DSU Council Recap – Sept 26
We cover the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) council meetings live on Twitter at @DalGazette. All council meetings are open to the public, and take place every second Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Building (SUB).
The Short Version
-Statement made on Dal’s search for a new president
-No Bottled Water Pledge signed; bottled water on campus gone by 2015
-New member at large (Ryan Hartigan) and board representative (Ibrahim Merdan) appointed to council
-Changes to the structure of council and elections process to be discussed at AGM
-Municipal debates next week: October 1-2 and 7-9 p.m. in the SUB
The Long Version
The council meeting began with the appointment of a number of council positions: a member at large, a board of governors representative, and facilities and operations reps.
There were four nominations for the board of governors representative, three of whom were transfer students: Tommy Lieu, Ibrahim Merdan and Niki Kaur and non-transfer student J.D. Hutton. Council was eager to ensure that the nominees knew they would not be serving as student advocates on the board. The council voted to appoint Merdan, an Egyptian transfer student studying commerce, to the position.
Similarly, there were four nominations for the member at large position: Jad Sinno, a first-year student; Andrew Swift, president of the Dal Arts and Social Sciences Society; Rabin Neupane, a grad student studying material engineering; and Ryan Hartigan, a neuroscience student. The council elected Hartigan to the position.
Finally, the council looked to appoint a facilities and operations rep, who would report to the president and coordinate with Dal facilities on the 11 construction projects currently underway on campus. There were only two nominees, and council appointed both—one, Andrew Swift, is responsible for the Studley campus and the other, sitting council member Elizabeth Croteau, will be responsible for projects on the Sexton campus.
After the appointments (which took up the majority of the meeting), the council approved a statement of Dal’s search for a new president. Former president of the DSU Chris Saulnier is still the undergraduate representative on the presidential search committee. Although Tom Traves isn’t set to retire until next summer, there is already a long-list of potential candidates to replace him (filling a 3’ binder).
The executive presented a statement to council for approval—focusing on values, there was no mention of specific qualifications the DSU hopes to see in the next president in the statement.
Despite the relative vacuity of the statement, a sentence regarding the ‘Maple Spring’ in Quebec was contentious; one councilor said it was “too overtly political.” The council amended the statement to read: “In Quebec, students have taken a stand to affirm the need for universities to be treated as a public good and not an investment.” The original sentence read: “In Quebec, the student of ‘the Maple Spring’ took a bold stand to reaffirm the need for universities to be treated as a public good rather than an individual investment.”
The council approved a pledge to eliminate bottled water on campus. Despite having been approved by both Dal president Traves and DSU president Jamie Arron, Dal will not be done with bottled water until 2015, when a new beverage contract is negotiated. There were concerns voiced over the lack of water fountains, and the potential for pop being the only readily available substitute.
Finally, Jamie Arron announced that new proposals to improve the structure of council and the election process would be debated at the union’s annual general meeting.