Protect ya neck
URSU board meetings may be dry, but they’re too important to ignore
Ah, reader. Faithful, probably totally hypothetical reader. Your correspondent remembers when he first started covering the University of Regina Students’ Union’s regular board meetings, all the way back in September of 2010. What an innocent time that was. He wasn’t even allowed a recording device in at the time, you know. Had to take notes by hand and all that.
How times change! The stodgy note-cobbled rundown didn’t really suit what we as a paper were going for this year, and so we ditched that format in favour of a column. This, we hoped, made the quotidian bullshit of the average URSU meeting a little more palatable and entertaining.
Mission accomplished? Probably not! While folks I know read the Carillon seem to dig the more informal style, I haven’t heard word one from someone I don’t know. Them’s the breaks, I guess. But covering student politics in this style, as it turns out, made the whole thing a lot less of a cortex-shredding ordeal for your correspondent, and so we kept it.
The thing is, student politics are often a bit boring, and a bit petty, and a bit frustrating and tiresome and all of those adjectives that you think of when you want to describe something that it is almost impossible to like but that you don’t actually hate. But URSU spends a lot of money and serves a valuable function – as outgoing president Kent Peterson pointed out during the April 3 board meeting, when U of R board of governors chair Paul McLellan had a chance to speak at that day’s announcement for $1 million in funding for childcare and housing at the U of R (which, woo, by the way), he first thanked the students’ union for all their hard work in advocating for student needs.
And so that’s why, even when you don’t agree with URSU – or, perhaps, especially when you don’t agree with them – it’s important to pay attention to them, and to find ways to make paying attention to them interesting. They can even be fun to watch, sometimes, either when the egos flare and people get pissy or when folks let their guards down and act like, you know, normal twentysomethings.
This is your correspondent’s last Minuteman column ever – and, in fact, the last thing he’s ever going to write for the Carillon. (There’s a couple pieces from me in the feature this issue, but I wrote them prior to this column, so.) And so, if there is someone out there who is a faithful and not hypothetical but in fact very real reader of this column, one who’ll be back and dealing with URSU in the fall, I’ve got one last thing I want to say before I start talking about the April 3 meeting, and that is: Pay attention to the things that happen, even the most boring things, which student politics can often be.
The boring bits are, sometimes, when the most stuff happens. So pay attention.
After all, someone has to.
The April 3 Meeting In (Very) Brief
A bunch of motions were tabled until this meeting from previous meetings. First up was a motion to hold a by-election for the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) board seat this fall. It passed, so I hope you are excited for some sexy, sexy by-election action in September. And for the CFS’ utility to probably come under debate again. Should be fun!
Speaking of the CFS, LGBTQ director-elect Barton Soroka was seeking approval and funding from URSU for attending the CFS meeting in May. Peterson and outgoing vice-president external affairs Paige Kezima clarified that URSU is still looking for applicants to attend that meeting on behalf of the U of R. If you’re interested, you too can apply! It’s the March 30 posting under “Media” on ursu.ca.
Several items got tabled until later in the month – the social media policy, for example – and others, like a motion for URSU to sponsor U of R theatre productions for one term in order to keep attendance free for students, were delayed until the next board takes over.
One item that did get voted on at this meeting, however, was related to the students’ union’s health and dental plan. The approximately 5,000 students paying premiums will see their premiums increase by up to $4.91 this September, though URSU will also be looking into using their $9,000 reserve with SunLife Financial, the insurance provider for StudentCare, to mitigate fee increases.
Heath Packman, the chief returning officer for the URSU elections, submitted his tentative report, as well. Not much juicy stuff in it, which depending on your attitude is either sad or happy news. For me, it is bittersweet. Packman suggests a number of changes to URSU’s elections bylaw: defining what is acceptable for campaign events; reviewing slates; clarifying whether cartoon characters can run for elected office; clarifying how board positions are elected – especially those elected by individual student associations – so that stuff like, presumably, the CFS board member clusterfuck from this term doesn’t repeat itself; and establishing a code of conduct for sitting members during elections.
Packman also revealed that, after elections were wrapped up, someone pointed out to him that three part-time students ran for senate. However, the university administration is, according to the report, “prepared to relax this condition, and has indicated they will be reviewing this provision and their bylaws.”
Is there anything else? Christ, probably. But these are the big things, and they’ll affect you next year. Hopefully you’re paying attention.