Marianopolis Student Union Congress
2019-2020 Academic Year
Day: April 17, 2020
Time of Start: 4:20 PM
|Facilitator: Aria Khiabani
Meeting type: Weekly
Note taker and timekeeper: Zhenling Wang
|List of attendees (Congress members): Aria Khiabani, Amanda Morrone, Cherry Sun, Zhaoran Wu, Laurence Liang, Ying Chen, Ying Ge, Misha Fotovati, Darya Jabbari, Zhenling Wang, Steven Gong, Michael Chalkhoun
Regrets: Andrew Petrecca-Berthelet
List of attendees (guests): Sarah Malik
Student Services Representative: Trudy Ste-Croix
- Call to Order
The Regular Weekly Marianopolis Student Union (MSU) Congress Meeting of April 17, 2020, was convened at 4:20 P.M. by President Aria Khiabani.
- Roll Call of Members
The MSU Congress Members who are present at this meeting are: Aria Khiabani, Amanda Morrone, Cherry Sun, Zhaoran Wu, Laurence Liang, Ying Chen, Ying Ge, Misha Fotovati, Darya Jabbari, Zhenling Wang, Steven Gong, Michael Chalkhoun
- Guests presented by Aria Khiabani
The guests who are present at this meeting are: Sarah Malik, 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 April 10, 2020 were written by Zhenling Wang. These Minutes were approved by Aria Khiabani on the 17th day of April, 2020.
- Approval of the Agenda
The Agenda of this day’s meeting has been unanimously approved.
- Unfinished Business and General Orders
- New Business
- Canada Emergency Business Account presented by Ying G.
The Government of Canada has launched the Canada Emergency Business Account to provide qualifying businesses with an interest-free, government-backed loan of $40,000 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a nonprofit organization with a yearly expense of $50,000 to one million dollars, MSU is eligible to apply for this loan with no strings attached. Ying has proposed for MSU to apply for this loan, which will allow the savings account to accumulate approximately $500 more than the current annual interest before paying it back by December 1st, 2022. Ying adds that there may be a bonus reward of $10,000 if the loan was paid back on time.
Congress is concerned about the repercussions of this loan. The 2019-2020 Congress can make sure to relay the message to future Congress, but it may add an extra burden to the future VPF. Moreover, due to the large amount of carryover that has been accumulated over the years, MSU might not benefit from this loan as much compared to other businesses that are more in need of instant financial relief.
Congress will continue exploring other features to securely deposit its funds while generating interests. The VPF will consult MSU’s accountant and banker on the feasibility of this proposal.
- Virtual Pet Therapy presented by Ying G.
Ying proposes to create a virtual pet therapy, similar to the physical pet therapy held with Buddy, where a gallery of cute pet pictures and videos is compiled from students’ submissions. The therapy can be in the form of a post where people comment with pictures and videos.
Congress is also considering incorporating this into an online challenge. In order to ensure inclusiveness, students can also post pictures of their favorite stuffed animals as an alternative to pets, as Adam has designed the “dress your pet up” challenge.
- Job Fair PM presented by Laurence
The MSU Job Fair and Outreach Session took place successfully yesterday evening. All 12 employers that were invited were present.
Laurence has collected some student questions through Google form and created some questions on the spot as well.
He experienced some audio feedback issues in the beginning when screen-sharing on his computer. He suggests future virtual events to take place on Google Meet with MSU’s GSuite accounts, which is different from Google Hangouts.
The attendance was unfortunately lower than expected, which may be due to the conflicted timing with Election Week. Students are overwhelmed with information online and are harder to target given the current situation.
Congress is considering using its Facebook page as the main platform to post and keep track of Congress-sponsored events. Congress will also collaborate with Student Services and invite them to advertise its events during its Tuesday Touch-base sessions.
Laurence will post information discussed during the Job Fair on the MSU Facebook group.
- Quarantine Challenges update presented by Misha
Students have shown a strong interest in participating in the quarantine challenges and are actively following MSU’s new Instagram account.
The next challenge will be called “Livin’ it up”, where students participate by posting pictures of their creative online calls.
Misha suggests to advertise the gift card rewards and includes participation rules on the digital poster. Ying will work on upgrading the account to a business account.
Congress members will continue brainstorming for intercollegiate Instagram challenges.
- Meeting with administration update presented by Aria & Ying G.
Aria and Ying’s meeting notes with the administration will be sent to the Congress Facebook group. Some of the key points of the discussion include:
- Final exams are confirmed to take place, which will be arranged to be as spread out as possible.
- Repercussions for course drop remain. The only difference now is that students will not need documented proof to drop their courses. Courses will be shown as incomplete.
- The administration is aware of students’ struggles in self-teaching and is constantly reminding teachers to give detailed instructions, who are also in the process of adapting.
- The Coordinator of Student Advocacy has received many complaints. Students are always welcome to reach out to the MSU Congress regarding any concerns, questions, or complaints. However, the administration strongly recommends students to file academic complaints following the original procedure, where they should first express their concerns to their teachers, department chairs, then the Academic Dean.
- College certificates are in the process of finalizing a new standard of completion and moving forward.
- Colleges are working with universities to finalize a new evaluation of the 2020 Winter R-score.
- Summer school will take place either on-campus or not.
- Marianopolis is very unlikely to adopt a pass-fail system as the Ministry of education does not encourage it.
To address point B in Varia, the Coordinator of Student Advocacy reports that some students would like to remain anonymous while filing complaints about being uncomfortable with having their teachers assessing their situations. Michael assures that he is willing to contact the corresponding person for them; however, the process will be much more serious and effective if students were able to respect the existing procedure and take a proactive approach themselves.
The administration put out a survey on Omnivox yesterday to gather student feedback on the college’s response to the current situation.
The President and VP will meet with the administration every week to answer student concerns and questions collected through the Google form. An update with all new information will be posted on Facebook before the next meeting. The link for the question collection Google form will be pinned in the Facebook group.
- MariFilms competition collab presented by Michael
Michael is working with MariFilms’ club executive, Philip Yin, on the video competition.
- Thinking through Instagram presented by Michael
Congress will establish rules of usage of its Instagram account as one of its dominant social media platforms. Congress will readdress this point in future meetings and finalize the logistics of the account. Its rules will also be added to the MSU Constitution and Bylaws.
Congress’ posts will mainly consist of Congress-sponsored events; Congress can repost clubs’ stories to promote their events instead of making separate posts.
The idea of inviting students to take over the account’s story feature is proposed and will be rediscussed.
- Revisit meeting time presented by Aria
Congress members have agreed to maintain the current meeting time.
- Survey pm presented by Michael
The survey regarding midterms and academic complaint procedures received 140 responses. Michael will put it up again soon in order to obtain 200 responses.
Some of the results obtained from the survey include:
- A significant number of students report comfortable with contacting their teachers through MIO.
- 19% of the participants report that their teachers answer MIOs within 2 days.
- The majority of participants are not aware of how to contact their department chairs or Dean of Student Success.
- Many participants report that they have had multiple midterms in one week and even multiple in one day.
- The majority of participants prefer to arrange their midterms more spread out.
- Many participants are involved in multiple clubs and use AP for extracurriculars a lot.
- Nearly 50% of the participants report that they had to wait more than 2 weeks for counselor appointments.
Michael will look for a way to present the gathered data to the administration. Congress will not publish the results of the survey but will make a post assuring students that their concerns have been forwarded to the administration.
Misha will be responsible for making an infographic with instructions on how to reach the Department Chairs and Dean of Student Success. However, Congress believes that information will be most effectively communicated through Omnivox and from the administration.
The Student Advocacy Committee will work on a cheat sheet of the updated IPESA as soon as possible.
Counselors are waiting for a proper platform, which should ensure the security and safety of both counselors and students, to be set up prior to resuming their services. In the meantime, students always have access to free services on the Major Plan mobile app and can also MIO the counselors if necessary.
Amanda will drop off the safe at school with a note on it.
Congress will work on establishing every Saturday night to be MSU’s movie night.
- Student complaints update presented by Michael
This point has been previously addressed.
Motion to adjourn – Passed (unanimously)
This meeting was adjourned at 5:30 P.M.
Total duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes