Marianopolis Student Union Congress
2019-2020 Academic Year
Day: March 13, 2020
Time of Start: 4:15 PM
|Facilitator: Aria Khiabani
Meeting Type: Weekly
Notetaker and timekeeper: Zhenling Wang
|List of attendees (Congress members): Aria Khiabani, Amanda Morrone, Michael Chalkhoun, Cherry Sun, Zhaoran Wu, Laurence Liang, Steven Gong, Ying Chen, Ying Ge, Darya Jabbari, Misha Fotovati, Andrew Petrecca-Berthelet
List of attendees (guests): Alicia Shen, Zexi Li, Tejeshwar Singh, Shuzhao Feng, Rachel Tang, Michael Zhang, Maria-Vera Azadian, Mandana Fadaei, Mahmuda Sekendra Mahin, Herrinah Zhang, Emily Zhang, Daniel Yu, Albert Jarnea, Sherry Yang, Emanuel Curto, Katalina Toth, Hyerin Kim
Student Services Representative: Trudy Ste-Croix
- Call to Order
The Regular Weekly Marianopolis Student Union (MSU) Congress Meeting of March 13, 2020, was convened at 4:15 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, Michael Chalkhoun, Cherry Sun, Zhaoran Wu, Laurence Liang, Steven Gong, Ying Chen, Ying Ge, Darya Jabbari, Misha Fotovati, Andrew Petrecca-Berthelet
- Guests presented by Aria Khiabani
The guests who are present at this meeting are: Alicia Shen, a representative from the Marianopolis World Review, Trudy Ste-Croix, the Student Services Representative, and Zexi Li, Tejeshwar Singh, Shuzhao Feng, Rachel Tang, Michael Zhang, Maria-Vera Azadian, Mandana Fadaei, Mahmuda Sekendra Mahin, Herrinah Zhang, Emily Zhang, Daniel Yu, Albert Jarnea, Sherry Yang, Emanuel Curto, Katalina Toth, and Hyerin Kim, prospective candidates for Congress 2020-2021.
- Approval of last meeting’s Minutes
The Minutes of the Regular Weekly MSU Congress Meeting of March 13, 2020, was written by Zhenling Wang. These Minutes were approved by Aria Khiabani on the 13th day of March 2020.
- Approval of the Agenda
The Agenda of this day’s meeting has been unanimously approved.
- Unfinished Business and General Orders
- New Business
- Student Concerns: Corona Virus presented by Misha
A lot of things need to be addressed and discussed before the administration decides to close the school. Congress has been working very hard to gather information in order to raise awareness among the student population.
In contrast, although not closing school on Friday, Dawson students have received an official statement and were shown the thought process of the administration and were acknowledged that their opinions have been taken into account. The lack of communication and relaying of information seen in the case with Marianopolis administration and its students caused students’ dissatisfaction and sense of being ignored, seen also previously in the snowstorm school closure. The administration has isolated students in their own fear, anger and unawareness of the situation, which is a problem that must be dealt with by the administration themselves and Congress might not be able to help much.
After communicating with the administration, Aria ensured Congress that the administration indeed took certain precautions. Refraining from closing school on Friday was simply respecting the government’s instructions. The Director General and the Dean have been working continuously to develop a well-considered plan.
However the administration still needs to make sure that the communication taken is efficient. Congress will consider adding related clauses to the Memorandum of Agreement, requiring the administration to be accountable for its students and for communication to be done swiftly, directly, and efficiently in order to form a back-and-forth relationship. Misha and Aria will work on this later.
Regardless of the administration’s actions, Congress needs to take the step to increase communication on its own side and update students as closely as possible.
The statement on Facebook by Aria Khiabani last night contained information relayed from the ministry to the school administration, then to Aria, who had to personally make a decision on what can and needed to be shared with the student body. Congress should not be responsible for determining how much information obtained from the administration is to be relayed to the student body. To avoid future confusion, it is preferable that the information comes directly from the administration. Nonetheless, Congress is willing to act as a messenger if required by the administration.
Congress agrees that more precautions need to be taken by the school while closely following the government’s instructions.
Congress proposes to have a meeting with the administration to inform them of students’ reaction regarding the current situation, communication, and the way the problem was dealt with. A Facebook post will be made following the meeting to update students on the current situation.
Congress needs to further discuss a generalized solution or process when meeting with similar situations in the future.
Aria informed Congress that the administration is definitely willing to hear students’ opinions and concerns and are aware of students’ comments, including those under the official Facebook post announcing school’s opening on Friday. The post was deleted due to the rising amount of comments full of offensive and vulgar language. Thus they decided to communicate through the school’s website and Omnivox. The school claimed that they did not silence students’ voices, but they failed to acknowledge students of this fact in their Omnivox statements. The school should format their statements in a more personal and kinder way. Students also need to be reminded to express their opinions using appropriate and respectful language at all times.
Regarding the many Facebook posts made by students about Marianopolis remaining open on Friday, MSU students are free to express themselves no matter the situation, but posts with false information and inappropriate language were not tolerated and were therefore requested to be taken down.
To assure students that Congress has been continuously working alongside the administration, Congress will make a Facebook post reporting details of its work.
The Congress Plan of Action from this point onward will be discussed and drafted over the weekend. Students will be updated on the results as soon as finished.
A live Congress Q&A session or a press conference was proposed in order to alleviate students’ panic and stress by answering questions, preferably with members of the administration present as well. Congress will need to prepare for potential questions and gather as much valid information as possible. Student guests also expressed their wish to receive more scientific information related to COVID-19 provided to students as part of the measures being taken.
For now Congress has decided to recommend all students to consult their own teachers regarding their evaluations and assignment deadlines. Some teachers unprofessionally spread false information and fueled students’ reactions.
Congress also recommends the administration to post official information on Omnivox or on the website in a Q&A format. The administration will also be informed of the repercussions of the Facebook post in order for them to evaluate use of certain social media as a communication platform in the future.
Many students emailed student services thinking it was managed by the administration. Trudy has forwarded all received ones to the Dean and DG.
Trudy will forward some of the points discussed above to the administration.
- Omnivox averages presented by Michael
The issue of posting grade averages on Omnivox was brought up in the Congress group chat last week.
Congress members provided insights on both sides: some rely on the average to keep themselves on the right track, while some claim that the average has indirectly affected their mental health. During midterm season, many students approached Congress members about their unhealthy mental state they’re in due to the toxic environment about grades and admission. With the class average inevitably displayed on Omnivox, students are not viewing it at their own discretion instead having it being imposed on them.
It will be hard to satisfy everyone’s needs. With the establishment of a consistent standard, the policy might still seem somehow imposing for some.
The student body should be consulted first before finalizing the policy. A Omnivox survey can be made with 3 options, always displaying class average, not displaying class average, and choosing to check a box on Omnivox to see the average. The survey can go up within the next 2 or 3 weeks. The features of Omnivox are usually purchased in advance by the college; the feature of accessing the class average by clicking on an extra button might not be available. As an alternative, teachers can also send the class average to students who had wished to see it in the form of comments.
Regardless of the final policy, averages should be available upon request.
Congress will further discuss the exact quorum to be reached for an option to pass. Students’ opinions will be collected through the survey and the final decision will be for the administration to make.
Trudy suggests Congress to consult Penelope, Dean of Student Success before publishing the survey.
- Shave to Save presented by Cherry
Cherry is planning a Shave to Save event on April 9th, which is on passover. All funds raised will go towards Quebec breast cancer foundation in solitary for people who have breast cancer. Cherry aims for the mood of the event to be emotional and also invite people to share their experience of being affected by the disease. Students are welcome to wear pink clothes to receive free cotton candy on that day. Cotton candy will otherwise be charged for people who don’t wear pink.
- Safe Purchase presented by Amanda
After research, Amanda has found a safe model on Amazon. It is charged $540, about half the size of the current one and has a 1-year warranty. Amanda will look for safes with longer warranties.
Congress will vote on the purchase after reviewing the item. Amanda will send the link to the group chat.
- COAC Boat Party Committee presented by Laurence
COAC is currently discussing budgets each student union is able to contribute.
Vanier would like to form a COAC boat party committee. First meeting will be held on Mar. 24th. Amanda and Andrew volunteer to sit on the committee.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, the state of the COAC boat party and even the MSU end-of-year party are still in question.
Some logistical questions also remain, for example boat parties are required to end before midnight.
- Compost Committee by Laurence
Both Darya and Laurence are in touch with Concordia compost initiative. The Marianopolis green team is in contact with them as well.
The website containing compost information has been shared by Concordia and Dawson.
- Job Fair by Laurence
Job fair has been tentatively booked for Thursday, April 16th, from 5-7 pm. The event was approved by student services but now remains in question due to the COVID-19 situation. Laurence will mark it on the team calendar.
- Cultural Week by Zhaoran
Unfortunately the cultural week has been canceled due to school closure. However, Zhaoran would still like to give out free maple syrup on snow another time.
- Congress applications presented by Ying G.
Affected by the COVID-19 situation, this year’s Congress applications will be slightly modified. Ying proposes 3 options:
- Same application deadline, no nomination form
- Same deadline, delay nomination form (Friday week coming back)
- Friday week coming back for deadline and nomination form
Given the complex situation of COVID-19, Congress has decided to keep the application process simple and discard nomination forms for now.
Ying will create a sign-up form for the coordinator debate in order to monitor the number of attendees under 250.
Congress will discuss the End of Year General Assembly and la CEVES referendum in the next meeting.
Motion to adjourn – Passed (unanimously)
This meeting was adjourned at 6:00 P.M.
Total duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes