Students turn out for SRA takedown
The SRA meeting on Oct. 19 had unprecedented student engagement.
Over 50 students turned up in person on Sunday evening and throughout the livestream an average 250 viewers watched from home.
Many students were particularly interested in MSU President Teddy Saull’s motion that put forward several options for an end of year celebration, which would allocate up to $215,000 to Campus Events.
However, at the meeting Saull rescinded the most expensive options.
“There has been a lot of dispute about the $215,000 motion, and like I said, I think it’s my job to push the organization to think but it’s also my job to listen, and there’s no doubt that there’s been a lot of noise made about this,” said Saull.
Although many students expressed frustration with the fact that this idea was put forward, the Board of Directors was happy that so many students became involved in the discussion.
“I hope that people don’t feel like this is a failure... I’ve never seen so many people come to an SRA meeting or talking on campus about the MSU,” said Saull.
The meeting addressed several other controversies as well.
The Women and Gender Equity Network Coordinator, Shanthiya Baheerathan, gave an update on the network and thanked Saull for his work on advocating for a sexual assault nurse on campus and getting a response coordinator.
However, both Baheerathan and members of the WGEN Advisory Committee high-lighted the role of the SRA and Board of Directors in moving forward on the WGEN’s goals, particularly finding a space on campus.
“To be honest we haven’t gotten a lot of accountability from the VP Admin on this” said Ana Qarri, a member of the WGEN advisory board. “The point of the advisory board is to advise on what is going on with the centre, but we haven’t been asked to advise on anything. We felt like we’ve been kept out of any of the decisions that have been made.”
While the SRA failed to pass all options for an end of year celebration, they unanimously decided to spend $10,000 to expand this year’s Frost Week concert and provided CFMU $9,395.92 worth of hardware upgrades.
They also passed a motion to recommend a week-long break beginning in the fall of 2015 to the Fall Break Committee.
One issue discussed that was not on the agenda was whether the BOD has any responsibility to engage with students on social media, when Anser Abbas jokingly asked Saull when he would be getting back on Facebook.
Saull explained that he chooses to engage students in person by devoting an hour each week to engaging students in the Student Centre. He said he prefers to keep his personal life separate from work.
“I find it demoralizing and I don’t like to subject myself to the environment where my personal life collides with the decisions that I’m trying to make at work,” he said.
But with over 2,000 livestream comments, 1,594 students signing a change.org petition and countless students engaging through SRA members’ posts on Facebook, students seem to be saying that online engagement is the way to go.