Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) VP Social Kyle Rouhani has resigned due to “reasons of extreme personal, academic, and emotional duress met during the role,” AUS announced last Tuesday. At the November 12 meeting of the AUS Legislative Council, councillors discussed the filling of the newly-vacant position, as well as the Arts Student Employment Fund (ASEF) and the accessibility of student-run events.
The AUS executive has undergone significant turnover this year, with former VP Finance Kateryn Kim resigning in August for personal and family reasons, and former VP Internal Leila Alfaro resigning in September as she will be away for the Winter 2015 semester.
Despite the disruptions, AUS President Ava Liu was confident in Council’s ability to perform its duties, noting that administrative transitions have gone very smoothly. “Things have happened, and we’ve dealt with them in a very timely manner, so nothing has left a gap in services,” said Liu to Council.
Council decided to forgo the lengthy by-election process due to the time constraints with respect to upcoming final exams. Instead, the new VP Social will be appointed from a pool of applicants by Council at its next meeting. In accordance with the AUS constitution and electoral bylaws, all members of AUS standing committees are eligible to be appointed as the new VP Social.
Liu and VP Finance Li Xue noted that students who wish to learn more about the details of the potential implementation of a student fee to support the Arts Internship Office (AIO), discussed at the last Council meeting, can attend a town hall discussion with the Dean of Arts at the next Council meeting on November 26.
Council passed motions to approve ASEF allocations, as well as to form a “yes” committee for the ASEF renewal referendum question, which was approved by Council on October 29. The ASEF supports academically-based employment opportunities for Arts students.
Councillors also submitted ballots to create a shortlist of possible choices for the renaming of the Jack Daniels and Champagne rooms of the AUS lounge. In September, Council decided to rename the rooms so as to not promote a drinking culture. All Arts undergraduate students will be able to vote for their favourite name after the shortlist is finalized.
Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) Access Services Advisor Tanja Beck also gave a presentation to council on inclusivity in student events.
The number of students registered with the OSD has seen a significant increase over the past decade, currently numbering 1,600, compared to 400 in 2004. Beck stressed the importance of a social model of inclusion, shifting the focus from the disabilities of a student to awareness of the challenges presented to that student within a given environment.
According to Beck, this is especially important for student events, which can present unique challenges. Beck concluded her presentation by reiterating that successful and inclusive events require planners to “really think about the environment. Do not so much think about individual students, or individual barriers. Think big, and outside the box.”