This past week’s BUSU meeting was a busy one. The Brandon University Students Union (BUSU) held their regular council meeting on January 18th at 4:30PM. Like all other BUSU meetings, it was held in the CLC boardroom on the second floor of the Knowles-Douglas Centre.
One of the first items on the agenda was a letter from Lisa Mizan. At their September 28th meeting, Council chose to take the issue of “Discussion with Lisa Mizan” to a closed session, therefore denying access to those who were not part of council or the immediate situation. At this past council meeting, Mizan sent a letter stating that she was not pleased with the motion and suggested that it be moved to an open session for the record. When BUSU President Nick Brown opened the floor up for discussion on the issue, not a single council member spoke. Council decided to quickly move on to the next item on the agenda.
Next, BUSU executives presented their reports to council. BUSU President Nick Brown stated in his report that he attended a variety of activities in both December 2017 and the early part of January 2018. Brown explained that he attended a Human Rights Day at the Cultural Resource Centre in downtown Brandon, hosted the BUSU holiday dinner, attended Brandon Universities winter orientation and took part in the Presidential Search Student Consultation among other things. BUSU Vice-President Internal Emily Simon then presented her report. In it, Simon stated that she took part in Snowientation during the first part of the winter term. She also stated that, throughout the past few weeks, she was dealing with a large amount of appeals going through her office. Mohammed Agavi, BUSU Vice-President External, also presented his report. Agavi shared details in how he assisted in Snowientation activities as well as the BUSU holiday dinner. He also stated that planning for the mental health week had been in full swing since the beginning of the winter term. Following the executive reports, various BUSU student directors shared how they took part in the Snowientation activities. Health Studies director Megan Stade also shared some exciting news with the rest of council: the Faculty of Health Studies now has additional funds to hire both a clinical instructor and a sessional professor.
Moving into New Business, the item that had everyone’s attention was no doubt the discussion of what to do now that Bill 31 has passed the Manitoba Legislature. Bill 31 allows universities in Manitoba to increase tuition fees up to 5% plus the rate of inflation starting in September 2018. BUSU discussed the possibility of putting forth the “Education for All” motion at the upcoming Board of Governors meeting in March. The motion suggests that Brandon University only increase the tuition in September 2018 by the rate of inflation. Practically, it asks the Board of Governors to ignore the fact that Bill 31 has been passed and continue to uphold the previous increase rates. Council will vote on whether or not to present the motion to the Board of Governors at their next meeting.
Also in New Business was a discussion about Our Turn. Our Turn is a national action plan that is committed to ending sexual violence on university campuses across the country. A number of student unions across Canada have already signed on to the Our Turn plan. With the Canadian Federation of Students, Manitoba branch signing on council held the discussion of whether or not BUSU should sign on to the plan as well. Council members were asked to review the Our Turn plan before the next BUSU meeting in order to gain a firm grasp on the material before the motion goes to a vote.
To end off the meeting BUSU General Manager Natalye Ore gave council some general information regarding the upcoming BUSU election in March as well as an update on the activities of the BUSU elections Returning Officer. Ore mentioned that the voting days for the upcoming BUSU election will be on March 1st and 2nd. She also mentioned that for the first time in its history, BUSU would be allowing students to vote electronically. More details about an electronic voting system will come in the following weeks. The next BUSU council meeting is scheduled for February 1st at 4:30PM in the CLC boardroom.