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. (Allison O’Brien)
The UPEISU Council met for the third time this year to discuss the SU budget for the 2019-2020 year, a January financial report for the Fox and Crow, and several proposed by-law changes.
The SU also moved in-camera to present a report by ombudsperson Bijan Adatia regarding an internal investigation of Vice President Finance and Administration John Ployer. In early January, the SU became aware that Ployer was a writer for The Post Millennial, a Canadian media website. Concerns were made that Ployer was in violation of SU Policy #31 Executive Non-Partisanship.
The Cadre has obtained the report and is awaiting comments from Ployer.
Draft 2018-19 SU budget presented
Ployer continued to dominate the council meeting with a presentation on the proposed SU budget for the 2019-2020 year.
Changes to the budget include a slight wage increase for all four executive positions and several staff members as per the consumer price index and the increase in minimum wage.
Other changes to the budget include increasing undergraduate funding from $7,500 to $9,000 and increasing graduate funding from $7,500 to $8000. A budget line was also created for the new shuttle service Panther Patrol. The SU estimates they will receive $8,000 in sponsorships to offset the $25,000 in estimated expenses.
The proposed budget can be viewed here.
While discussing the budget, graduate student representative Ashley McKibbon raised the concern that UPEI has some of the highest SU fees in the maritimes, and suggested that the SU amalgamate all of their fees into one fee line so it is clear that separate fees such as CASA, WUSC, and the Student Union Building fee are all going to the SU.
Fox and Crow January financial report
Ployer presented the January financial report for the The Fox and Crow, which showed continued improvements over the previous year. The Fox and Crow made $48,159.91 in January 2019 compared to $28,614.65 in January 2018, but had significantly higher expenses due to equipment purchases. With total expenses of $53,859.89 in January, The Fox and Crow lost $5,699.98. This was still better than last January which saw a loss of $6,409.54.
Proposed by-law changes could spell big changes for the way some councillors are elected
Council proposed shifting the education representative election process to an internal election held within a ratified club or society. This idea has been brought to council several times over the years but has never been adopted.
Education representative Jessica Watts said having a club or society elect their representative would save time, energy, and make the election process easier.
McGuigan added that it would be convenient for clubs and would give them power over who represents them.
“Your giving the power to your clubs and societies and having them decide and choose among themselves,” he said.
Council is also proposing to get rid of the Council Steering Committee, which is responsible for creating the agenda for council’s bi-weekly meetings and preparing motions that need to be voted on. Chair of council Colton Profitt said the committee is not an efficient use of councillor’s time.
Council adding Indigenous student representative
The SU has proposed adding an Indigenous student representative to council. The representative will be appointed through an internal election process of the Aboriginal Student Association that represents Indigenous students at UPEI.
President William McGuigan said having an Indigenous student representative on council plays a part in reconciliation and is standard amongst other student unions.
McGuigan reported on the new shuttle service Panther Patrol. A driver has been hired to operate the van, and it has been in operation for almost 2 weeks. After Beach Blast, thirty students used the service.
Vice President Finance and Administration John Ployer reported on the status of the 2017-2018 yearbook, which is almost a year overdue. Ployer says the yearbook is half done, and will be delivered in September along with the 2018-2019 yearbook. Approximately 35 students purchased a yearbook last year, all of whom have been refunded. Ployer says not enough progress was made on the project by the previous yearbook staff which is why the yearbook has been delayed.
Senate representative Scott Grant reported on the latest update regarding implementing a fall reading week at UPEI. At a recent UPEI senate meeting, three possible dates were discussed to have the fall reading week, but the change wouldn’t come into effect until 2021. UPEI is currently the only university in the Atlantic region that doesn’t have a fall reading week.