Students’ Council has begun work on a policy in response to recommendations from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Native Studies councillor Nathan Sunday introduced the first readings of Bill 13 at Council on February 28 in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) calls to action. Council voted to defer the bill to bylaw committee for review before voting on adopting the policy.
“Many aboriginal students feel the Student’s Union doesn’t represent them,” Sunday said. “It is our fault as student councillors that we have let our constituents believe we don’t represent them.”
The bill outlines four first principles and a bylaw revision, which would establish a TRC implementation committee. Sunday developed the principles of the bill after consulting with indigenous students and reviewing the TRC’s call to action.
First principles included building a better relationship between indigenous students and the Students’ Union through accountability, and creating a committee that includes an executive member of the Aboriginal Student Council.
The tentative committee’s mandate that was proposed to Council writes as follows:[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]
The Truth and Reconciliation Implementation Committee will have the following mandate:
- Shall make recommendations to Students’ Council on the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action;
- Shall ensure adequate consultation is completed by Students’ Council in regards to Aboriginal students on Campus;
- Assist, after consultation, Students’ Council in identifying Aboriginal priorities;
- Develop strategies on the respectful implementation of Indigenous knowledges and teachings;
- Foster collaboration between the Students’ Council and Aboriginal communities;
- Review Students’ Council Standing Committees and report on their progress in implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and how, if they have, represented and consulted Aboriginal Students.
- Periodically review the Executive Committee of the Students’ Union in relation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the Truth and Reconciliation Political Policy.
- Facilitate, if necessary, cultural sensitivity training for Students’ Council.
Science councillor Umer Farooq passed a motion to send the bill to bylaw committee for review before it is voted on in council. Students’ Union President Fahim Rahman was one supporter of the motion.
“I really do support what councillor Sunday is doing with this motion right now, and I think the Student’s Union needs to do more to support our aboriginal students and communities,” Rahman said. “When I look at some of the details of the first principles, I would prefer to tinker with it.”