AUS discusses support for prospective students affected by the U.S. travel ban

On Feb. 8, the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) Legislative Council passed four motions, which pertained to student jobs, reforming the McGill Psychology Students’ Association constitution, screening potential Vice-President (VP) Finance candidates, and support for prospective students affected by the U.S. travel ban.

Motion to Amend Arts Student Employment Fund (ASEF) By-Laws

ASEF subsidizes academically-based or relevant occupation job experience for Arts undergraduate students. The Legislative Council voted to pass the Motion to Amend ASEF By-Laws, which was moved by VP Academic Erik Partridge and VP Finance Deepak Punjabi. The motion proposes that grant money used to fund research conducted by new professors goes instead towards students in ASEF positions who are not covered by the AUS Work Study Program.

Partridge expressed that this motion is in the best interest of students.

“I brought this to [the Jan. 11 Legislative Council] meeting to ensure that students get their money’s worth out of [ASEF],” Partridge said. “This [motion] has been brought to the Faculty’s attention over the past months. We have not seen an official sign-off.”

ASEF operates differently from the McGill Work Study Program in that the AUS does not require students to be full-time in order to be eligible for ASEF. Instead, only nine credits are required for a student to be considered full time by the AUS.

Motion to Approve VP Finance Screening Committee

As a result of 2014 financial errors previously costing tens of thousands of dollars, the Legislative Council approved the creation of a VP Finance Screening Committee. The committee will screen VP Finance candidates in order to ensure that the elected executive is qualified.

According to Punjabi, the committee will consist of six voting and two non-voting members. Screening questions will be split into three categories: Experience, Accounting and Finance, and Summer Availability.

“As you know, with the constitutional changes made last year, there will be a screening committee that meets with each [VP Finance] candidate,” Punjabi said. “The structure of the questions will be the same [as in 2016].”

Punjabi, SNAX Manager Eilis McCann, Research Finance Administrator Cynthia Romynak, Finance Management Committee Representative Mia Trana, International Development Studies Students Association VP Finance Kashif Ahmed, and Political Science Students Association VP Finance Mitch Clark will all act as voting members on the committee.

Motion to Support Students Affected by the U.S. Travel Ban

Implemented in an executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump, the travel ban temporarily prevented immigrants from seven largely Islamic countries entry to the U.S.. On Feb. 9, federal judge James Robart stayed the order, but during the meeting the day before the Legislative Council voted to pass the Motion submitted by the Society of Linguistics Undergraduates at McGill (SLUM) and Partridge, which supports students affected by the US travel ban.

According to SLUM VP External Jacob Shermer,  the motion show AUS’s support in extending the application deadline and waive the application fee.

“I think it is important that AUS takes a stand on this because there are students who are affected by this,” Shermer said.

Responses may be unnecessary, however, as on Feb. 9 the U.S. federal appeals court refused to lift a suspension placed on the travel ban, preventing it from staying in effect for the time-being.

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