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Notes from Council: New menstrual product dispensers in Van Vliet Centre, progress on the pass/fail grading system proposal

The meeting began with all attendees giving a brief introduction of themselves, before the executive committee shared their reports with the rest of council.

“Notes from Council” is The Gateway’s ongoing series of recaps of noteworthy items from Students’ Council meetings.


On October 5, the first in-person Students’ Council meeting of the semester was held. The meeting began with all attendees giving a brief introduction of themselves, before the executive committee shared their reports with the rest of council.

Talia Dixon, vice-president (student life), drew attention to two free menstrual product dispensers that have been added to campus. Located outside the two gender-inclusive washrooms in lower level Van Vliet Centre, these dispensers will provide free pads and tampons.

“We have installed the two new dispensers in Van Vliet [Centre] which is really exciting,” Dixon said. “Emily [Kimani, vice-president (operations and finance)] and I worked really hard for that, so we’re super happy about that happening.”

She voiced plans of bringing two more menstrual product dispensers to campus in the near future.

“We also have submitted a proposal to the office of the architect for two more dispensers [to be] put in other buildings on campus,” she said. “[The free menstrual product initiative] is going to be expanding bigger and bigger over the next couple of years.”

Kimani presented next, mentioning the mental health resource Empower Me is now included within the Students’ Union health and dental plan.

“Empower Me is now fully integrated into the Students’ Union health and dental plan, which is really exciting,” Kimani said. “It was first introduced last year, but we worked really hard to make sure that it was integrated fully into our plan with no extra costs to students, so that’s a win.”

Christian Fotang, vice-president (external), gave an overview of his work organizing the municipal Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign. He expressed gratitude to the candidates who attended the Edmonton Mayoral Forum and the Ward papastew Forum, along with the students who chose to tune in to the events.

Abner Monteiro, vice-president (academic), drew attention to consultation he and Rowan Ley, Students’ Union president, conducted with student associations regarding exceptional tuition increases. In his report, he mentioned getting together with the following associations:

  • Engineering Students’ Society
  • Law Students’ Association
  • Business Students’ Association
  • Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association
  • Radiation Therapy Students’ Association
  • Medical Lab Science Students’ Association

According to Monteiro, the meetings were an attempt to ensure consultation regarding exceptional tuition increases has been adequate.

“I’ve been meeting with multiple faculty associations — most notably President Ley and I have been talking with the faculty associations affected by exceptional tuition increases,” Monteiro said. “We have been talking about their proposals and how we can make necessary changes and make sure they call consultation is adequate.”

Last to present their report was Ley. He mentioned new developments on implementing an opt-in pass/fail grading system for course electives, a promise that was a primary point on Ley’s platform when running for the position of Students’ Union president.

According to Ley, the next steps for the pass/fail proposal is discussion at the Undergraduate Programs Committee and Dean’s Council. He described feedback on the proposal so far as “very positive.”

“We’ve got a very positive reception so far from everyone, which in a way presents a weird problem because we thought that this was going to be a lot harder than it actually has been so far,” Ley said. “Now we can do [extra] consultation, because we thought that we’d have to do a lot more work with administration and deans than we have actually ended up having to do.”

“This [pass/fail proposal is] looking very positive, and the reception has been very good so far.”

Areeha Mahal

Areeha Mahal is the 2021-22 News Editor and previously served as a Deputy Arts & Culture Editor and Deputy News Editor. Additionally, she is a second-year Biology and English student. When she’s not learning the Krebs cycle for the millionth time, Areeha enjoys stargazing, baking pies, and listening to Bob Dylan.

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