The Arts Undergraduate Society held their first council meeting of the school year on Wednesday in the Senate Room, Leacock 232. Representatives from the various clubs and departmental organizations, many of them newly elected, met with the new AUS council to vote on issues including the amendment of AUS electoral bylaws and the replacement of the VP Academic and Arts representative to SSMU. The meeting was chaired by Speaker of the Council Miranda Gobran.
A motion to amend AUS election bylaws was passed without opposition. The proposal included changes in terminology due to the use of online voting, as the previous wording was considered to be no longer “relevant.” It also allows campaigning until the very end of the election period rather than requiring candidates to take down posters and websites a few hours before elections close.
Motions passed approving the recent hires to AUS, the Equity Committee, and the Fine Arts Committee. Council also approved the Chief Returning Officer.
AUS has spent this summer without a VP Academic, following the unexpected resignation of Colleen Morawetz in June. On Tuesday’s meeting, sponsorship coordinator James Chan presented his case to be appointed interim VP Academic. Chan was questioned by the council and department heads about his experience, his motives in applying for the position, and his opinions on issues such as the proposed Leacock restructuring and reduced library hours. There was also discussion about appointing an interim Arts representative to SSMU, for which the elected representative resigned due to a required course conflicting with Council meetings.
After some discussion and debate, the council voted to not elect an interim member to either position and to continue splitting the responsibilities of the position until after an election. The nomination period for the two positions will begin on September 16th and the election is to be completed by October 8th.
Each of the AUS executives presented reports that clarified the mandate of each position and informed the newly elected representatives. AUS President Justin Fletcher began by discussing the impact of voluntary retirements on student resources. According to Fletcher, 250 administrative employees have taken the voluntary retirement package offered by the University as a cost-cutting measure . As a result, most libraries are expected to limit the days they offer twenty-four hour service. The AUS therefore plans to promote the Ferrier computer labs as an alternative for all day studying.
Fletcher also mentioned that the hiring of Amy Johnson as the first executive assistant to the AUS has largely been a success. “The AUS can focus more on governance and less on administration,” noted Fletcher. Johnson’s hiring was meant to instill a sense of continuity in a council with annually changing executives, as well as to help manage administrative tasks.
Frosh was discussed in many of the executive reports including those of VP Communications Lucy Ava Liu and VP Finance Samuel Higgs. Paul Laughlin, VP Events, told the council that this year’s frosh registered 1,379 participants. “[The AUS] has yet to receive a single piece of negative feedback regarding frosh,” Laughlin proudly added.
This year’s Frosh saw many changes, with increased attention paid to sensitivity and inclusivity. Of note, many popular chants such as “McGill Once, McGill Twice” and “I’d Rather Be a Redman” were banned during the celebrations following complaints from the Montreal community.