The TCSA held their first Board Meeting of the academic year on Sunday September 18th. There was a notable absence of College representatives, save for Traill College Cabinet President, Krista Kartick and Otonabee College Cabinet President, Meghan Kemp.
Business at hand included the approval of the Strategic Plan for the TCSA. Association President, Zoe Litow-Daye, briefly explained the rationale behind the plan but few major details were discussed and it was adopted unanimously.
Following the strategic plan, Board Resource Manager, Wendy Walker, went through committee appointments for both university and internal committees. The Executive review committee was left empty when no one from the Board offered to serve on it. Effectively this means that there is no internal committee whose job it is to review the performance of Executives.
Levy Memorandum of Understanding:
The TCSA, alongside the Levy Council, are also in the midst of clarifying policies around the pay-out of levy fees. A draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was presented to the Board outlining the role of the university and student governments including the Trent Graduate Students’ Association (TGSA) and the Trent Durham Student Association (TDSA) in overseeing the collection and distribution of levy fees. The MOU is currently being reviewed by a lawyer.
The draft MOU clarifies that the university is responsible for the collection of levy fees from levy groups and applying increases in line with the CPI. The representative student government is then in charge of running referenda. The MOU also grants the university formal powers to withhold levy funds from student groups who do not provide financial reports and clarifies the means by which groups can collect previously collected fees.
There was no discussion on the MOU, which is unsurprising given that the TCSA was absent from a recent meeting of the Levy Council during which these policies were being reviewed.
The nomination period for Fall By-Elections opened on September 6th and will close on September 30th. There are currently eight unfilled positions on the Board that the Association hopes to fill:
A minor point was brought forward concerning whether or not sitting Executives were able to sign the nomination forms for those wishing to stand for a Board position. VP Health and Wellness, Holly Naraine mentioned that they had been told by previous Board Members that they should not be signing nomination forms but was unclear. Litow-Daye stated that she had already signed a number of nomination forms and thus it was clarified that Executives are able to sign nomination forms, but may not openly endorse candidates using social media or otherwise.
A review of the Association By-Laws shows that no formal policy was broken by Litow-Daye, but that the optics of an Executive nominating someone for Commissioner could be misconstrued.
The issue of transit made for a lengthy discussion. There is a growing concern about the inaccessibility, unreliability, and lack of communication from Peterborough Transit. Litow-Daye noted that the workers of Peterborough Transit who are members of ATU 1320, are currently on a work-to-rule campaign and proposed perhaps the Association plan a protest and/or release a statement.
The audience and target for these remained unclear until International Student Commissioner, Wacera Muriuki, noted that they need to ensure that the TCSA are not blaming or victimizing the bus drivers and workers, or tacitly encouraging students to. Indeed, several Board Members noted that their discussions with frontline transit staff had suggested some drivers were experiencing undue blame for the systems failings.
Concern was expressed by several Board Members surrounding the idea of holding a protest downtown due to the ongoing “freedom” protests occurring in the area. The discussion was eventually ended by the Chair, Robert Monico, and a committee was struck, led by Litow-Daye, to examine the Association’s next steps.
The remainder of the meeting was a closed session and only non-Executive Board Members were invited to stay. Following the closed session the meeting was adjourned just after 3:00pm.
Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend TCSA Board meetings. A schedule of upcoming meetings can be found on the TCSA website.
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