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Catching up with council

Hello, Ramz! (Photo by Amin Helal)
DSU President Ramz Aziz (Photo by Amin Helal)

Last year, Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) President Sagar Jha dropped his one and only class. This was problematic because the DSU constitution states the president must be a Dal student. Though last year’s DSU ombudsperson and current president, Ramz Aziz, attempted to fill in for Jha, the DSU councillors rejected his proposal.

Jha’s non-student status caused an uproar amongst students and councillors, but the council meetings were focused on other issues at the time, namely the DSU’s membership within two advocacy groups: Students Nova Scotia (SNS) and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA).

Full-time Dal students pay $70 and part-time students $37.60 to the DSU, and in turn, become DSU members. These student fees generated $1,973,900 in 2012. Of this, $134,000 went to SNS and CASA.

For comparison, allocation fees toward on-campus services, such as CKDU, Dal OUT and the Gazette, used up $991,601. Yet last year’s member-at-large and current VP (academic and external), Jacqueline Skiptunis, said most students are unaware of SNS and CASA.

Both advocacy groups presented their achievements and objectives to the DSU before a membership vote. SNS explained how they created a debt cap for students and introduced provincial graduate scholarships. CASA emphasized that the federal government’s standing committee of finance invited only them and one other student group to present on student financial issues.

Council voted on March 12 to rejoin CASA and SNS, about a month after it voted to leave them.

“I think that we gave the opportunity to students to really speak through their councillors,” Elizabeth Croteau, last year’s Sexton campus director, said after the meeting.

“I’m really excited we had close to every single member of council vote at this meeting and I’m glad that the margin is very clear and that there’s a definitive mandate going forward.”

But last year’s VP (academic and internal) and current member-at-large, Aaron Beale, didn’t agree with Croteau.

“I am disappointed council chose to rush this again,” he said since the vote. “I have big concerns about investing students’ money in a large organization moving towards its own demise.”

But a council meeting on April 9 overturned everything. Council decided to leave CASA again, and President Jha resigned.

*The DSU meets on the first and last Wednesday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m. Everyone is welcome, so feel free to attend. The meetings tend to stay within this time frame and include a short recess where there may be free pizza and doughnuts. You may experience the excitement from home by tuning in to the Gazette’s live Twitter coverage.*

With files from Kristie Smith and Sima Sahar Zerehi




Sabina Wex
Sabina Wex
Sabina is the Gazette's Managing Editor. Email Sabina at managing@dalgazette.com.

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