By: Allison O’Brien
The UPEISU Council met on October 14 for their third meeting of the semester. The meeting included the approval of election results, executive reports, and the presentation of three internal policy updates.
Approval of Election Results
Chief Returning Officer Jose Alejandro Gonzalez was granted speaking rights to present the SU fall general election results. 804 full-time students voted in the election, a decrease from 836 in 2017.
There were several coding issues with the Simply Voting platform this year, which caused problems for first-year, graduate, international, and residence students while voting. Councillor Ashley McKibbon put forward a motion for the SU President to investigate the coding issue as it has been an issue in previous years.
By the end of the extended nomination period, nobody put their name in for DVM or nursing representative. Chair of Council Colton Profitt said at the meeting, “council will proceed as it normally would, while still having the best interest of all students in mind.” The SU is actively looking for students to fill these positions.
Vice-President Finance and Administration John Ployer presented on fall budget consultations that are ensuring students have a say in how the SU spends student money. Consultation efforts included meeting with various student groups, a public survey with an incentive, and two in-person consultations held in McMillan Hall. The consultation period came to a close on October 21, and recommendations will be brought to council on October 28.
Ployer also spoke about working with Mount Allison Student Union to create a survey to help quantify the real cost of education for UPEI students. Beyond tuition, this survey will include the cost of food, travelling during the semester, textbooks, etc. The survey may be found here.
At the previous council meeting (September 23), Ployer stated that he expected to have an update on a sustainability strategy for the SU. However, at the Oct. 14 meeting, he said that the project is proving to be a large undertaking and will require the help of several volunteers.
Vice-President Student Life Sarah MacEachern then took the floor, speaking about the success of the first Mental Health Monday of the year where ice cream was served to 200 people. The ice cream was donated by COWS. Literally and figuratively.
MacEachern reported on the overall success of Environmental Week, saying, “as a first campaign, it was awesome.” She reported that Halloween Pub will be on October 25, and will see the return of online ticket sales and a free food and hydration station.
As for clubs and societies, MacEachern says that a clubs orientation held in September saw over 30 clubs attend, and a clubs workshop had 8 clubs come out to learn about planning events.
Following the VPSL executive report, councillor Ashley McKibbon questioned MacEachern on what the SU is doing to promote the student assistance program, Aspiria. MacEachern said that SU Director of Communications Sweta Daboo is working to get some information posted on the UPEISU website regarding Aspiria, and when that is completed, there will be a social media push.
President Will McGuigan and Vice-President Academic and External Emma Drake were visiting UPEI’s branch campus in Cairo, and were unable to come to the meeting. They sent their executive reports to council electronically.
McGuigan reported that he met with Chartwells to discuss sustainability initiatives and working together for Diversity Week. McGuigan also attended the October 12 Senate meeting where UPEI’s Strategic Plan was passed unanimously.
McGuigan also says that he has been working on a new shuttle service that would allow access for students to transport groceries, go to walk-in clinics, and do airport pick-ups, among other things. McGuigan said that this initiative has been implemented at various universities on the East coast, and if approved by council, could be implemented at UPEI as early as January.
VPAX Emma Drake’s report talks about the first Stride event that took place October 4. The Stride program is built to instill the confidence students need to run for student government. Drake said that the group identified lack of confidence and lack of capability to run a campaign as the root reasons why students wouldn’t run for student government positions.
Drake then gave an update on Get Out The Vote, a campaign aimed at encouraging young Canadians to vote. Drake noted that merchandise and supplies have been ordered and she has been organizing various events such as Pints with Politicians.
Drake spoke with UPEI Vice-President Finance and Administration Jackie Podger about the SU’s concerns over the new policy and the way that it was released, and has reached out to the Board of Governors directly for a response.
Board of Governors Representative Owen Shaw reported from the Oct. 4 Board of Governors meeting that UPEI’s branch campus in Cairo has close to 150 students, with the largest faculties being Business, Engineering, and Computer Science. Shaw also reported that the Board of Governors passed four policies at the meeting, including the Sexual Violence Policy, Alcohol and Drug Policy, Smoke-free Campus Policy, and Service Animal Policy. The Cadre will be reporting on UPEI’s Sexual Violence policy in the coming days.
The SU then presented three internal policy updates. The Inclusion Policy, renamed the Equity & Inclusion Policy, saw updates on the importance of creating a workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination for anyone that interacts with the SU. The policy was discussed but not voted on.
Updates were also presented on the UPEISU Social Media Policy and the Employee Training and Disciplinary Procedures Policy. The former was approved, while the latter was deferred back to policy committee due to grammatical errors.
Two societies were granted ratification, including the UPEI Young Greens and the UPEI Tennis Club.