URSU Board Meeting: Sept. 20
The solitary item of new business on the most recent University of Regina Students’ Union board meeting agenda addressed the executive’s use of its Twitter accounts: @URSUExternal, @URSUStudent, @URSUFinance, and @URSUPresident. While the first two resolutions of Campion Co-director Jesse Leontowicz’s motion were just intended to assign the accounts to whoever is elected to their respective positions, the third resolution sought to clearly designate the accounts as “official accounts” for “professional communication and promotion.”
The tone of the executive’s official communication is no small bone of contention among board members – and you’ll be reading more about it before this column is done, hooray – so it’s unsurprising that the board would bring the executive’s Twitter accounts under scrutiny. And it’s hard to make an argument for URSU VP external Paige Kezima’s “Glad that @skgovcaucus can hand over $57 million to a research facility while we're homeless here in #yqr” as a piece of marketing-class-style “professional communication and promotion”, since it’s not open to networking and making connections and extending one’s brand or whatever.
But we have no way of knowing if that argument even took place, since the board went in camera and observers were politely hustled out of the room. However, we do know – courtesy of URSU president Kent Peterson’s Twitter account, no less – that the motion was ruled out of order. Insert your own hashtag joke here.
When the dust settled on the board’s August meeting and its lengthy furor over the planned changes to parking tickets, the assembled directors voted to mandate the executive to write a letter and take action.
But hey, remember how the board doesn’t like the executive’s tone in official communications? Guess what counts as an official communication!
Chief among women’s director Kaytlyn Barber’s concerns with the way the executive handled the parking campaign was the use of a quote from U of R president Vianne Timmons and an accompanying picture. The quote, in which Timmons claimed she had “never received an email from a student complaining about parking”, was from a July 19 U of R board of governors meeting. Barber wanted the executive to draft a letter offering to improve lines of communications between the students’ union and the administration – and to apologize for using her likeness and the quote.
Debate over this was fairly fierce, with those in favour of it arguing that the poster was “emotionally charged”, that the tone of the campaign “burned bridges”, and that the board should have been consulted, while those opposed – including board members – didn’t see consultation as necessary, and thought that the quote was fair ball. The executive seemed flummoxed; Kezima stressed repeatedly that the executive and the university’s administration were on good terms.
Several members of the board seem offended that they’re not being given the final go-ahead on everything that the executive puts out with the URSU name attached to it. Depending on your point of view, they may be in the right, but as it stands the executive isn’t really obligated to have its campaigns designed by committee. Given how long it took the board to decide on the general outline of a letter apologizing for the use of a publicly available image and a quote from an appointed official, that might actually be for the best.
Representatives from the Hill School of Business’s JDC West team made a presentation to the board; they’re asking for a $5,000 sponsorship for their 50-person team. The board will be voting on the sponsorship at the next meeting.
Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) Prairies organizer Alanna Makinson also made a presentation to the board, broadly outlining the organization’s goals and structure. The information in her presentation can be found at cfs-fcee.ca.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 4, 5:30 p.m., in the URSU boardroom.