DSU Council

Council Blog 6

November 1st

Hi everyone! Welcome back to the blog, this time I will be catching you up on what has happened at our November 1st council meeting.

So on November 1st, we had the appointment open once again for the LGBTQ+ Representative on the Elections Review Committee, this position has been open for several months now. The committee was created in April to examine the DSU Elections process in our last election, particularly to research oppressive practices of the elections process. All members of this committee must be BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Colour). If you or any student you know would be interested and meet the qualifications for the position please contact the DSU Council Chair (dsuchair@gmail.com).  Other appointments included councillor appointments of Rhys MacDonald (Faculty of Graduate Students Representative) to the Budget and Finance Committee, and Chelsea Cox (Faculty of Law Representative) to the Student Life Committee.

At this meeting an amendment to the Ethical Investment Policy was put forward that would create an Ethical Investment sub-committee under the Budget and Finance Committee, and report on the investments of the union. This committee could make suggestions for changes in investments that would have to go through council. There was a suggestion that the councillor (Yazan Khader, Faculty of Engineering Representative) that moved this motion forward on behalf of the Budget and Finance committee had a conflict of interest as they currently sat on the Budget and Finance Committee and would sit on the Ethical Investment Committee, however this councillor did not sit on the Ethical Investment Committee as it was not yet formed, and they have since resigned from the Budget and Finance Committee. I voted in favour of the new Ethical Investment Policy which can be viewed here, and the amended policy passed.

Another motion that passed at the November 1st meeting was a statement of support for councillors Kati George-Jim (Board of Governors Representative) and Masuma Khan (DSU VP Academic and External). The letter which you can read here is signed by the DSU executives and includes a statement of support for Masuma and Kati who have both experienced systemic racism from the institution of Dalhousie University. The document also includes a list of recommendations for the University to address systemic racism within the institution. There was a somewhat lengthy discussion on this motion I encourage you to watch it here if you are interested in the details of this discussion. I voted in favour of this motion, if you have any questions about this motion or any motions feel free to contact me at kmaclellan@dal.ca.

Council also reviewed the proposed schedule for the 2018 Annual General Elections, we found that the proposed timeline for 16 days (March 12th-27th) of campaigning was too long for students especially close to exam season, so with that feedback and a few other suggestions the Elections Committee will review and come up with a new timeline proposal. If you have any feedback or questions about council do not hesitate to contact me at kmaclellan@dal.ca. Our final council meeting of the term is on December 6th at 6 pm in SUB Council Chambers and is open to the public.

Disclaimer: These are my personal accounts from council meetings, if you would like to see and listen to the full open session meeting, see our livestream  available on the DSU YouTube account.

Katie MacLellan

DSU Science Rep

Council Blog 4

Hi Everyone and welcome to another DSU Council Blog! Although a large portion of our meeting on September 27th was held in-camera, there are still lots of important updates. We started our meeting with appointments for Computer Science Representative (Arazoo Hoseyni) and Law (Chelsea Cox) Representatives on council. These positions will be elected in the upcoming bi-election, but these representatives will represent their constituents on council until that time. Speaking of the bi-elections, we also made the appointments for the Elections committee. So stay tuned to hear more about the bi-elections soon! We are also still looking for an LGBTQ2+ representative to sit on the Elections Review Committee, this position has remained open for many meetings now so if you are a member of the LGBTQ2+ and BIPOC communities and are interested in getting involved please reach out to me (kmaclellan@dal.ca) or the DSU Council Chair (dsuchair@gmail.com) for more information.

Our DSU Vice President of Finance and Operations, Chantal Khoury, also gave her presentation on the auditor’s report of the DSU finances. This report will be released publicly once the final version has been made, but essentially went over the audit of the DSU’s finances that showed the DSU is a not for profit organization, funded by students and the operations of the Student Union Building. The auditors were CPAs from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Any questions regarding the audit can be brought forward to the Vice President Finance and Operations, Chantal Khoury (vpfo@dsu.ca).

At our previous council meeting councillor Mary MacDonald (Students with a Disability Community Representative) brought forward a motion to recall the DSU Vice President Academic and External, Masuma Khan. This motion was brought forward in response to a post from Masuma’s personal facebook account regarding a post relating to the Canada Day motion from the NS Young Conservatives facebook page. The motion itself and list of reasons will be made available on the DSU website once the minutes from council are approved. Masuma’s lawyer, Nasha Nijhawan, spoke on Masuma’s behalf and provided written materials that will be made available on the DSU website with the council minutes. The materials referenced white fragility and the rights of leaders in Masuma’s position. Nasha Nijhawan also noted that a bylaw referenced in Mary MacDonald’s motion states that Councillors shall “Act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the Union in respect of matters for which the Council has the authority to act” (Bylaw 4.4 ). Nijhawan explained that this bylaw does not give council the authority to create a code of conduct to evaluate the private lives of councilors, rather, that decision must rely with the student body when it comes time for the next round of elections. Essentially, the argument was that it would be unlawful for council to take disciplinary action on Masuma. If you are interested in the details of these submissions, please watch the livestream (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzpAucHWcnw) of our public session meeting. The remainder of the discussion was in-camera, but ultimately the motion failed and Masuma was not recalled.

I hope to see some Science Students at the DSU AGM tomorrow (Wednesday, October 11th) outside the Grawood in the Student Union Building at 5:30pm! If you have any question about the DSU in general or DSU council, please email me with any questions at all at kmaclellan@dal.ca.

 

Disclaimer: These are my personal accounts from council meetings, if you would like to see and listen to the full open session meeting, see our livestream (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzpAucHWcnw) available on the DSU YouTube account.

 

Katie MacLellan

DSU Science Rep

DSU Council Blog 3

Welcome to another DSU Council Blog! On September 13th the DSU Council met, some of the highlights were senate ratifications and appointments, committee appointments, and passing two motions.

As you may know, several societies (DSS included) put forward a representative to sit on the Dalhousie Senate as one of the 11 student representatives. At the DSU council meeting we ratified these positions. Vibhu Bhargava (a Neuroscience student) was ratified as our Science Representative. Other representatives ratified were Aaron Prosper (Indigenous Students Representative; Neuroscience student), and Chris Weiczorek (Arts Representative). We also appointed Lisa Hackett (Medical Science student) as the Women’s Representative, and Jad Sinno as the Graduate Students Representative. Once again we had lots of participation from science students, so that is awesome! These senators will sit on the Senate with Masuma Khan (DSU President Academic and External) and Amina Abawajy (DSU President) to represent student voices at Senate and Senate committee meetings.

We also heard a presentation from the DSU Executive outlining their goals for this academic year. Some notable goals mentioned were acquiring an accessible Tiger Patrol van so that this service can be available to students regardless of physical ability. They also talked about providing a wellness guide road map to simplify access to wellness services from the DSU and the University. The Survivor Support Centre was another big goal for the executive this year as this service gets started this fall. They would also like mandate Anti-Oppression training for levied and faculty level societies. I’m really excited to see how these goals unfold throughout this school year!

We had another appointment to the Elections Review Committee, another science student, Nadia Perry, was appointed as the accessibility representative, so congratulations to Nadia! The LGBTQ2+ position on this committee is still available if any students are interested in getting involved in this, they can contact me (kmaclellan@dal.ca). We also elected Katie Douglas (Women Students Community Representative; Neuroscience student), Mary MacDonald (Students with Disabilities Community Representative), Nadia Perry (a Biology Student) and Ashley Barr to the Student Accessibility Fund committee.

The council also voted on the Policy Development and Review Policy which aims to ensure that policies that are brought forward are reviewed first by the Bylaw and Policy Review committee to make sure that we are bringing forward good, high quality policies to council. There was the point brought up that this may discourage new policies being brought forward. I think this was a valid point; however, as I believe that careful consideration is important when adding and altering policy, I supported this motion and this motion passed in council.

We also looked at the Equity Motion, an amendment to this motion was proposed, and more  alterations were proposed in council. These changes are indicated in blue here. These changes passed and mean that the DSU will advise and instruct when possible that societies do not hold events in the University Club, as this location is not currently accessible to all students.

If you have any questions about this meeting, or DSU Council in general, please feel free to contact me at kmaclellan@dal.ca. All council related documents can be found online here. Our next meeting is on September 27th at 6:00pm in SUB Council Chambers and I encourage you all to come to our AGM on October 11th at 5pm in the SUB Atrium.

Disclaimer: These are my personal accounts from council meetings, if you would like to see and listen to the full open session meeting, see our livestream available on the DSU YouTube account.

Katie MacLellan

DSU Science Rep

DSU Council Blog 2

Hi everyone! Welcome back to another fall semester at Dal and another DSU Council blog! Our last meeting on August 23rd was our quickest yet, but there are a few notable moments from this meeting. We appointed our Chief Returning Officer for the DSU elections, Alex Li. They will be overseeing the upcoming elections for the DSU.

I also put forward a motion to publish documents, such as motions and presentations, to the DSU website within 24 hours of council, (found here) which passed! So if you want to follow along with what happens at DSU Council, it just got easier!

In other news, at our upcoming meeting this Wednesday (September 13th) we will be appointing a few non-councillor positions:

·         2 Elections Review Committee members (must be BIPOC)

o   Accessibility Representative

o   LGBTQ2+

·         2 Non Councillors for the Student Accessibility Fund Committee

If you are interested in any of these positions or have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at kmaclellan@dal.ca and come to our Council meeting at 6:00pm in the SUB Council Chambers this Wednesday (tomorrow). As well, if you have any questions about the DSU or getting involved on some other level, feel free to reach out anytime.

Katie MacLellan

DSU Science Rep

DSU Council Blog 1

July 19th 2017

 

Hey everyone! Welcome to my first ever DSU Council Blog!

 

Council started off with a land acknowledgement and an equity statement from the DSU. The Typographical Union motion was taken off the agenda. This motion (presented and altered during our last council meeting) originally proposed making a solidarity statement with the Typographical Union members (currently on strike from the Chronicle Herald) and providing some financial support to the cause. At the last council meeting we voted to omit the financial component. Since our last council meeting, the provincial government has decided to step in to mediate the path forward for these employees, and the motion was withdrawn.

 

There were a number of appointments this week at council. The Indigenous Students Representative, Ali Barnaby, was appointed to council. She was selected by the Indigenous Students Collective to be their representative. The Agricultural Campus Representative, Kamryn Findlay was also appointed. We then moved onto committee appointments and I’m happy to welcome Aaron Prosper (a Medical Science student) to the Elections Review Committee as the Indigenous Representative and Emma Power (a Chemistry student) to the Executive Review Committee as our non-councillor member. Chad LeClair (Medicine Rep) and Katie Douglas (Women’s Rep, and a Neuroscience student) were also appointed to the Executive Review committee. It’s nice to see so many science students getting involved in these committees!

 

We then talked about the Canada Day Motion, which as some of you may know, was brought forward and voted on at the last council meeting. Since this motion was brought forward and voted on in the same meeting and proposed a change to DSU policy, it did not follow the correct procedure and needed to be voted on again. We had a really great debate about the merits and deficiencies of this motion and Cory Larsen (DSU VPSL) brought forward a proposed amendment to the motion that changed the motion to aim to offer alternative Canada 150 programming in consultation with marginalized groups on campus rather than abstaining from the occasion completely. Please see both the original and amended texts here. We had a good debate about the amended version, and these changes were voted on and approved by council. Before voting on the altered motion we had further discussions. I highly encourage you to watch this portion of the council meeting for yourself because there were excellent points made by councillors and the members in the gallery on both sides that I cannot do justice to here. In the end, I voted for the amended version of the motion because it seemed to be in line with the feedback I had heard from the science students who had reached out to me, and it seemed to be in line with the wishes of DISC (the Dalhousie Indigenous Students Collective). In the end this motion passed. If you have any feedback or questions for me in regards to this or other motions, feel free to contact me anytime (kmaclellan@dal.ca)!

 

Before next council meeting feel free to reach out to me with any feedback for President Dr. Florizone as he seeks another term as president, and if you have anything you would like to see from our Dalhousie Board of Governors. I also have proposed a motion for council that you can see here. We will also be appointing an LGBTQ2+ Rep and Accessibility Rep (both must be BIPOC students) at our next meeting so stay tuned for that!

 

Disclaimer: These are my personal accounts from council meetings, if you would like to see and listen to the full meeting, see our live stream available on the DSU YouTube account.