fall election were vacant: education representative, DVM representative, accessibility representative, and nursing representative. There is no by-law to refer to when this happens, however the precedent is to let council decide how to proceed. Council passed a motion to extend the nomination period for the four vacant positions to September 28 at 4 pm, with a clause that states that if no names are put forward for nomination, someone will be appointed by council to fill the position.
At press time (8 pm on September 27), no names have been put forward for DVM, education or nursing representatives.
Senate representative Rachel Kays reported that UPEI President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz informed senate that UPEI is expected to have the largest graduating class ever this year. Senate made a motion to create a special invitation to welcome Saudi Arabian students to graduate from UPEI if they have met their minimum course requirements, transfer course requirements, and minimum residency requirements.
Board of Governors representative Owen Shaw reported that the Property and Assets Committee will meet on November 16.
Council voted to approve one policy update on professorial accountability and one new policy: student dedicated affordable housing.
The Professorial accountability update included calling on the Faculty Association and UPEI to implement an online system to conduct Student Opinion of Teaching Surveys (SOTS) (something that, according to Drake, approximately 80% of universities are already doing), and make student commentary visible to the chair of departments.
The student dedicated affordable housing policy states that students should not have their academic ability affected by the state of the rental market. The policy recommends that the City of Charlottetown, the Government of PEI, and UPEI collaborate to create student dedicated affordable housing, and recommends that the City of Charlottetown and the Province of Prince Edward Island encourage the prioritization of long term rental, and discourage the use of 8 month rental with the purpose of profiting off short-term rentals.
The tuition regulation policy update recommends that the government of PEI implement a tuition cap for post-secondary institutions so that no institution may raise tuition by more than the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index each year, and that domestic and international tuition align so that each adjust by the same percentage each year.