On September 7, the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA) held its first meeting of the 2014/2015 school year in Gzowski College’s First People’s House of Learning.
The first order of business at the square table was discussing the newly-elected speaker, whose job it is to keep meetings organized and on track.
This year’s speaker will be Perl Quesada-Marder. She was chosen because she has a “fresh look” of campus, as she has never before been affiliated with the TCSA.
First up was Queer Students Commissioner James Abbott who proposed a committee called the ‘Executive Review Committee’. This was passed and created by the board.
This committee will conduct a mid-year review of the TCSA executive.
Next, and with a flourish, they were on to one of the main topics of the meeting; one that I’m sure all the upper year students are aware of; one that has captured the hearts and minds of many. That topic is…(drum roll please)… the proposed student centre!
In brief, the student centre is a proposal brought forward by the TCSA and the administration that would see the construction of a building to be used for studying or just hanging out and talking with friends.
In the spring of 2013, a $95.01 levy was passed by the TCSA membership for the construction of this building.
Apparently there has been a lot happening with regards to this building, and it was brought up many times during this meeting.
According to the TCSA, Trent University is worried that Trent undergrads could vote to discontinue the student centre levy, which would leave the university with a huge mortgage it wouldn’t be able to do anything about.
The long and the short of it is Trent has proposed a very long and complicatedly worded document to say that the TCSA members can’t back out of the levy until the building is paid for.
Continuing with the student centre, another minor problem (that is not so minor) is with the bank.
The bank that the TCSA is supposed to be taking a multi million-dollar loan from is not as organized as President Freer would like.
The bank forgot about a meeting it had scheduled with Freer, which led to a very awkward exchange and an angry letter addressed by Freer himself. The TCSA stated that if any better offers appear they will take them.
Moving away from the student centre to the other business of the meeting, the board approved the renewal of the union’s annual film screening contract.
The contract, which is with the Criterion film distribution company, will start in October and run until next October and stipulates that with the $1400 price any club at Trent University can screen movies such as Harry Potter and not get sued.
However, the contract does not include Disney, thus meaning that clubs will not be able to screen classic Disney films. This led to some sadness from board members, however president Braden Freer explained that if a club would like to watch one of the world’s beloved Disney movies they would just have to find a Disney provider and justice would be restored.
Wrapping up the meeting, each member of the executive gave their progress report.
There was a very long section where the President talked about the miscommunication from previous years as being a reason for wanting to create this Executive Review Committee.
The president then talked about the Glow Party that happened September 5. Over 500 people showed up and Freer was impressed about how many people came just to have a good time and not to drink. Way to go Trent!
Another approval made at the meeting was to create the terminology of ‘elections committee’ in order to encompass many different terms that all mean the same thing. The board passed it.
Once Mr. Freer finished, next up was the VP of Campaigns and Equity, Boykin Smith.
This summer, Smith was very busy looking into different campaigns to get Trent students involved both worldwide and within the local Trent community.
The first campaign Smith discussed was the Dirty Hands project, which is an initiative to raise awareness about companies drilling for oil in Ecuador and polluting its environment.
For this campaign, the TCSA is going to put up a banner with black handprints that symbolize the oil in Ecuador.
Another initiative that has been going on for a while now at Trent is the Safe, Sexy, and Consensual campaign, which encompasses other smaller campaigns like Consent is Sexy and No Means No. A very long update was given about giving first year students packages with condoms.
The next thing Smith talked about was student debt.
According to the TCSA, Trent’s administration does not want its enrollment to get any bigger. However, this negatively affects the university because the government funds post secondary schools based on enrollment numbers.
Since Trent doesn’t want to get bigger, the TCSA will ask the university to co-write a letter to the government, asking if tuition can be frozen.
Another thing Smith talked about was the Student Activist Assembly, which is happening September 20 from 10 am to 6 pm. The SAA (as it is now referred as) is a conference tailored for Trent’s clubs and groups. The Keynote speaker will be Asaf Zohar and registration for this free event is going on now.
The last thing Smith talked about was the #BleedGreen campaign. According to him this won’t be just one campaign. #BleedGreen is actually the umbrella for all of the environmental campaigns run by the union. This includes both the Raw Deal Campaign and Dirty Hand Project.
The last executive to speak was the VP for University and College Affairs, Mayra Asmar. She asked for her ten sick days to be moved from summer to before winter break, but that wasn’t all she said.
She also gave an update on the union’s annual Clubs and Groups Day. As of September 7, there were 90 groups and clubs signed up for the event, meaning there were only ten spots left.
So that was the first TCSA meeting of the year. It was a 3 hour meeting that encompassed a lot.
If you want to learn more about the meeting, or if you just skipped down to the end here, please feel free to try and find the agenda on the TCSA website.
The next TCSA meeting is on Sept 21.
[This article was edited Sept 17 to correct mistakes in the original version.]