By: Allison O’Brien
The UPEISU Council meets every second Sunday evening in the Don and Marion MacDougall Hall building at UPEI to discuss SU services and how to better represent the interests of students. (File Photo/Allison O’Brien)
The UPEISU Council met for the second time this year to approve election results, conduct executive evaluations in-camera, and give an update on usage of the Aspiria program.
UPEISU Chief Returning Officer Michael Ferguson presented his report on the SUâ€™s 2019 winter election. Ferguson reported that 4,475 students were eligible to vote, and of that, 668 students voted, resulting in a 14.9% voter turnout.
President William McGuigan passed a motion to improve the Simply Voting system due to a repeated issue with graduate students being unable to vote for their electorate. No fines were issued in this election.
The results of the election are as follows:
Emma Drake – yes: 601
Emma Drake – no: 36
Vice President Academic and External
Sweta Daboo – yes: 546
Sweta Daboo – no: 48
Vice President Student Life
Tessa Rogers – yes: 533
Tessa Rogers – no: 77
This election also saw the approval of the UPEISUâ€™s amended constitution.
In favour – 328
Not in favour – 34
Abstain – 306
Executive Evaluations Discussed
Council deliberated on the results of the latest round of executive and chair evaluations for approximately 90 minutes. The SUâ€™s executive committee bylaw requires evaluations to be conducted in January, but due to a storm, they were delayed until yesterday. The results of executive evaluations are confidential.
Chair of council Colton Profitt said less than half of councillors filled out the surveys used to conduct evaluations, making it impossible to carry out meaningful evaluations.
This led to a motion from Graduate student representative Mckibbon to send the SU’s executive committee by-law, which provides guidelines for executive evaluations, to Policy Committee for review, citing a need for updates.
Approval of Strategic Plan
The SU’s new strategic plan for 2019-2022 has been written and was approved by council yesterday evening. The new plan prioritizes good governance, representation, advocacy and research, and boosting and evaluating student union services.
Aspiria User Update
Council moved in-camera to present a user update on Aspiria, the SU’s student assistance program.
Mckibbon questioned why council needed to move in-camera since the report didn’t expose the identity of students who used the program. Vice President Student Life Sarah MacEachern said that there was a concern with singling out any students who may have used the program, even though no names were given.
When council returned to public, MacEachern reported that during the first quarter, the Aspiria program reached 0.6% of all students, with a projected annual rate of 2.38%. MacEachern said that most schools report under 1% for annual projected rates, meaning UPEI is more than doubling other schools. It remains unclear what the term “reached” is in reference to, or how many students actually used the program.
In March, the SU will hold a referendum to determine whether or not to continue offering the Aspiria program to students.Â The CadreÂ will be investigating the perceived success of the Aspiria program at a later date.
Council discussed a number of proposed amendments to its bylaws and policies. Some of the amendments proposed restricting who has access to the SU credit card and conflict resolution for the SU’s full time staff.
MacEachern reported that four student groups applied for ratification with the SU. Conservation Club, UPEI Relay for Life, and Females (a womenâ€™s empowerment group) were all approved. The SU rejected a ratification application from a fraternity on campus called Alpha Psi Nu.
McGuigan reported that the university is considering adding a third convocation ceremony on Friday, May 10, 2019 due to overcrowding at last yearâ€™s ceremonies. He added that the university is talking about adding a fall convocation ceremony for those that complete their degrees in the summer, although nothing is official yet.
Vice President Academic and External and President-elect Emma Drake said that UPEIâ€™s Academic Planning and Curriculum Committee requested the SU create a survey to gauge whether or not students support a fall reading week at UPEI. 301 students responded, with 88.7% of students saying it would impact the campus community in a positive way.Â
Vice President Finance John Ployer reported that budget consultations are currently underway for the SUâ€™s 2019-2020 budget. To voice your opinion on how SU money should be spent, fill out this survey. The budget will be voted on at the SUâ€™s March 10 council meeting. Notably absent from Ployerâ€™s council report was any mention of a promised sustainability strategy or any tangible updates on a yearbook review. Two and a half months left!