Updated on January 18, 12:49 p.m..
The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) held their first meeting of the semester on January 13.
The only motion on the table concerned financial compensation for AUS executives. Brought forward by Gabriel Ning, Adam Templer, and Lexi Michaud, Arts Representatives to the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), the motion stipulated that Council meetings be included in the working hours of those participating in the AUS Executive Work Study program.
“Basically, being an AUS executive is such a commitment that it’s quite unreasonable to expect executives, who require work during their time as students, to have to maintain a second job as well,” explained President Jacob Greenspon.
“Being an AUS executive is such a commitment that it’s quite unreasonable to expect executives […] to have to maintain a second job as well.”
The Executive Work Study program was initiated by a referendum two years ago, “which would offer eligible [students] compensation for their activities as AUS executives. The issue that’s come up is whether attending AUS Council falls into that duty,” he continued.
The motion was swiftly approved, with three abstentions and no opposition.
Following the vote, a lengthy question period took place concerning the newly adopted criteria for selecting the VP Finance. At a small town hall meeting last semester, several options for refining the selection process were proposed. Greenspon explained the result of the discussion.
Greenspon said there are three categories of questions for the screening criteria. The first is “experience-based questions, which would assess candidates’ past experience handling accounts […] and audits.”
“We’ve found historically that the AUS budget […] has done a lot better when the VP Finance was present in Montreal for the summer.”
Section two is “more specific finance- and accounting-related questions, which [would] have one answer only, and they could be cross-referenced with […] someone who’s a certified accountant.”
The third category would concern availability for the summer, particularly the months of May and August, in order to complete the AUS audit and help with the finances of Frosh planning, respectively. “This isn’t a technical skill […] but it’s extremely important, because we’ve found historically that the AUS budget […] has done a lot better when the VP Finance was present in Montreal for the summer,” said Greenspon.
Itai Gibli, VP External of the Anthropology Students’ Association, questioned the fairness of requiring candidates to be in Montreal for at least part of the summer, pointing out that this criterion had nothing to do with their skill at accounting.
“It would be pretty rough for them to do this job from September on if they weren’t here at all for the summer,” responded Greenspon.
“If you applied for a job and it started in September, you would not get the job if you said you were only going to show up in December.”
Arts Senator Alex Kpeglo-Hennessy agreed. “If you applied for a job and it started in September, you would not get the job if you said you were only going to show up in December. It’s something that wouldn’t work,” Kpeglo-Hennessy said.
VP Social Christine Koppenaal also expressed firm support for this screening criteria, explaining that help from the VP Finance had been essential in organizing Arts Frosh.
The proposed screening criteria is set to be voted on at the next Council meeting as an amendment to the society’s bylaws.
An earlier version of this article quoted AUS President Jacob Greenspon as having said, “So last year, the Executive Work Study program was initiated by a motion through Council.” In fact, the Executive Work Study program was initiated by a referendum, two years ago. The Daily regrets the error.