The resignation of Vice-President (VP) External Catherine Jeffrey was at the top of the agenda during the first Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) Council meeting of the year on Sept. 13. Council also discussed plans for upcoming speaker series and the possibility of organizing a celebration for the 25th anniversary of the AUS.
Resignation of the VP External
The AUS released a statement on Sept. 12 announcing Jeffrey’s resignation and identifying mental health, the workload AUS requires, and other conflicting academic and extracurricular activities as their reasons for departing. Following the resignations of former AUS VP Finance Deepak Punjabi and VP Internal elect Ashton Mathias last year, Jeffrey’s choice to resign is a continuation of a trend that is worrying to some.
“We've had unusually high executive turnover,” AUS President Erik Partridge said. “And when I say ‘unusually high,’ it's about 50 per cent higher than you'd expect for a two-year time period.”
The AUS council voted to hold a by-election to fill the role of VP External in early October. Council also decided not to hold an election for the position of VP Internal and instead voted to reappoint incumbent VP Internal Rebecca Scarra. Scarra was initially appointed to the position last winter after the resignation of then-VP Internal elect Ashton Mathias.
Executives give updates on potential speaker series
AUS VP Communications Maria Thomas announced that she is in the process of organizing a speaker series featuring influential public figures. Thomas’ primary goal is to secure the presence of McGill alumnus and current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, though she admits to having her work cut out for her in achieving this.
Thomas hopes to grab Trudeau’s attention via social media, using the hashtag “#TrudeauTakesMcGillPt2,” given the Prime Minister’s responsiveness on social media.
“I don't know the likelihood of [Trudeau] replying […] but I believe in us,” Thomas said. “We have 8,000 constituents and we can get this hashtag trending.”
Charitable Affairs Committee
AUS Council passed a motion to create a Charitable Affairs Committee, which will manage fundraisers for charities the Committee chooses. Thomas, who presented the motion, explained that she found inspiration from past AUS initiatives to help with the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
“A lot of [the idea for this committee] came out of Hurricane Irma,” Thomas said. “We were wondering if we could raise money for [the victims] […] Just by our equity bylaws, we want to create a positive impact on the world.”
AUS’ 25th anniversary
2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the AUS. VP Social Nathan Greene and VP Finance Noah Lew proposed the exploration of a celebration to commemorate the occasion.
Lew expressed his views that a celebration would be an appropriate way to commemorate this big milestone for the AUS, while bring Arts students together.
“This [is] not just a celebration, but also something to make our students proud of the AUS, to belong to [the Faculty of] Arts, and to have a big event we can all share and be proud of,” Lew said.
Department of English Association (DESA) representative Thomas MacDonald, (U3), raised concerns that prospective celebrations could be distracting from long-term projects with greater meaning for the student body as a whole.
Council held a straw poll unanimously expressing its interest in the idea. The celebration, which is still in early planning stages, would take place during the inter 2018 semester.