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Notes from Council: Members discuss creating neutral summary of 2024 SU elections

“I think that information is really important for council to fulfill [their] role as the ratifiers of the results,” Students' Council speaker says.

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

NOTE: While covering the 2024 Students’ Union general election, The Gateway did not publish an account of the February 13 and March 3 Students’ Council meetings. You can find a recap here:

On February 13, council appointed UASU President Christian Fotang and Prabnoor Singh to the Presidential Review Committee. Next, Karsten Mundel, vice-provost (learning initiatives), presented on the Syllabus Management Tool. On March 3, council approved the first principles of Bylaw 200: First Nations, Métis, Inuit Consultation and Engagement and Bylaw 210: Access to Information.

At the University of Alberta Students’ Union (UASU) Students’ Council meeting on March 23, council discussed developing a neutral summary of the 2024 SU elections prior to ratifying the results.

The meeting occurred at Augustana Campus. Speaker Christian Zukowski said that since 2023, council has been trying to engage with Augustana students in a meaningful way through informal sessions.

”I’m not sure if having the actual formal meeting at the Augustana Campus is something that people find incredibly engaging,” Zukowski added.

“This is my last year, so I’m passing on the reins. But [it’s] just something to consider. Never feel bound by the status quo. We can continue to refine how we engage with each other.”

Council discusses “neutral summary” of election cycle occurrences prior to ratifying results

During question period, Vice-president (academic) Pedro Almeida asked Zukowski and Jacob Verghese, the UASU’s chief returning officer (CRO), if there will be an opportunity to discuss the 2024 SU election at the next council meeting.

Almeida clarified this would provide a “summary of what happened for the record,” prior to councillors ratifying elections’ results.

Zukowksi said he is going to work with staff to acquire a “neutral summary of what’s occurred over the election cycle.”

”I think that information is really important for council to fulfill your role as the ratifiers of the results. There can certainly be a discussion,” he said.

However, Zukowski cautioned councillors that ratification strictly deals with validating elections’ results.

”If there’s broader concerns about the election, it’s probably better to bring those to Council Administration Committee (CAC).”

Verghese expressed that he is open to discussing the election cycle with council. He said his current job is “just to ratify the results and explain what happened.”

Council discusses access to public information related to the UASU, and the Augustana Campus Policy

Faculté Saint-Jean councillor Jillian Aisenstat motioned to approve the second principles of Bylaw 210: Access to Information. The bylaw proposes establishing a process to request for public information related to the UASU. In addition, it mentions creating an appeal process for decisions around these requests.

Almeida questioned why the Discipline, Interpretation, and Enforcement (DIE) Board is the appeal mechanism of the general manager, instead of other legislative bodies, such as Students’ Council.

Board of Governors (BoG) representative Stephen Raitz replied that “to appeal back to the person who made the decision is circuitous,” which is something he wants to avoid. In addition, he said that the DIE Board exists to interpret bylaws.

Council voted in favour of the motion, which passed unanimously.

Lastly, Augustana councillor Adrian Lam motioned to approve the second principles of the Augustana Campus Policy. The policy outlines resolutions for the UASU, relating to their commitment to “advocate for Augustana Campus through existing political policies.”

According to Lam, renewing the policy “has been a long time coming,” and was one of the reasons he joined Students’ Council.

The motion passed unanimously.

Aparajita Rahman

Aparajita Rahman is the 2023-24 Staff Reporter at The Gateway. She is in her second year, studying Psychology and English. She enjoys reading, and getting lost on transit.

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