The Innis College Student Society (ICSS) held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday, yet was unable to hit quorum. With 31 members in attendance and 25 proxies, it was a considerable drop in attendance from last year’s 95 members. Because the obligatory 75 members was not met in order to hit quorum, no motions were able to be passed, including approving the previous meetings’ minutes. Some issues potentially arose from difficulties students had with the requisite proxy forms, including the due date for the forms falling in the middle of Reading Week, when the ICSS’ office was closed.
In the days leading up to the AGM, we approached the two students who proposed motions for this meeting. Sarah Chocano motioned to introduce a new position on the ICSS for the creation of an International Student Constituency Representative. We spoke to her about the position and she provided the following statement, edited slightly for clarity:
For the last couple of months, I have been working along with James Chapman, the Transition and Support Don at Innis Residence, to create the motion to create an International Student Constituency Representative on the ICSS.
International students make up about 30% of the student demographic at Innis College. This demographic has specific needs that are often forgotten by governing bodies and the administration. The creation of an International Student Constituency Representative is the first step to looking after international student needs. This position will advocate for international students in council and create events that are targeted towards this demographic. Moreover, creating this motion is an equitable practice that will increase the representation of a minority group.
Increasing the representation of international students will also inspire other students to get involved. When I first arrived at Innis, it was very hard to get involved because I thought that getting leadership positions was less likely for international students. Hearing that international students were not involved enough bothered me a lot. Our ‘lack’ of involvement is linked to the lack of representation, not to the fact that we are international students. How are we supposed to get involved when we don’t see other international peers in leadership positions? I believe that our motion will solve this problem and encourage international students to get connected with the college.
My goal at Innis is to establish an international student support system. I want them to feel like someone understands their experience and has their back. The motion to create an International Student Constituency Representative on the ICSS is our first step.
Ethan Kim proposed two motions, one “to introduce a maximum of $500.00 spend for Council Bonding purposes (sic)”, and the other “to remove the Presidential eligibility requirement”. You can find both here, and we will update with his comment soon.
As no motions were able to be discussed or voted on, the meeting became an information session on the ICSS and their budget, including a short rundown of upcoming events by the individual portfolios. The budget can be found here, though the one discussed at the meeting was more detailed, with full breakdowns by each individual cost. Vice-President, Finance Michael La Rosa stated that the full budget would be posted on their website in the coming days.
Within the various budgets for the 2017-2018 year were several fees that we thought were relevant to the student population at large. The Clubs and Merchandise portfolio’s budget includes $450 for new clubs, open to any Innis College student who wishes to begin a new club. They are also one of the few clubs that brings in revenue, with an estimated $1000 from selling merchandise at events.
The Graduate Representative portfolio is the second largest portfolio after actual expenses, and includes a fee of $200 for balloons, presumably for graduation celebrations. The largest portfolio is Social, which covers various events throughout the year, most notably Innis Formal, which is held early in the winter semester. The Social portfolio has been allotted $27,617 total for Formal, with a partial breakdown of $10,500 for an open bar, $11,000 for the venue, and $3,000 for contingency.
The Executive portfolio also comprised multiple relevant expenses. These included an annual audit fee, necessitated by University policy, and which is done by an external company in Mississauga. There is also a $750 stipend per Orientation Co-ordinator (OC) for the work they did as an OC for Orientation events throughout the summer and during the week itself. Also included in their budget is funding for campaign expenses of $20 per student. This budget is specifically for those running for positions on the ICSS who may, for example, wish to print posters or buy food for their campaigns. This is available to all Innis students running ICSS campaigns. Furthermore, a Student Initiative Fund is available, similar to that of Clubs and Merchandise’s New Club Fund. This Student Initiative Fund is for $1000 to go towards events around campus which Innis students wish to see or make happen.
In terms of fees specifically for the ICSS members, $2,040 goes towards council meetings, and $1,092 towards “Solidarity”. This fee is for the custom sweaters that members of the ICSS receive, which are also called solidarity sweaters, hence the name in the breakdown. The Executive portfolio also has a $10,121.59 excess, which potentially can go towards smaller portfolios which may require more funding or to other portfolios whose costs were underestimated. Finally, there is a $500 fee which is to go towards council bonding, which is to happen this Friday. This may be seen as controversial in light of the motion, put forward by Ethan Kim, to have a $500 maximum on spending for bonding events. However, it still falls within the proposed limits of the motion, and previous costs for council bonding have been in the range of $2000, which evidences the amount that bonding costs have been cut this year.
For students interested in becoming more involved, there will be a meeting for budget reopening in January, as well as a referendum at the end of the year, where the motions not passed at this meeting may be proposed again, as well as any new motions that students wish to propose.
Editor’s Note: The Innis Herald is fully funded by the ICSS, though we maintain full editorial autonomy. For purposes of disclosure, our own budget for 2017-2018 may be found here.