News  AUS adopts equity policy

Council discusses 'Vision Board,' Leacock restructuring, Orientation Innovation Fund

Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) councillors convened Wednesday to discuss motions regarding the Equity Policy, Fine Arts Council funding to the Mosaica dance group, among others.  All tabled motions were passed and adopted.

In October, Council had passed a motion to create an ad hoc committee to look into creating an Equity Policy. On Wednesday, a motion to adopt the policy created by this committee passed with a single opposing vote.

According to Article 3, the AUS Equity Policy allows for the establishment of the AUS Equity Committee, which will be a standing committee of the AUS Council.  This committee will consist of two Equity Commissioners, at least two members-at-large and the AUS VP Internal.

The Committee will deal with equity complaints through the informal method of mediation, or where it’s not applicable, through the formal method of investigation.

Three presentations were given to councillors: on the restructuring of the Leacock building; a new vision for AUS presented by Senator Max Zidel to provide better communication between the Society and the administration; and a proposal by Student Life Coordinator Mitchell Miller and former AUS VP Events Josh Greenberg about an Orientation Innovation Fund.

Associate Dean Gillian Lane-Mercier started the Council meeting with a presentation on two plans for the restructuring of the Leacock building. The plans would group administrative officers (AOs) and services on the sixth floor of Leacock. A welcome centre and student service hub would be built on the third floor.

The initiative is a response to concerns that specific departments may be left without qualified administrators after a voluntary retirement program is put in place. This program, coupled with a recent provincial administrative cost-cutting initiative, Bill 100, will reduce the number of administrators in the faculty.

“[We] are very very worried that within six weeks that voluntary retirement packages will be accepted,” Lane-Mercier told Council.

Zidel then presented a new initiative he dubbed the “AUS Vision.”

“I think it would be great if the AUS had a better relationship with the Arts administration; one that is more organic, more fluid, and that naturally fits into the structure right now,” said Zidel, while introducing his proposal.

Currently there are many committees in the Faculty of Arts that have spaces for student members, however it is difficult for the AUS to track the progress of all these.

“The primary purpose of this vision board would be to track committee representation and plan strategically at the faculty level,” said Zidel in an e-mail to The Daily. “[The initiative] will be subject to extensive consultation, AUS council amendments and another year of feedback before we even begin the process of bylaw or constitution change,” he said.

Miller and Greenberg made another presentation, about the creation of an Orientation Innovation Fund, which, if created, would be used to provide funds to create new orientation initiatives.

Miller and Greenberg asked the AUS to invest $17,000, the amount that was declared as budget surplus by the AUS in February, into this fund.

AUS VP Finance Saad Qazi had said to The Daily that this money would be put into the AUS’ savings account.

AUS VP Internal Justin Fletcher said that AUS might want to reinvest the money into Arts Frosh, to help students who wanted to attend Frosh but found it too expensive.

Miller responded by saying that the money could be used to diversify the overall orientation week experience for all students, and not just Arts students.

Of the three motions discussed, two were procedural ones that did not undergo debate, but were voted on immediately. These two, Fine Arts Council funding to the Mosaica dance group, and an addition to the President’s budget regarding an advising event were both passed.