The Arts Undergraduate Society of McGill University (AUS) held a Council meeting on Oct. 7, and discussed its budget, amendments to the climate change proposal brought forth by the Students' Society of McGill University (SSMU), and updates on SNAX’s Memorandum of Agreement (MoA).
AUS Vice-President (VP) Finance, Mirza Ali Shakir, presented the AUS income statement from the past year, and presented the 2015-2016 AUS budget and an overview of student fees for notice to council.
"The income statement […] actually highlights how much we spent, how much we get in revenues, how student fees are standard from year to year,” said Shakir. “program revenues in 2014 were $16,000 more than in 2013 because of a more expensive Frosh 2014. At the same time AUS program( expenses were significantly greater in 2014 than 2013
Shakir introduced his findings, which included an increase in revenues, a surplus of $6,000 in a projected profit from this year's Frosh, and a deficit paid off by the AUS Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) savings account. The deficit was a result of expenses from last year, including Frosh, Bar des Arts (BdA), and salaries of persons employed by the AUS.
"We still have to pay [off] some expenses from last year, so if you total that up, we have a deficit of around $65,000, which was paid off by the GIC," said Ali Shakir. "So now we now have $190,000 left in GIC savings."
Further questions on the budget will be addressed in another presentation at the next council meeting on Oct. 21. Voting on the budget will also take place at the next meeting.
"We're trying a new process this year," AUS President Jacob Greenspon said. "Usually we have the budget come to council sometime before November [….] What we’re trying this year is presenting the budget and the audited financial statements for notice at this council, and then [at the next meeting] we’re going to take any questions on both the budget and […] what may be more difficult to understand from a financial literacy point of view."
Proposed amendments to SSMU climate change policy
"We've received some feedback that it was controversial for a few reasons." said Adam Templer, Arts Representative to SSMU. "I've been holding meetings with Engineering reps, Science reps, Arts-Sci reps, and the Law rep [of SSMU]. We’re reviewing the motion, looking at amendments that need to be made, [and] a few things we feel could be clarified."
Among these amendments are to define the term "false science,” clarify Article 5.1, which addresses the SSMU's business partnerships with companies, and remove the term "capitalism."
"Capitalism was removed from Article 1.2 because some of the feedback we received from […] our own constituents was that they felt it did not belong in there,” Templer said. “Because our own constituents suggested that they had issues with this amendment […] it's something that we're looking at removing."
Changes to Article 5.1 include adding the sentence “by companies who do not research methods of reducing emissions from fossil fuels” to its original text.
Formerly, Article 5.1 read, “The SSMU will actively oppose and collaborate with other organizations to advocate against the development of all fossil fuel extraction or distribution projects that are not in line with the keeping 80 per cent of fossil fuel reserves in the ground and/or those that are being conducted without the free, prior, and informed consent of the indigenous communities whose lands they affect.”
The amendments in the document presented to council are not the final draft of the motion, which will be finalized Sunday, Oct. 11.
Greenspon stated that McGill delayed responding to the most recent proposal by the SNAX MoA working group, which is currently in the process of negotiating terms with McGill to allow SNAX to sell sandwiches.
"The MoA offer was that If McGill considered the price of a SNAX product to be too low, they would have the ability to force SNAX to raise the price for that product to a 'fair market price' that is a certain amount lower than the average of competitors’ prices for that product," Greenspon said. " We said we couldn't do the price control system. AUS is a non profit corporation, if we have artificially high prices […] we are by definition running a profit."
Other stipulations given to the SNAX MoA working group regarding the potential future sale of sandwiches were inspections of the kiosk, a new point of sale system, and adherence to university-wide contracts.
"Why they probably postponed is just because we sent them something that they weren't expecting," Greenspon said. "They were probably expecting us to acquiesce to their demands, which we didn't."