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A Message From the KSU Executive

The following message was sent out to KSU members via TWAK on December 4, 2017. 

Dear members,

We’re writing to you to clarify discussions about the Students Advocating for Representative Curricula (SNARC) project, the Wall of Women, as well as other conversations happening online and on campus about the actions of the KSU executive. We want to provide context, explain decisions about the Wardroom, and talk about how to create more inclusive spaces on campus.

King’s students collectively own the Wardroom, and for many of us it’s a space that we use every single day. We hold a collective responsibility to ensure that the space—and any changes made to it—uphold the values that are central to our work as a union. In the Wardroom we are interested in working on better ways to uphold and listen to the voices of students who are marginalized on campus, and facilitate conversations about equity in a productive and meaningful way.

In 2014, a group of students put up a display in the Wardroom called the wall of women. The project aimed to address the gross over representation of men in portraits on campus by putting up portraits of women on walls of the Wardroom. The organisers sought to recognize the fact that women have and continue to make great contributions to King’s and deserve to be celebrated.

The original display showcased some brilliant women that were primarily white women, straight women, able-bodied women, and cisgender women. This project that celebrated women was a source of strength and inspiration for a lot of people on campus. Many women found safer space that they hadn’t previously had access to, when they looked at the wall and spent time in the Wardroom.

However, that was not everyone’s experience. For instance, racialized women were only represented in a token way and Indigenous women were not represented at all. The experience of not seeing yourself on a wall that purports to highlight exemplary contributions erases the contributions and existence of those other identities. It reinforces notions that only an exclusive group of people can succeed in academic spaces, an especially relevant issue at King’s where a majority of our faculty and students are white.

We raised these issues when we were informed that there was a hope to reinstall the project as a permanent installation in the Wardroom, after it was taken down during the Wardroom renovations. We talked about race and we talked about other identities that would inherently not be represented. For example, we talked about the fact that putting up a wall of women, as opposed to walls of men, upholds the gender binary. The gender binary delegitimizes and erases the voices of students whose identities are not reflected. Traditionally this has been used as a tool of the patriarchy, which is at the root of the original issue – the over representation of men in portraits on campus.

Creating another wall of figures upholds structures of knowledges that are discriminatory, exclusionary and inaccessible. We don’t think that it was the intention of the organisers to uphold harmful structures. We also recognize that this has not been the experience of every non-binary student, racialized student, or otherwise marginalized students. However, in maintaining a safer, collectively owned, space in the Wardroom we need to consider how our actions impact all of us.

We are committed to continuing conversations about equity on campus. We all need to work together to prioritize the voices of students who have been traditionally ignored. That means having conversations in a more robust way than the conversations that were had in 2014 when this project started. It means foregoing projects like the wall of women in favour of ones that are accessible to all of us.

Let’s have a conversation about why there are so many portraits of men on campus. Let’s have conversations about what we all need from our collectively owned space, the Wardroom. Let’s recognize that lots of students have been left out of these discussions and that the opinions, feelings, and concerns of marginalized students are often ignored. Let’s make space for those voices. Let’s use these conversations to inform action to create safer spaces for more than white cis women and men on this campus. As a team, we’ve struggled to find ways to have these conversations with ourselves, and with SNARC, let alone the entire school. We’ve had errors of miscommunication with SNARC and for that we apologize.

We decided to write this statement in TWAK because we wanted all students to have access to this information. We chose not to put a statement our Facebook page because those posts can attract comments that target individuals and cause harm. The members of our executive hold many intersecting marginalized identities and we aren’t willing to risk that additional harm inherent in having these conversations online. While it’s our responsibility to facilitate discussion, all students have a right to feel safe. That doesn’t mean we aren’t available to talk. You can email us, set up a meeting with any of us, or visit our office hours in the new year.

We’re going to spend the break thinking about the different kinds of spaces we can provide to educate one another and work together to make this campus more inclusive. If you want to contribute to that, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to send us your ideas here.

Finally, we wanted to say it’s been a tough semester. We’ve had a lot of taxing conversations but we’re going to try to bring as much compassion and care as we can to our work and we hope that you do too. We’re going to do our best not to uphold systems that perpetuate colonialism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, and other forms of discrimination. Most importantly, we’re going to work together to dismantle those systems and create systems accessible to all of us.

In solidarity,
The KSU Executive
Brennan McCracken, KSU President (president@ksu.ca)
Lianne Xiao, Student Life Vice-President (slvp@ksu.ca)
Zoe Brimacombe, Financial Vice-President (fvp@ksu.ca)
Marie Dolcetti Koros, External Vice-President (evp@ksu.ca)
Cassie Hayward, Communications Vice-President (cvp@ksu.ca)

LIVE BLOG: Fall GM (Hogwarts Theme!)

Hey there!

It’s your main homie, Zoë and I’m back atcha with another smooth n juicy live blog!

Just ate a great apple. We’re halfway to quorum (the amount od people we need to have this meeting) in the wardy, so if you’re reading this and are not in the wardy, I highly recommend joining us!

I also realized that I lied to all of you last live blog. I claimed it was my penultimate, but I think that this one is in fact that. Which is sad (bc liveblogging gives me something to do during council) but also super exciting because it means that a new Member-at-Large will be elected soon!!!!!!!! (For those of you who aren’t aware, the live blog is usually written by the member-at-large, but when I was elected BOG rep I just kept doing it as there is currently no member-at-large. BUT NOW YOU CAN BE THE NEW MEMBER AT LARGE!!! OR ARTS REP!!! OR SCIENCE REP!!! OR J SCHOOL REP!!! OR RESIDENCE REP!!! OR FIRST YEAR REP!!!! PICK UP NOMINATION FORMS OUTSIDE THE KSU OFFICE OR CONTACT KATE ASHWOOD AT CRO@KSU.CA)

7:13 and we’re still waiting on quorum! *HARRY POTTER THEME SONG PLAYS*

7:17 WE MADE QUORUM!!!!!

We begin by acknowledging that we are on unseated Mi’kmaq territory and by getting a really cool rundown on Robert’s Rules of Order from Gwen, our awesome chair!

Then our agenda and minutes are adopted!

Now onto exec reports!

Alex Bryant is kicking thing off. He has a lightning bolt scar on his head! it’s the boy who lived! HE’s also the president! The exec has been in office for 6 months and 3 weeks. Today he will focus on all the ass we’ve been kicking about tuition things. Yesterday the Chronicle had an article about us! It was also picked up by the NDP! Some of the senior admin team are very upset because we are winning: the initial proposal was to increase FYP tuition by $1000 over three years. Now they want to wait a year and then push it through. We are going to be beat this. We are going to ask you for things in the next 15 days (before the next board meeting): maybe stand places, maybe write things. Stay tuned!

Alex McVittie is wearing a very large T Shirt and looks great! She is our VP Student Life!!! Her duties around academics, societies, and athletics (new athletic wear this year)! This year she wants to provide more athlete support, meet more frequently with academic committee, create better training for society executives!

Now it is Aidan! She is our Finance VP and has great freckles! Starting in September, things have been wrapping up in terms of financial statements. Hoping to move on to cool projects!!! Wants to teach people how to budget and use the union’s services, including building up a travel bursary policy. Fighting the battle on tuition fees is a struggle that really never ends!

Hannah Kaya is up! Cool boots! External VP! She begins by introducing herself as Student Life VP! Good job Hannah! 2 actions we did last year: sent a bunch of postcards to admin demanding a more sustainable financial plan AND did a board of governor’s action where we told the board what high tuition means for them! In June she represented King’s at the Canadian Federation of Students national meeting! ELECTIONS ARE COMING UP! See the top of this live blog for info!!

Sofia Zaman is here!!!!!! She is Communications VP and has a point-form list! She does TWAK and also chairs bylaw review committee. Will do an elections report this year to say what has gone well and what needs to change. Nominations packages outside the KSU office! Due this Friday at midnight!

ACTION ITEMS!!!!!!!!

7:33 Our first action item is that if we lose quorum at some point during this meeting then we can do the rest of these motions at council. HOPEFULLY we do not have to do this. Voting time: it passes!

Alex also lets us know that at 8 this room becomes a bar so we may be stamped. Stamps are fun.

Okay, now we’re on to the budget! Aidan is (of course) at the helm of this as FVP!

The draft budget was passed at the spring GM, but this uses the actual enrolment rather than projections. This is a guideline as to how the union will spend its money, not necessarily an exact report on what is in out bank account. Levies are dues that we pay to our levied societies (south house, ckdu, etc.) which are voted on by referendum and we do not have control over. Union dues are the amount of money each student pays to the union.

We budgeted for 1050 students, last week we had 1014, and now we have 1027! So we’re doing an amendment to the motion to reflect our actual enrolment. Aidan is doing “some excel fun stuff” Budget stuff: (bullet points!)

  • Levies: we cannot change these
  • Health and dental plan: we cannot change this
  • Society funding
  • Canadian Federation of Students fees: we also cannot change this
  • Salaries for our two staff people:
  • Campaigns and Services Coordinator: runs our health plan and office
  • Hospitalities Manager: manages the wardroom and galley
  • Fixed fees like bank account fees, audit and bookkeeping fees
  • Contingency line: we have cut our contingency line because of decreased enrolment
  • Sexual health products cost less this year! Yay!
  • Decreased travel and conference budget to cut costs. We will only be sending two representatives to the CFS national general meeting this year
  • Wardroom contingency fund was cut because they have their own
  • We currently have a surplus of $1 358 in our budget

Now we’re voting on amending the budget to reflect our actual numbers of students. It passes!

Jacob moves to increase each exec honoraria by $200, which would use up $1000 of our surplus. Alex Bryant speaks against this amendment, saying that we should put the money in contingency instead to absorb dues when people drop out.

Another student asks why Jacob put this forward. Jacob says that this fund should be constantly increasing because it makes the positions inaccessible. They do a lot of work and should be paid fairly.

We vote on the amendment. It is defeated.

Aidan proposes an amendment, saying that $200 should be moved to exec changeover and the rest of the $$ should be moved to the contingency fund. It passes!

Now we vote on the full budget! It is adopted! WE DIS SOMETHING!

8:05 Another motion! This one is that exec honoraria be payed in 6 instalments (each month) rather than twice (each term). Bylaw review committee changed this! This makes the positions much more accessible.

(I am going pee brb)

(I am back from pee hello)

Alex Bryant is making an amendment to the motion saying that we do not have to approve the $$ at council but it will instead just be payed out every month. This is important because if someone was to not fulfil their duties they should be impeached, not not paid. The amendment passes!

Gwen clarifies that all our exec are paid honoraria. They are technically and legally volunteers. Wowie zowie!

8:21 Okay! Now we’re electing people to finance committee! Finance committee recommends funding requests from societies to council and also does policy work. Plus they get to hang with Aidan on the regular! So fun and quirky!!

Quorum is called and we still have quorum! Sofia begins to cry.

Nominations are open!

Katie Buckley (She is a very organized and thoughtful person. When she was a child, she made budgets for fun. She would make a great member of the finance committee), Nuala Polo (Was part of finance committee last year, great intuition about funding requests, valuable to have people with experience and ideas of precedent), Joy Shand (Served on finance committee last year, had a lot of good time, sits on council as the Day Students Society president, has lots of institutional memory), Charlotte Sullivan (Currently KSU scribe, has bookkeeping experience, experience with budgets, wants to be a part of more committees), Helen Lee (Second year student, studying economics, very pragmatics, great ideas, listens to opinions and comes out with good compromises), Vicky McEwen (Second year student involved with KTS and many KSU societies, interested in finding out more about things going on on campus and about how society funding works), Liam Doherty (Second year student, never been on a committee, wants to start off here. Best way to get involved is to just step right in, would like to further understand how finances work at King’s), and Brenda Wambui (CSP psychology student, has run a business where she was responsible for 20 payroll, keeps it all accurate. Wants to be involved in the KSU) are the nominees!

Voting is a long and fun process. Sofia is not great at counting but she is trying her best for sure.

Katie Buckley, Joy Shand, Nuala Polo, and Brenda Wambui are elected to the position!

8:39 We’re now filling a few spots on academic committee! They represent academic concerns of the membership, approve curriculum changes.

Rach Klein (works on SNARC, which is SUCH a good committee, works on making curricula v v v representative and awesome, super organized and great in meetings), Hannah MacDougall (cares a lot about academic future of King’s, wants to make sure everything stays cool, keep the community atmosphere around FYP, increase community aspect of upper year programmes, is involved with other societies on campus), Gabriel Goodman (Been at King’s a long time, has been first year rep, has been involved in the union and the CFS, interested in consulting with all programmes and advocating based on their interests, pays attention to social justice and representations, wants to work in solidarity with staff at King’s and with King’s students who don’t take any classes at King’s), Katy Weatherly (Passionate about curriculum and all the academic life that King’s has to offer, believes in listening to diverse voices and listening to people throughout all traditions, does “love her Plato” so wants to strike a balance between the famous people and the less-represented authors), Danielle McCreadie (lives and breathes King’s! She is the second person to do a combined honours between journalism and EMSP, works at the bookstore, great human), and Kyril Wolfe (Third year classics student, works patrol, “a bit of an asshole”, involved in community life at King’s, wants to listen to students concerns and present them to the committee) are the nominees.

Rach Klein, Hannah MacDougall, and Danielle McCreadie are elected tot he position.

A motion to task the bylaw review committee with doing a report on when by-elections should be held (especially in relation to fall-elected councillor positions). It passes!

8:59 ADJOURNMENT!!!!!! BYEEEEE

LIVE BLOG September 27th

IMPORTANT THINGS: Consultation tomorrow at 3:30-5:30 in the red room with the committee on student fees. BE THERE. Even a reduced proposal is not acceptable. Any increase to tuition fees is unacceptable. There is also an assumption of a 3% increase on tuition fees every year that we need to deal with. Keep pushing against this. Fees are also increased by 3% even when there is no inflation applied to them.

This is, as Hannah Kaya as so nicely pointed out, my penultimate live blog. Probably.

For anyone who doesn’t know what this even is, it’s somewhere between The Watch’s live tweets (located HERE, def recommend) and the official minutes, which come out after council and are posted on the KSU official website (the website you are currently on. Wow.)

And we’re getting started at 10:10am, with the recognition of being on unceded and unsurrendered Mi’kmaq territory.

After a few adjustments to the agenda (Alex forgot to submit all her motions. A+)

10:12am Councillor reports!

Taylor (Board of Governors rep) starts off. He did a presentation about the BOG at the town hall. Seems like students are really jazzed to learn more about the BOG

I was next, and mentioned the CTF and the upcoming board meetings. I couldn’t make it to the town hall.

Hannah (Science rep) couldn’t make it to the town hall either. She was “in the lab”. I do not know how science works. Excited to work with new science rep.

Joy is reporting on the Day Students’ Society (Here is their facebook page). The piano has been approved and can be moved from the chapel to the wardy! They also purchased a vacuum that societies can use to clean up the wardy after their events! I love the DSS! Also desperately need a new ice machine, trying to find funding. Attempted to hire a Chief Returning Officer (CRO) but the person did not show up. Nominations open, set to close on Tuesday. RUN FOR POSITIONS ON THE DSS!!!! IF you are a day student!!!!!! Maritime night October 15th! Trivia starting soon! Joy has also joined a subcommittee of the Campus Master Planning Committee that will be dealing with non-resident student spaces.

Melina (Arts rep) is up! So stoked on the town hall. Also went to the Dalhousie Arts and Social Sciences Annual General Meeting: rearranged their budgeting system, which means they can get more funding. Started meeting with heads of upper year programmes, excited to help out whoever comes into the arts rep position.

Alright! 10:22 and we’re on to exec reports.

Alex Bryant, the prez, is up first. His report outlines the timeline of the committee on student fees. Hopefully we can go into the consultation session with vigor. 2 main things: Any increase on fees for FYP is unacceptable and we are tired of consultation that leads nowhere. GO TO THE CONSULTATIONS and SPEAK UP. Click here to see Alex’s letter to the board regarding the tuition increases. The committee on student fees is meeting at 2:30, immediately before the consultation.

Presidential search committee is working hard. The short list will be public around November.

The incidents of sexual harassment and indecent exposure. There were so many that Alex couldn’t even find all the police reports. A week ago there were 5 back to back. If you see reports like this, share it to the KSU facebook page, share it amongst yourselves.

Taylor mentions that George comes up a lot in discussions about tuition and it would be a good idea to let everyone know about presidential search.

Alex McVittie, Student Life VP is up now! Reporting on Campus Master Planning Committee (CMPC). Residences are top priority. Angel’s roost got updated. Recruitment is affected by our bad residences. PLan for the new bays: widened hallway, bays all connected, floor-style living rather than bay-style, common area with no walls on each floor, don on each floor. Apparently we do not know where our property actually ends, which makes it tricky to install an elevator. So, because it’s pretty much impossible to make bays accessible, we want to focus on making Alex Hall really really accessible. Doing the bay renovations would require closing the entirety of residence for a whole year, so it’s kinda tricky.

Athletic wear is on its way! Excited excited!

Town hall was super successful. Remember to go to the consultation on Monday. Very important to hear students advocating for themselves.

10:37, aka time for Aidan to finance VP it up. She sent her first fax.

Town hall and federal election are related here. Tuition is an election issue, and it’s a discussion that needs to be had at the federal, provincial, and college level.

Finance committee! We should work on a more comprehensive financial policy for our union. Hoping to work on this all year. We vote through all our funding requests, whereas some unions don’t. Let’s have a more broad policy to work under. Spend responsibly. At the GM, there will be elections to finance committee! Next week on Wednesday! Come and join finance committee!

DC things: DC is the company that our ATM is from. Our surcharge is $2 for now, hopefully it will not go up.

Excited to be able to change honoraria to make exec positions more accessible.

Our enrolment is 1014 this year, which is lower than our projection. We needed to change the budget to find around $4000. Minor changes: didn’t need to spend as much on sexual health products (leftovers from last year), added $100 for menstrual products, reducing amount of people going to CFS national meeting, reducing contingency line. (THIS IS THE BUDGET. LOOK AT IT. THINK ABOUT IT. TALK ABOUT IT. FEEL LIKE YOU KNOW MATH)

Joy points out that the ATM fee is $2.50. Aidan says she will look into that.

Taylor asks if there has been talk of changing up the ATM? Aidan says nah, not really. If anyone has concerns about the ATM email fvp@ksu.ca!

10:49 Hannah, External VP is up now! We’ve been registering a lot of people to vote! Yay!

Dal is having a student issues debate on Sept 28th. Meet at the flagpole at 6. (Green, Liberal, NDP will be there!) Student leaders will be moderating the debate! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS EVENT.

Talk to Hannah about signing up for tabling!

Went to cats against catcalling event, could have been better attended but went well.

Princess Mononoke screening with SustKing’s

Lots of interest especially from first year students RE tuition increases. Let’s remember to stay in touch with students after consultation.

Okay! Sofia Zaman is up! Bylaw review committee has been super super rad. Amendments coming through at the GM.

Nominations for councillor positions are open until midnight on Friday!!!!! PLEASE PLEASE RUN!

10:55 time for Jenn to report on hospitalities! She is the new Hospitality Coordinator!

She’s been working on HR, contracts, and suppliers. She also implemented square Point of Sale on an iPad, which will be super super useful. This month is something of a test. If you see flaws, let us know and be cool.

Working on making payroll smooth and creamy like galley coffee.

Managed to collect the levy!

New menu items!

New suppliers! New cucumbers! They are a hit! Keeping things local and seasonal!

Added ethernet cables!

Opened the wardy for a couple of private events over the summer, which went well. The summer was very exciting and difficult. The KSU exec have been super awesome.

Joy mentions that all the MFA students LOVED the galley while they were here for their program.

Sofia asks Jenn to talk about new menu items: Got a confection oven! Can roast root vegetables. Make own soup someday! Roasting own tomatoes and garlic! Trying to do a sandwich a week (maybe a month). Smoked salmon on bagels and in grilled cheese! omg omg omg these sound so good. The produce will be based on local, sustainable things. Trying to buy seasonal veg. Holy heck what are y’all doing get the galley right now.

Alex mentions how awesome Jenn is.

 

11:02 ACTION ITEMS!!!!

A couple travel bursaries:

Hannah Barrie is requesting a $100 travel bursary to go to a ringette championship. Apparently ringette is kind of like hockey? It passes!

Rebecca Steele is requesting $100 to attend the Memorial University debating tournament. Aidan is talking to Sodales about how best to apply for travel funding. It passes!

Alrighty, now Contemporary Studies Programme is requesting $250 to contribute to a speaker’s fee for a lecture on Bob Dylan on October 14th (So cool?). Melina mentions that this came to the Dalhousie Arts and Social Sciences Society and was rejected twice. Alex says this event is not from a society and is not by or for students. We cannot fund academic social life. It was proposed by a retired professor and shouldn’t take money from our society funding. It could be a “swell event” but “there are lots of swell events.” Joy also speaks up, saying that if departments need our funding to pay for their events that is super lame and bad. In the future lets talk about events that are cohosted or not run by King’s students. Aidan responds, saying that it is sad that Across The Board cuts actually affect us this much that a department cannot pay for its own events; it indicates a bigger issue. The motion fails.

11:15 Society ratification! We omnibus the motions, but they concern King’s Record, Dance collective, Young Alexandra Society, Unconscious Collective Vocal Ensemble, King’s Tabletop Gaming Society, Blue Devils Hockey, and the Wordsmiths. These are all super cool n fun societies! They all pass!!!!!!!!

11:19 New Business

Aidan is “informally tasked” with compiling info about travel bursary policy!

Adjourned. Peace out. See you on the flipside. Go the the galley. Fight the power.

LIVE BLOG: Council June 28th

Hey! I bet you thought there was no council during the summer. YOU’D BE WRONG. The union never sleeps.

Today we have a super special council wherein most people will be calling in. Just Alex, Sofia, Taylor, and I are here in person. (aka the cool people)

It’s 10:02 am and we’re just waiting for some more people to call in.

JUST KIDDING!

We don’t have quorum so we’re postponing council for the next couple days. We’ll see ya when we see ya.

LIVE BLOG: Winter General Meeting *snowflake emoji*

HEY GET YOUR BUTTS OVER HERE! WE NEED SOME SERIOUS QUORUM FOLKS

I PROMISE IT’LL BE FUN

ALSO WE’RE CURRENTLY SNACKIN THE HOUSE DOWN

brb getting snacks

update: back. Got snacks. Still no quorum :””(

update: more snacks. more people. no quorum.

update: only need 8 more people until quorum! At that point I may stop crying but idk

update: ONLY 4 MORE PEOPLE! TAYLOR SWIFT IS PLAYING YOU KNOW YOU WANNA BE HERE

UPDATE: ONE PERSON AWAY AAAAAH

7:56pm: Peter Howe, our knight in shining armour/old man just made quorum! Haritha, the raddest and baddest (in a good way) chair just called up to order!

What is a GM? It’s the most important meeting! Big ticket items! Everyone gets to vote! Your voice is important for the future of your union. Everyone has the same decision-making power here. Haritha is also going over some basic meeting how-to. People have every right to know what they’re voting on.

The computer behind Haritha awakes. It’s a tiled background some sort of muscular rock climber. Sofia Zaman is quoted as shouting “Oh no!”

We are talking about motions, not people. Keep your thoughts on your friends and enemies out of it.

Let’s get going!

We’ve adopted the agenda and are heading on to executive reports.

First up, Alex Bryant (our President). Two weeks ago, the KSU wrote letter in support of York and U of T’s teaching assistant unions. We celebrated bottled water free day. Presidential search committee: we got lots of student feedback! 8 page report! Students do not want another “white lawyer dude”. Voting on the profile of the ideal candidate at BoG meeting next week. College Task Force: hasn’t done anything useful since interim report. Staff review committee: looking at hospitalities manager and office and campaigns coordinator. The HM needs big revisions. Senate review committee: reviews whole relationship between Dal and King’s. Merging with Dalhousie is NOT on the table. If you have opinions about this stuff, look at the report and go to consultations centre. Working with new BoG reps (Me! And Taylor!) who are super cool! Lots of projects. First meeting on the 16th. Rampant misogyny: #fuckery. We made a statement about the recent Howe hall incident, and are happy to chat with y’all about this. Kyril points out you can also go to Kim Kierans, the University’s equity officer.

Next, Student Life VP! Alex McVittie! Changeover, she says, has been real cool. Goals: micro aggression seminars and consent workshops during frosh week, displaying student art, a society newsletter, organize alumni events, updating sick tray requests. Ratifying societies: SNARC and Night Sky Society (both cool af). Dodgeball tournament happened and raised over $400 for Halifax Humanities. Also reshaping CUBE coordinator position: Alex Rose and Joe Fish have been rehired. Working on keeping Peter Wilson room a student space. Academic committee: talked about retention. Awards night in the wardy tomorrow! 6 free cakes (huge gigantic cakes. 3 chocolate, 3 vanilla).

Financial VP Aidan is up! Rockin’ the blundstones. Changover has been smooth and lovely. Has learned a lot about weird day to day task- next up, big projects! Vice presidential review committee has also been meeting. Budget Advisory Committee: releasing a June budget. They are the committee that creates the University’s budget (not the KSU’s). Shoutout to Finance Committee! Sofia and Aidan went to a consent culture workshop, plus Consent+ day happened and was a huge success. They also released a statement on misogyny recently.

Hannah Kaya, chillin’ with dat blue hair, is up now. External VP. She has been busy with policy and perogies and the postcard campaign in general. We have over 220 signed now. Sign them in the KSU office. Red squares and banner in solidarity with Quebec students. Sust King’s also had a successful event with SEEDS. We are also working on getting better Memorandum of Understanding procedure. It is the document that determines the future of NS post-secondary. Face The Future policy document is related to this. It’s No Secret campaign: federal elections campaign. CFS-NS GM this weekend! A bunch of us are going! New Sust Officer was hired and Campus Safety Coordinator is being restructured. She also mentions that although the misogynistic events we’ve seen  have been at Dal, King’s is not isolated and we need to combat sexism and rape culture on all levels.

Sofia Zaman our cool Communications VP is up! TWAK: tried to do the first one on a FYP Monday #mistake. Social media is happening! KSU has a snapchat: @KSUnion. Sofia has been working on the website and social media in general. Everything is a party! Consent culture, also. Our statement on the misogyny is available at http://ksu.ca/howehallstatement/

 

8:33pm YAY! ACTION ITEMS! LET’S GET ACTIVE!

First, we’re voting on having any motions we don’t get to (if we lose quorum) go to council. Kyril asks if we can lower quorum. We cannot. Quorum is 5% of our membership, in the bylaws. We cannot change the bylaws. It passes!

Budget! Now we are getting a super cool budget report by Aidan. She also made a fun helpful cheat sheet about how to read the budget. So this is a projected budget, first up. All our money comes from student dues, so it varies based on enrolment. This budget is based on projected enrolment.

We are all following along on the budget here, so uh I guess just visualize this? Levies are designated sums of money separate from the rest of the Union’s money. We have some levied groups, such as CKDU, South House, The Watch, WUSC and NSPIRG. The amount we pay them are non-negotiable and are determined through referendum. We also pay for orientation week with levies, along with societies. We found out that we do a ton of printing for societies, so we’ve increased the budget for this. We’ll talk about the wardy and galley later.

Fees! They have increased based on inflation. Cool. Part time students pay part-time dues. the yearbook has been abolished.

Expenses! We hire two people: the campaigns and services manager and the hospitalities manager. We also have our Union Hired Positions (UHPs). They each get paid $500. There are also honoraria to exec. We have committee budget lines (mostly for snacks), various banking and bookkeeping fees, supplies, etc. Awards funding has been cut (Alex bought 6 cakes because she had too much money. So like, avoid cake wastage.) There have been some funds shifted around in relation to campus safety and campaigns, but it all makes sense. Added a budget line called “special projects” so that students can make stuff happen even if they’re not a ratified society. With all things considered, we should finish with a $96 surplus.

Okay, so Aidan is giving some info on the galley levy. I look really trashy at the mo because I put on fake nails but only had time to paint my left hand so my right hand is just white plastic nails. Alex Bryant moves that the Galley levy be renewed, to be evaluated at next year’s winter AGM. Essentially, this same motion happened last year. We’re working on getting the galley to a point where it can operate without the levy, but that is not the case yet. In the long run, hopefully the business will be independent.

OK, time to vote on the motion to renew the Galley levy! Not the whole budget. The motion passes!

Time for budget debate. Claire asks about the HM salary. Seems like not enough will be budgeted for that cost. Aidan says this amy not be the right space to discuss it, as the hiring committee has not finished consulting and hiring.

Anika says she supports exec changeover budget being cut, but wants this to hopefully return in future years. Exec are underpaid.

Gabriel asks why 2014-15 projected numbers were used instead of actuals. Aidan says that the actuals will be available in the fall.

Taylor asks how the events budget was split up. Aidan says $400 for the main budget and $200 for study snacks.

Jacob asks about study snacks. Aidan says that the study snacks budgeted for here are different than the study snacks the res reps run.

Joy asks why levies are increasing when enrolment is decreasing. Aidan explains it in a way that makes sense but that I don’t think I can explain. Ask her about it!

Caitlin asks why the campus safety coordinator budget has gone into the campaigns budget. Aidan says that $300 is not a lot, this allows EVP and CSC to work together more closely.

Gabe asks what happens to the surplus money. Aidan says anyone can motivate to move it somewhere else in the budget. She says we also have a contingency fund if needed in the future for bigger needs.

Taylor asks for the rationale behind the special projects line. Why is this here? Is it needed? Aidan says that this was wanted this year by a number of students who didn’t have another way of getting funding.

Anika clarifies Caitlin’s question about the Campus Safety line: it makes sense to have them combined for this year as the position is reimagined.

Taylor asks why the University charges so much for our internet and phone. Aidan says she’s never seen the contract but will look into this.

Jacob says that we need to look at the exec honoraria. He says in the future we should consider putting aside $1000 so that the summer honoraria can be payed to both the FVP and the SLVP. Aidan agrees. Money is tight, but our exec deserve to be paid fair wages.

We vote on the budget and IT PASSES!!!!!! EVERYONE GETS MONEY!!!!!!!

The count is called and we are found to be 4 under quorum. We are taking measures to reestablish quorum!

PLEASE COME IF YOU ARE NEARBY!!!!!!!!!

As we attempt to reestablish quorum, the chacha slide blasts from our speaker system.

9:48PM: WE HAVE REESTABLISHED QUORUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE’RE BACK UP!\

Sofia is reporting on Bylaw Revisions.

“Shall don’t mean shit” and other fun grammatical errors have been cleaned up. Also, residence reps have been renegotiated. Election policy has been updated. Sofia is always funny and cool. Environmental affairs committee has also been updated- members-at-large and detailed expectations. Memorandum of association created (idk legal stuff?) We get to see prepubescent Alex Bryant (you are missing a lot by not being at this meeting tbh). Campus safety coordinator and sustainability officer are now called “external ambassadors”

Anika asks if the changes to the environmental affairs committee will mean that we do not elect the members-at-large to the environmental affairs committee anymore. Haritha says yes.

Ali asks what exactly we are voting on. Sofia says the amendments to the bylaws.

Katy asks about the King’s residence leadership programme. How will the shift happen and what will the responsibilities be? Sofia says the residence leaders will have responsibilities like battle of the bays, etc. The res reps will communicate with council and help out, so the position has been divided.

Hannah asks for a point of personal privilege to get Alex’s creepy face off the screen

Jacob shouts out the rad work of the CRO and BRC.

VOTING TIME!!! It passes!

OK, so Taylor asks if we can adjourn and take the extra to council. Emma Morris and Jacob says the BRC and elections committee should really be elected here and now because they are committees of the union and are needed in September.

10:05PM Kyril calls the count. We have 51. Need 3 more. We have 10 minutes to reestablish quorum! WE CAN DO THIS PEOPLE! JUST 3 PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:16pm: BACK AND WE HAVE QUORUM AGAIN!

Electing the elections committee! They essentially make sure elections run smoothly and deal with rules being broken. Nominees are Jacob (worked on elections this year, can make posters), Emma Morris (was CRO last year and was awesome), Vicky Coo (would like to be get involved, is good at getting people involved), Kyril (Would like to be involved with the KSU), Thomas Goessart (was on elections committee this past year and really “stepped up to the plate”), Jessica MacIsaac (has student council experience and wants to be involved with the KSU), Ali Graham (she is super organized, organized the DASSS conference and is on south house board), Jake (was on elections committee, has experience). Voting time. We will elect 6 people and the 7th will be an alternate along with Kyril (if he is elected).

Elected: Ally, Vicky, Jacob, Emma, Jessica, Jake

Alternates: Kyril, Thomas

VOTING! It passes!

Okay! Next up Bylaw Review Committee! They do lots of cool, hard work on amending bylaws.

Nominees: Nick Harrison (Is new to KSu, but was an elections committee alternate. Excited!), Melina Zaccaria (was on BRC this year, good understanding of Bylaws, on council, knows lots, inot law and more), Curran McConnell (took legal writing course in high school and has some info in this area, going into math and csp, lots of policy ideas, committed to this school and community, bylaws allow us to work well in this community), Jacob (Was communications VP, chaired bylaw review committee, hugely familiar with this work, loves it, lots of history and background, wants to continue work the BRC did this year), Emma Morris (was CRO this past year, did lots of rewriting of elections policy, very interested in UHP policy and enjoys procedure), Gabriel Goodman (poli sci student at Dal, loves structure and rules, would be suited to small details, served on council first year and has background in this, wants to make union equitable, has enough time), Kyril (2nd year student, interested in campus life, good with grammar)

This is so hard omg so many qualified people and only 3 slots. Seriously wtf. Why are we all so cool. I want BRC to be gigantic to include all these peeps

Spaces field with Jacob, Emma, and Curran.

Voting time!

Gabriel asks if we can have alternates. Jacob says that elections is the only one with alternates. Everyone on BRCis allowed to be there even if they run for something. Can just elect people if one drops out. Kyril asks if we can have one alternate. Curran says we would need to add alternates to all then. Aidan moves to call the question. It passes. The vote happens immediately.

Main motion passes! GO BRC PEOPLE!

Alex Bryant motions to adjourn.

It passes!

LIVE BLOG: Council April 7th

This is our last in-person council of the year! NOOO *cries*

This is also a super special fun time council, occurring at 2pm.

2:06pm: We are getting going with some super fun and quirky agenda revisions. Essentially, we’re doing some things out of order and correcting some errors.

SO we’re starting with action items.

First up, the Wordsmiths want some money to purchase snacks for their AGM/publication party. Requesting $28. It passes! That was easy!

Next up, the CSP Society is requesting $124.20 to print their journal on some higher quality paper. (Side note: It’s very hard to type with fake nails on). Michelle is here to motivate. She says that the fancier paper will make it very nice, and they’re also a couple pages over what they expected. She says the journal has already gone to print. This would make them more durable. Aidan says we still have $5000 left in society funding. They don’t pay until April 10th. It passes! Party!

A travel bursary! This one is for Bethany Hindmarsh to go to the Canadian Philosophical Association meeting in Ottawa. Sarah Clift will also be there! Total cost of the trip will be $745.42, and she is requesting a $100 bursary. Aidan moves to amend it to $200, saying that we still have 5 travel bursaries. The amendment passes. The motion passes. MONEY.

Now voting on the Scribe Honorarium. It’s $250 and she is cool and deserves it. It passes! GO GWEN.

2:19: Haritha reminds us that we can go in camera if need be.

Next up, honorarium for Emma Kenny, the Campus Safety Coordinator, also $250. It passes!

Another $250 honorarium! This one for the sustainability officer. It passes!

Now the honorarium for Alex Rose and Joe Fish, who are our two CUBE coordinators. $125 each. They work super hard and are generally cool. It passes!

OK, so now we are electing a person to the campus safety coordinator search committee, as one person has left the committee. Ali (Ally?) is a 2nd year GWST student and is involved with south house and more, Bethany has worked with the don team, has been a frosh leader, and sounds extremely knowledgeable and capable. Vote! Bethany Hindmarsh is elected! Slam dunk!

 

2:27pm: oral reports and goals of councillors!

Hannah Yapphe is up now! She hosted an info sesh for first year science students, but it had low turn out. Trying to sort out the best way to communicate with FYP Science students.

Meagan Norland says the j-school students had a celebration, working on getting a master’s student from China, and is meeting with some students interested in the journalism rep position for next year.

Melina Zaccaria is reporting now. Academic committee went well, DASSS AGM happened, EMSP and CSP doing journals, and has enjoyed writing her report (which is 5 pages long).

Joy Shand is our funky fresh new DSS rep! She was just elected president of the DSS. She also has cool hair. Everyone is excited about the year and they just had their AGM. Welcome to council.

My report! Prepping for board meeting mostly!

Fiona is now reporting. She is now the communications VP for the DSS and is excited to strengthen that relationship.

 

2:35pm: EXEC REPORTS!

President Alex Bryant is up first. He calls out and names the misogyny we’re currently dealing with, and reminds all to take care of themselves. #fuckery. Presidential search committee has been meeting and has made a profile of an ideal president. He has also been working on the Senate Review Committee, which addresses the Dal/King’s relationship. The CTF continues to do nothing. At the upcoming board meeting we will be voting on lost of important things. Currently working on the hospitalities manager position. Grad week is also happening! The coordinators are rad (although there are only two this year)! Galley board still hasn’t met :””( Jacob Baker-Kretzmar asks why the task force would stop meeting, Alex says that they haven’t been doing what they need to and following the mandate. The task force is unfocused at the moment.

Now the other Alex, Alex McVittie, is reporting. She had to explain that ratification of societies must be done by students. Also met about the CUBE position and is getting some reports from societies. Wants to have a conversation about retention. Nervous about the general meeting. Awards night is in two days! Also cakes!

Aidan is up, reporting on $$$. She starts by calling out a ton of misogyny on dal campus- the instagram account and the graffiti. A statement was written on behalf of the union by her and also Sofia and some other folks. Also working on grad week! Finance committee is cool! Presidential search stuff happening as well. Vice-presidential review is also going on, working with Taylor on this. Budget Advisory committee keeps being postponed. Looks like a June budget will be released instead of an April one.

BUDGET TALK! Aidan has made a really cool sheet called “how to read the budget” #weareartsstudents. She has distinguished part-time and full-time students. Projected enrolment has dropped this year. Fees have sightly increased to account for inflation. Added a snack budget for councillors! The wardroom contingency fund has also been struck. Jacob asks about leftover money from this year. Aidan says we budget based only on enrolment projection because actuals are unknown and our bank account is “constantly in flux”.

Hannah Kaya’s EVP report is now, and although she isn’t here, Sofia is reading it out. Policy and Perogies meeting was cool! You can still sign postcards in the KSU office. The CFS-NS meeting is this weekend and a ton of KSU students are here. The South House AGM happened and is awesome. A lot of other things as well. Hannah is always working hecka hard.

Sofia Zaman is doing her communications report! General meeting! TWAK!

 

3:14pm Search Committee reports!

The Campus Safety Coordinator Search Committee will be here full-on later, but they essentially met once to talk about the role. Applications have been extended to tonight! Apply!

Sust Search! Matthew Green has been selected. He is goal oriented, wants to build strong community. We are waiting to vote on this until Aidan is done peeing. She’s back! Now we’re voting on hiring Matthew Green. It passes! Go Matthew!

Scribe search! They have selected Charlotte Sullivan as their recommendation for this year. She has been involved in the union and is a note-taker for FYP, has a good idea of what a scribe was, and is involved in the union. It passes! Holler. Charlotte is also one of my roommates and I can confirm she is rad af.

Kate Ashwood is being recommended for the CRO position. She has been involved with the union and is super committed to making voting accessible. It passes! Go Kate!

CUBE search committee! Alex Rose and Joe Fish are being recommended. We’re doing it in two separate motions, but I am lazy so THEY BOTH PASS! YAY SPORTS.

Orientation week coordinator search committee! This was hotly contested. Robin Brace, Meg Collins, and Allison Graham are being recommended. All sound hella rad. Voting time! It passes! FROSH

Chair search committee! There were two awesome applicants. They are recommending Gwendolyn Moncrieff-Gould. She has been our scribe for the last two years and has done it so so so well. She has lots of cool ideas and conflict resolution tips and more. Lots of experience in council. Voting time! It passes!

3:30pm: ADJOURNMENT!!!

LIVE BLOG: Policy, Panel, Perogies, and Postcards

Hey all! Zoë here bringing you another special edition live blog, this time from our Day of Action follow up/perogie eating party.

4:08 As I sit in the corner of the red room, a tray of perogies is before me. It beckons me. It calls to me. Shall I answer?

Stay tuned.

4:10 I have succumbed to the lure. Typing with one hand.

Hannah Kaya, our (so fresh and so clean clean) External VP, is starting off by welcoming us and summarizing the Day of Action and what it stood for. The systems in place at the government level do not reflect the needs of students, particularly racialized and marginalized students.

We at King’s are also struggling for open board meetings. We do not stand alone, though. We are standing with the Canadian Federation of Students, students int Quebec, David Wheler, and many more.

The CFS is made up of exec from across the country. Our chapter in Nova Scotia represents many post secondary institutions in the province. They work to make change wherever decision making affects students.

We have some amazing guests! Michaela Sam and David Etherington.

David is up first! He works for the CFS-NS. He clarifies that the CFS is just where we all come together and lobby for things together. There are provincial and national offices.

The CFS has three prongs: we build and research, we meet with the government, and we do direct action, such as the Day of Action. The only way to make change, sometimes, is by getting out on the street or signing petitions.

He is now going through the CFS-NS’s policy Face The Future. One of the taglines of the CFS “Education is a Right.” That is because education is LEGALLY a right! In 1976 Canada signed a document that said they would make education free and accessible. Canada both signed and ratified this. This has the same power as the laws that prevent us from using cluster bombs. However, we have not seen this. Some students in other countries have tried to take their governments to court, but that hasn’t worked out, so we work with research, advocacy, and action.

The CFS polled Nova Scotians and found that 85% think that tuition fees should be reduced. 1 in 3 said that someone in their family had not pursued post-secondary because it was too expensive. 60% supported increased government funding to universities. the same amount said they were willing to pay higher taxes.

We lose about 1200 young people each year to other provinces. The vast majority were concerned about this and felt it was related to post-secondary.

The CFS-NS has made 6 recommendations to the NS government:

  1. Hold open public consultation as part of the MOU negotiations. MOU is the Memorandum of Understanding, which determines the future of post-secondary.
  2. Convert all student loans to grants. In Nova Scotia we have a student assistance model based on loans and grants, which are only available to students from Nova Scotia. We have also found that the debt cap does not help marginalized students. The more student assistance programs you have, the harder it is to use. The CFS-NS recommends moving to a grants-only program. Newfoundland does this already! This may sound very expensive, but it’s actually okay. If we merge all student assistance programs and use only slightly more, this plan is possible.
  3. Reduce tuition fees to 2011 levels. Nova Scotia is 3rd highest and has found to be one of the most inaccessible and least diverse. Since 2001 there has been over a 1000% increase in the amount of students that go to Newfoundland and Labrador for post-secondary. Also, fees keep increasing! And that increase is not proportional to inflation. Many universities use ancillary and auxiliary fees to get around tuition caps. Fees for dentistry, medicine, and law have especially increased. 790% since 1990, compared to the average increase of 230% in other programs. This can also be looked at through the amount of hours you have to work- in 1975 you had to work 300 hours to pay tuition. Now you must work 600. The CFS recommends making a plan to eliminate tuition fees by 2026, regulated fees for all programs but particularly international students and medicine, dentistry, and law programs, and the reduction of tuition fees to 2011 levels. The higher international fees are, the more we rely on international students who will eventually stop coming.
  4. Increase university funding. We always hear the pushback from the government saying that there simply isn’t enough money. However, it would in fact be better for the economy to invest in growth. When you finish your education, you will be more efficient at finding jobs, be more environmentally friendly, and more. Nova Scotia’s debt, in terms of debt to GDP ratio, we are actually not ridiculous. It’s good for provinces to go into debt to fund programs. We are in fact making huge progress on our debt. It is well-managed and we can more than afford to borrow money to fund social programs. Now more than ever, universities are funded by tuition fees not by the government. The CFS-NS recommends restoring and increasing funding.
  5. Provide medical coverage to international students. International students must live in NS for 13 consecutive months to get medical coverage. This would only cost $50 000. Seriously. That’s not much.
  6. Lobby the federal government regarding fairness for aboriginal students in Canada. Funding increase on the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Support System was capped at 2%. AND YET, the aboriginal youth population is growing the fastest in the country. Also, tuition fees increase more than 2% a year.

We can shrink our debt even if we spend all this new money (there’s a really soothing line graph here.)

The CFS-NS is also starting to lobby for rights for student workers. Things like unpaid internships and differential pay are affecting our experiences as students.

YAY DAVID.

Next up, Michaela Sam, who is the chairperson of the CFS-NS, or past president of the KSU, and generally awesome.

She says that tuition fees have increased by 3% pretty much every year, and that she has had to work 3 jobs to stay in school here. Since 1990, tuition fees have increased by over 230% in this province. She spent her last few weeks as president of the KSU meeting with decision-makers. George Cooper, our president, told her that students were not experts on tuition fees. That is ridiculous. Michaela has both paid her fees and actively done union work for the past 4 years. She has attended board meetings, meetings with the government, and more.

We’re at an interesting spot right now because the King’s budget, provincial budget and more are about to come out. In times of decline, financial mismanagement, deficit, etc. our school will try to increase our fees. You would think that our university would call for the government to increase funding, but instead they continue to increase fees. King’s specifically is ludicrously inaccessible financially. High fees disproportionately affect racialized students, students with disabilities, aboriginal students, and other minoritized students.

Ultimately, our university has chosen to say that it is the students’ job to do this work. It is our admin that says we have to advocate for increased public funding, even though we are the ones that have to pay these fees. It falls to students to bear the brunt and to admin to maintain the status quo. George Cooper’s vision of accessibility looks like using other programs, not the ones we already have. Our liberal arts degrees here are valuable, despite stereotypes to the contrary. To George Cooper, small proposals are enough. But that is not right. We need to address the huge broken system. These small one-offs are not the way to fix this. We are advocating alongside small changes.

It makes sense to invest in post-secondary and in students who will be able to settle down and build the economy here. It would be amazing if the presidents of Nova Scotia universities stood with David Wheler. Newfoundland students had to work hard to get the position they are in.

Our students’ union is advocating for open board meetings, which is extremely important. Having open meetings allows us to engage in a conversation. When the KSU approves the budget, we do so with everyone in the union and all have a vote. While we have measures of accountability, for some reason it is okay for the BoG to have closed meetings that we do not have access to and may not see the minutes of for months. Why are board meetings closed? Collegiality. The definition of this we hear is having closed door discussions not accountable to anyone. The real definition of this should be having a discussion that is open to all. In Michaela’s first year, students were kicked off the budget advisory committee because they didn’t have the “moral authority” to be there. Our BoG should be accountable when deciding whether YOU are able to attend this school. Many students should graduate and yet cannot because of fee increases.

So where do we need to be? What do we need to do? Hannah will hand out some postcards that we can fill out. This is the first step. We are currently seeing cuts all over the place, which means we need to work for the institution we need to go to and that it is not being supported at the moment. The decision making has been to increase fees. We see what happens when students rise up in events like when Janette Vusich, Sarah Clift, and Laura Penny were not going to have their contracts renewed. We realized that these are amazing professors we are not working to protect. We launched a letter-writing campaign, and now they will remain for at least one more year. Many people think it was ridiculous of us to do this campaign, and yet it is ridiculous that those three professors were going to be cut. We are the experts and although it is hard to see and make change, we are continuing to make it.

We have seen change in this province and elsewhere. That is what can happen when we are united as a union. We are going to work together to see it continue.

 

Hannah takes the stage again! She hands out some super cool post cards, which we will sign and give back. They will be delivered to the board of governors.

QUESTION TIME!

Curran asks about the increase of tuition. Is it about 3.5% each year? John Hutton from the DSU jumps in and says that it goes in spikes.

Gabriel asks what we know about the future of government spending on education. DO we know how much tuition will go up this year? Is the MOU finished? Michaela says that it looks like we will not see increases in public funding. The tuition will continue to rise unless we can change the government’s minds. We continue to have conversations in all kinds of places. Make ourselves as educated as possible. David says that it looks like there may be a 3% increase again, or maybe more. This is work we can win.

An student whose name I do now know asks if the return on the funding includes students who leave the province after completing their undergrad. David says no. Reducing debt loads has been shown to increase the likelihood of economic growth. The Liberals do not trust their young people. We must trust them because they will give results.

Curran asks what the impact has ben on Newfoundland. David says that their retention rate has increased and it looks like their economy is picking up. Michaela says that we get to meet with students across the countries and she’s heard from students at Memorial that they sell Alexander Keith’s at the bar now because there are so many NS students there now.

David says we are having a provincial general meeting. We are always looking for input.

John Hutton reminds us about Free Poutine Free Tuition happening tonight! There will be bands and free poutine at the Dal Sexton campus. GO!

 

This was an awesome meeting, shoutout to Hannah, David and Michaela, as well as all the students who showed up. You are all great.

 

 

Statement on the Watch levy

Dear members,

This is a message to clarify some confusion regarding the relationship between the KSU and the Watch.

As the result of past referendums, the KSU collects levies on behalf of a number of independent student organizations including the Watch (other such organizations include CKDU, WUSC, NSPIRG, and South House). Different organizations have different rules and agreements that govern the release of those levies by the KSU. In the case of the Watch, a 2001 agreement between the Watch and the KSU dictates that most of the levy can only be released by a vote of a body called the Watch Publishing Board. The membership of this board is also established in this agreement. It is available online here, and any students interested in discussing this issue should feel free to stop by the KSU office.

According to the 2001 agreement, the voting membership of the Watch Publishing Board includes the Watch publisher, a KSU executive member chosen by the KSU executive, three students elected by the student body at a KSU general meeting, a faculty member, and a professional journalist. The faculty and professional journalist members are to be elected by the five student members each year – no such election has taken place so far this year. In addition, the chair of the KSU serves as the non-voting chair of the Watch Publishing Board.

As a result, only the five students listed above count as voting members of the Publishing Board. The 2001 agreement requires that at least five voting members be in attendance for a vote to count. The Watch’s own governing documents require that at least two thirds of voting members be present for it to count, meaning that at least four of the five voting members needed to be at a meeting for any vote to be official. As of January 15, 2015, no meeting with four or more of the current members of the Watch Publishing Board has taken place. The Watch and the KSU put these procedures in place together to ensure that we all act accountably with our members’ money.

We are committed to supporting a free and independent press on campus. In the past (including most recently in the fall of 2012) the KSU has loaned money to the Watch in order to ensure that it could meet its printing schedule when its own funds had run short. We want to work with the Watch to ensure that they can continue to publish and meet all of their financial obligations.

We are disappointed and confused as to why the Watch’s publisher and treasurer did not attempt to arrange a meeting with the KSU executive prior to contacting national media. It is also unfortunate that the Canadian University Press chose not to seek comment or clarification from the KSU prior to reporting on the levy. Had we been approached for comment or a meeting, this issue could have been quickly and easily resolved.

We hope to meet with the Watch as soon as possible to clear up any confusion.

In solidarity,

Michaela Sam
President, King’s Students’ Union

If you have any questions, please contact Michaela Sam at president@ksu.ca.