Motions regarding CINSSU, equity training and executive experience requirements all pass
The Innis College Student Society (ICSS) held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on November 21and for the first time was able to hit quorum (95 members). The new proxy system and lower quorum implemented in the referendum last year allowed the membership to pass motions at the AGM with greater ease. Throughout the three–hour meeting, council and constituency members discussed motions ranging from a CINSSU investigation, ICSS executive experience requirements and equity-training logistics.
The meeting began with ICSS President Brianne Katz-Griffin outlining the work of the ICSS thus far. Katz-Griffin highlighted the implementation of lockers in the College building, the transition from a successful orientation week to the school year, and the upcoming partnership with the Innis College Council (ICC) to renovate the College lobby—a long awaited project that is to be finished in 2017.
Following an overview of the ICSS budget by Vice-President, Finance, Troy Peschke, IRC President Joel Colby put forward the first motion. It outlined the removal of a required one-year experience period on the ICSS before running for the position of President, Executive Vice-President or Vice-President, Finance. Colby outlined that competency is not exclusively measured by ICSS experience and that sitting on committees elsewhere on campus could be sufficient preparation for an executive position. He also highlighted the exclusionary environment this rule fosters. In past elections, for example, it was often predictable which candidates would be running for these executive positions. Ultimately, he hoped to put the judge of competency back into the hands of the electorate as opposed to the constitution.
After much discussion and two amendments to the original motion, it was decided by the membership to remove the experience requirement for the Executive Vice-President and Vice-President, Finance roles, while leaving it in place for the President. The discussion focused on ensuring at least one executive member had experience on this particular council and would have the knowledge to solve transitional or structural problems that arose. The amended motion passed with an overwhelming majority.
The second motion, put forward by Innis Herald Managing Editor and former ICSS President Khrystyna Zhuk, questioned the funding set out for the Cinema Studies Student Union. Currently, CINSSU receives nearly $5000 from the ICSS along with additional funding from the University of Toronto Students’ Union and the Arts and Science Students’ Union. Zhuk questioned if backing by the ICSS continues to be necessity when considering these other sources of funding. Zhuk highlighted that only a small portion of Innis students have been enrolled in the Cinema Studies program in recent years and the department has recently become autonomous from Innis College, calling into question this budget obligation. Zhuk put forward that the ICSS should conduct a thorough investigation of the CINSSU budget and operations, research the 2016/17 statistics of Innis students enrolled in the Cinema Studies program and ultimately compile a report of their findings and present it at a town hall for Innis students. The motion passed unanimously with little discussion.
Troy Peschke proposed motion three requesting the Vice-President, Internal as an additional signing authority on the ICSS bank account—currently only the President, Vice-President, Finance and the Executive Vice-President hold this ability. Khrystyna Zhuk and Joel Colby presented some pushback in the discussion, raising concerns of unnecessary access to finances. Zhuk cited the security issues present with another member being given access to both cheques and the safe, while Colby mentioned U of T’s general suggestion of having three signing authorities—making a fourth an excessive addition. Ultimately the motion failed, as it was unable to reach the three-fifths majority required for constitutional amendments.
The final three motions put forward by Equity and Outreach Directors Ashlee Redmond and Kristen Rachuk all passed unanimously with little discussion or opposition. The first and final motions cited the deadline of equity training being too early and not accommodating the bi-election held at the beginning of the academic year. An amended version of both motions moved the deadlines to October 15.
The second requested an Equity and Outreach sub-committee be struck at the Directors’ discretion as opposed to being mandatory. In the past, the committee was relatively unnecessary and would now be created only if there were to be sufficient interest.
Finally, a very simple motion sought to remove the mandatory completion of the University Server Training Program from the constitution, as the program is not longer in existence. The move to run an AGM with a more useful purpose this year resulted in a great success for the Council. With the ability to pass motions at the beginning of the year, the ICSS is able to achieve a more transparent and effective term, making them better at serving their constituency by attending to their concerns.
Image courtesy of Innis College