Marianopolis Student Union Congress
2019-2020 Academic Year
|Location: Marianopolis College, on the traditional unceded Indigenous lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka/Mohawk Nation
Day: September 13, 2019
Time of Start: 4:16PM
|Facilitator: Aria Khiabani
Meeting type: Weekly
Note taker and timekeeper: Zhenling Wang
|List of attendees (Congress members): Aria Khiabani, Andrew Petrecca-Berthelet, Ying Ge, Ying Chen, Amanda Morrone, Michael Chalkhoun, Darya Jabbari, Cherry Sun, Zhaoran Wu, Zhenling Wang, Laurence Liang, Steven Gong, Misha Fotovati
List of attendees (guests): Alicia Shen
Student Services Representative: Trudy Ste-Croix
- Call to Order
The Regular Weekly Marianopolis Student Union (MSU) Congress Meeting of September 12, 2019, was convened at 4:16PM by President Aria Khiabani.
- Roll Call of Members
The MSU Congress Members who are present at this meeting are: Aria Khiabani, Andrew Petrecca-Berthelet, Ying Ge, Ying Chen, Amanda Morrone, Michael Chalkhoun, Darya Jabbari, Cherry Sun, Zhaoran Wu, Zhenling Wang, Laurence Liang, Steven Gong, Misha Fotovati
- Guests presented by Aria Khiabani
The guests who are present at this meeting are: Alicia Shen, a representative from the Marianopolis World Review, and Trudy Ste-Croix, the Student Services Representative.
- Approval of last meeting’s Minutes
The Minutes of the Regular Weekly MSU Congress Meeting of September 6th, 2019 were written by Ying Chen. These Minutes were approved by Aria Khiabani on the 13th of September, 2019.
- Approval of the Agenda
The Agenda of this day’s meeting has been unanimously approved.
- Unfinished Business and General Orders
- New Business
- Congress Photoshoot presented by Ying C.
Ying C. and Philip, the initially suggested photographers are not available next Friday. It was hard to find a time during the week when everybody is available. Aria proposes the options of finding a photographer either on or off campus and that the first year Congress members deserve to have their official photos taken and posted on the MSU website as soon as possible. Darya suggests her cousin to take pictures for free. Ying G. also volunteered to take pictures. Another date will be determined during the retreat or in the MSU Congress messenger chat.
- Rules of Procedure for Meetings presented by Aria
Aria welcomes the first year members to join the Congress family. General rules of procedure of Congress meetings are explained. There will always be a member of the Marianopolis World Review present at the meeting to report the discussion of the meetings. Trudy, the Student Services Representative, will always be present as well.
Two voting systems are used: blind votes(in which case Trudy will count the votes) and open votes. Each member has the choice of voting for, against, and/or abstaining. All Congress members are on the Facebook group and group chat and have access to the Congress google drive and calendar.
- Congress Room Rules presented by Aria
Aria briefly explains the rules of sharing the Congress Office, which is meant to be a collaborative group space. The windows will soon be frosted for privacy. We also plan on cleaning the room and organizing the items in the room soon. Chess club has deposited their equipment and will come by to pick up their chess box at the beginning of every AP. The computer in the Congress room doesn’t work but the mouse does. There’s a MSU mailbox (made by Neil’s dad) set up in the hallway for suggestions or mails to Congress. For security reasons, we should either get a combination lock or a lock paired up with two keys (one to be kept by Trudy and one to be kept in the Congress room).
- Update on Climate Strike presented by Darya
Many students want to go to the climate strike on September 27th. Darya talked to Louise and reported that the school would want to support but is not sure. A vote will be held at the General Assembly to consult the student population, if we are going to hold a referendum regarding whether or not to have a day off on September 27th. Therefore it is important to advertise and reinforce to the students that if they vote for the climate strike, they must attend the strike. Teachers will also hold a referendum among themselves. The teachers union claims that they will support whatever the students are in favour of. Many teachers have already officially canceled their classes that day to show support of the climate strike. However, we came to the conclusion that the school closing as a whole will send a stronger message to the government regarding this issue. Trudy suggests an alternative of doing a survey on Omnivox since the auditorium can only fit in 540 people which won’t be enough to represent the entire student population. We may consult students at the GA whether or not to have a referendum.
- Gender Neutral/All Gender Bathroom presented by Aria
In the new space for students (basement under the library), there will be a gender neutral bathroom. Director of Physical Resources has reached out to Congress to see what symbol we want for the bathroom. A sign that simply implies “bathroom” is agreed upon as some people don’t identify as either female of male. The new space will be opening up soon, probably by the time it gets cold.
- Congress Endorsement of the Strike Petition presented by Aria
Kalliope and Edward, two MSU students have created a petition to shut down Marianopolis on the day of the global climate strike (September 27th)that has been circulating. They’ve asked if Congress wants to endorse it as administrators of the MSU Facebook group. Some Congress members think endorsement should be carried out only if the students have spoken their minds as Congress represents the student body, preferably after the referendum. On the other hand, some think Congress should be able to make its own endorsement since Congress members are trusted with our judgements ever since the moment all members got elected/appointed. We should definitely advertise the major points of the GA and the referendum by making a post on the MSU Facebook group. We came to the conclusion that as long as the awareness is spread we don’t need an endorsement to show our support. No consequences should be imposed on students who signed the petition but their names will be exposed when the petition gets presented in front of the administration. Personal endorsements from Congress members of the climate strike are allowed as long as they aren’t affiliated with Congress. The Teachers’ Union is currently waiting for students’ response too. Laurence, the coordinator of external affairs suggests to reach out to other cegeps in the future to see if they would like to participate in something (regarding the climate strike) more organized. We think it may be a good idea to promote the GA, climate strike and Congress through videos explaining the situation. This will be filmed at the retreat or during next week. Misha suggests that we build a more concrete framework of petitioning.
Congress motioned to vote on having a vote at referendum on Omnivox after GA
- Introduction to MSU Finances presented by Amanda M.
Amanda M., the vice president of finances introduce the finances of Congress to first year members. Congress is in charge of all club finance as well as Congress finance. No clubs hold individual bank accounts; they always bring it back to the MSU. Students are asked to pay a Congress fee of $20 per semester per student, which in total will be used for club grants( which are granted from Congress upon applied request). Over the course of the weekend, we need to work on a Congress budget and see if there’s any projects requiring finance. Some personal purchases may be inevitably made for Congress. To receive reimbursement, a form and a valid receipt are needed. Aria and Amanda hold the bank card and can sign. Steven can see all transactions but cannot sign.
- MOOSE Camp presented by Aria
MOOSE Camp is an annual event where students are invited to sleep over on campus (both indoor and outdoor sleeping are offered) and meet new friends or simply hang out with their friends. A pre-released movie, BBQ, games, board games, breakfast and many other activities are offered. We will also have a little campfire. Both 1st and 2nd years are welcomed to join with a 10 dollar fee, which is to pay for meals, security and extra cleaning. However, the entrance fees students paid are usually insufficient to cover the overall costs. Congress usually pays for part of the expense. A movie license is needed to play pre-released movies on campus and therefore we should renew our movie license for this year. Cherry supports the idea of movie nights where some of the funds go to charities. Once we purchase the movie license, Congress should promote to clubs that we have a movie license to make the best use of our resources.
- Academic Council Representatives presented by Aria
The Academic Council is a committee in which the Academic Dean discusses program reviews and the IPESA with student representatives. The council will meet once every two weeks during AP. Congress members sitting on these committees will be representing the student population. It will be composed of 3 students, where one is from the science program, one is from the social science program and one is from other programs. Misha and Zhaoran are both interested to represent the science program students. A final candidate will be indicated during the retreat. Aria will represent the social science students and Michael will represent the “other” program students. There are 2 other committees: the Anti-harrassment Education Committee, and Sexual Violence Committee. It is suggested that being part of the Sexual Violence Committee should be added to the Coordinator of Social Justice’s mandate. Cherry and Darya will be on the Sexual Violence Committee. Aria and Andrew will be on the Anti-harassment Education Committee.
- Constitutional review presented by Michael
All second year members have submitted their suggestions of change of the Constitution. Its changes will be discussed during the retreat. First year members are encouraged to review the Constitution and make essential changes as well. In presence of any suggestions, please inform Michael as soon as possible.
- Congress approachability presented by Michael
Congress is here to help students with their problems when capable and if not, redirect people to whoever they need.
- Mandates, confidentiality, and hierarchy presented by Michael
On the MSU Congress, everyone has different mandates but all are welcomed to bring ideas and contribute as a team effort. Helping each other is welcomed but if you’re going to intervene in someone else’s business, inform them in advance.
Michael has received many complaints from students regarding school issues. When a student chooses to talk to or report something to a Congress member, confidentiality is expected. However, as part of Congress, we are not expected to take all the burden on ourselves. There are professional counsellors on campus.
Finally, there is no such thing as hierarchy from second year members to first year members. We are all equal in our position. Each of us has the right to 1 out of the 13 votes in total. Everybody has their important mandate and if not Congress will fall apart.
- Speaking on behalf of Congress presented by Michael
All Congress members must reach agreement with the other members before they make any actions on behalf of Congress. Congress members are not specially treated but will be regarded with a higher expectation as they may be seen as role models. From an administrative standpoint, all staff will know they are a part of Congress. Student input is always welcomed and valued at Marianopolis. Make sure to differentiate a personal opinion from an opinion on behalf of Congress.
- Amanda needs a new mouse presented by Michael
Congress members have been pitching in a lot of their own things for Congress to use. While it is not an obligation, it is encouraged, especially if it is something they do not use that may benefit someone else.
- Federal vote presented by Darya
Federal elections are taking place soon. In the past few years there have been booths at Marianopolis for students who are of legal age to vote at school. However they’re not doing it anymore this year. Marianopolis is being used as a polling station for the Westmount riding (only people from Westmount can vote here). If students don’t have time to vote from 6-8pm in their home district, there is an early voting which will take place 2-3 weeks before the official time to vote.
Motion to adjourn – Passed (unanimous)
This meeting was adjourned at 5:56 PM.
Total duration: 1 hour and 40 minutes