On Nov. 4, the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) Legislative Council held their bimonthly meeting, during which they approved questions for the Fall referendum and voted to support a proposed Fall reading week.
AUS Councillors were presented with three options for a referendum question pertaining to changes in the Vice-President (VP) Finance application procedure. A straw poll was held to determine which option would be presented to AUS members in the general vote. The options included a selection committee to screen candidates before they could run in a general election, a similar screening process with AUS Council making the decision of who was eligible to run, and hiring an outside bookkeeper to track expenses. The first option, a selection committee to screen candidates, was approved for referendum.
“Basically the idea here that we're trying to accomplish is to make sure that future [VPs Finance…] meet some sort of criteria,” AUS President Jacob Greenspon said. “Whether or not they meet that criteria will be determined by a two thirds vote of the screening committee [….] So what we’ve done in this [question] is actually allowed for the ability for council to have a say in what criteria […] they have to meet to be able to [run] in the general election and the membership of the committee as well.”
Council also approved a referendum question to amend the description of the Arts representatives to the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) position via referendum. If passed during the general vote, changes would be made to the constitutional outline of representatives’ responsibilities.
The changes would include Arts representatives in the executive council as non-voting members, increasing their contact and cooperation with AUS executives .It will also call for representatives to sit on more committees. The motion was first presented because current representatives felt the description of their position in the AUS Constitution did not properly reflect their actual duties.
“We came up with this recently [because] after being in this position for a few months, we noticed that in the constitution we are supposed to take a much more passive role rather than an active role, and we felt that certain [changes] needed to be made,” Arts Representative Lexi Michaud explained.
Also approved for referendum were questions regarding a renewal to the Arts Undergraduate Theater Society fee—a student group that stages a major theatrical production every year and the Arts Undergraduate Improvement Fund fee, which provides Arts-focued improvements to campus such as the Arts Lounge. A question regarding a change in the dates of the AUS fiscal year from June 1 through May 31 to May 1 through April 31 to better align with annual AUS activity and McGill’s fiscal calendar was also approved for the referendum.
Support of Fall reading week
Council was presented with a motion to endorse the creation of a Fall reading week, an idea that was first presented by student senators to the student body in a survey during the 2014-2015 school year, with the intention of reducing stress levels among students. While a proposal based on the survey results was first presented to the McGill Enrolment and Student Affairs Advisory Committee this Fall, there has been little progress towards implementing the change, which was projected to take effect by the 2017-2018 school year.
“What we're seeing right now is some pushback from faculty members who I think are having a little bit of trouble I think conceptualizing [ the break…] and there are some things that we need to work out which I think are minor,” Arts Senator Erin Sobat said. “Right now, we're just looking for a little further endorsement from students to help push this along.”
The motion to endorse was approved by Council.