Marianopolis Student Union Congress
2020-2021 Academic Year
15th Official Meeting
|Location: Google Meets|
Day: Friday, October 9, 2020
Time of Start: 4:17 PM
|Facilitator: Laurence Liang|
Meeting type: Weekly
Note taker and timekeeper: Thomas Khairy
|List of attendees (Congress members): Tristan Boucher, Maria-Vera Azadian, Pratham Mehta, Allison Engo, Thomas Khairy, Yu Zheng Lu, Anne Lin Arghirescu, Laurence Liang.|
Regrets: Mahmuda (Mau) Sekendra Mahin (late), Yena Lee (late), Zhaoran Wu (late), Misha Fotovati, Emanuel Cosimo Curto
List of attendees (guests): Bhromor Rahman
Student Services Representative: Ms. Trudy St-Croix
- Call to Order
The Regular Weekly Marianopolis Student Union (MSU) Congress Meeting of October 9, 2020, was convened at 4:17 PM by President Laurence Liang.
- Roll Call of Members
The MSU Congress Members who are present at this meeting are: Tristan Boucher, Maria-Vera Azadian, Pratham Mehta, Allison Engo, Thomas Khairy, Yu Zheng Lu, Anne Lin Arghirescu, Laurence Liang.
Mau Sekendra Mahin, Yena Lee, and Zhaoran Wu arrived within the first 5 minutes.
- Guests presented by Laurence
The guests who are present at this meeting are: Bhromor Rahman, representative from the Marianopolis World Review, and Trudy St-Croix, Student Services Representative.
- Approval of last meeting’s Minutes
The Minutes of the Regular Weekly MSU Congress Meeting of October 2, 2020 were written by Thomas Khairy. These Minutes were approved by Laurence Liang on the 9th of October, 2020.
- Approval of the Agenda
The Agenda of this day’s meeting has been unanimously approved.
- Unfinished Business and General Orders
- Intercollegiate Talk presented by Pratham (3 min)
Pratham posted a draft for the procedure of his Intercollegiate Talks initiative on Slack. In summary, students from all 5 participating CEGEPS of CASAQ will come give a talk about their experience. Since there are 5 CEGEPS, there can be up to 5 talks. Pratham is presenting this proposal to CASAQ October 10th and hopes to start further planning after midterms. He hopes for the first talk to be in the first week of November.
- Circle of Reconciliation presented by Anne and Pratham (5 min)
After much planning for the Circles of Reconciliation, Anne announces that the first circle will be Thursday, October 15th. The biggest difficulty was the big discrepancy between indigenous and non-indegenous students so Anne and Pratham reached out to CASAQ to see if intercollegiate participation can make a second circle possible on Tuesdays.
- Constitutional update on contracts presented by Anne (3 min)
Anne announces that the fundraiser contract is finalized. This contract explains how club fundraising will happen online. She asks Congress members to refer club execs to her whenever they wish to fundraise so that she can verify their contract.
- Job fair presented by Pratham (3 min)
Pratham wishes to organize a Job fair, which was Laurence’s initiative in the previous semester as former Coordinator of External Affairs. This project involves bringing in job recruiters to Marianopolis to present to students and answer their questions. Pratham hopes for the Job Fair to take place November 16th.
- Reminder presented by Zhaoran (1 min)
Zhaoran tells Congress that students are claiming that Congress members have said that the math midterms will be more difficult since they are online. Zhaoran stresses the fact that it is important for members to clarify that not everything they say represents Congress.
- Les Impatients update presented by Anne (2min)
Anne announces that her next step for the Impatients project is negotiating with the organization to get a deal on their service before asking the administration to fund it. She says that this will happen after midterms and asks Congress for another member to assist her in negotiating. Tristan addresses all members and says that before starting a project that costs money to Congress, they must have a vote first. Les Impatients will cost $600 for 35 students to benefit from 3 sessions. He says that Marianopolis prides itself on its clubs so he suggests that we should take advantage of this to deal with mental health. For example, he is planning Art Workshops directed by students, which is a free alternative. Anne explains that leading such workshops takes up a huge amount of preparation time and is asking a lot out of the volunteer students. She also raises the point that students don’t have the same knowledge in mental health as professionals do. Yena agrees with Tristan that Congress should try to spend their money on every student. She also raises the point that since only 5 students can participate in a session, Congress will have to deal with choosing which 5 gets to participate in the strong likelihood that more than 5 students are interested. Students will likely want to participate since it’s a big project and it would be free for them. She also says that Congress should only pay a fixed amount of money. For example, if Congress decides to subsidize this project and 15 students wish to participate, Congress will have to pay $1800. Mau says that she loves the idea but there’s a problem with the outreach and the money so she suggests that we do this as a prize rather than a service. Laurence moves the point to Varia (IX.C) to continue with the rest of the agenda.
- Social Justice (SJ) Update (2 min)
Tristan announces that the Social Justice Instagram page has been created. Its purpose is spreading awareness and giving more visibility for Congress. The Anonymous Forum contract was signed by all SJ Committee members. Finally, the SJ Committee brainstormed many questions for the FAQ and they want to start preparing with the Tech Committee.
- New Business
- Survey Feedback presented by Mau (10 minutes)
Mau presents the results of the survey on academic concerns regarding online midterms. It was up for a full day on Facebook. Out of the 110 responses in sciences, the majority feel “Ok” with exams being online. Their biggest worries include: Internet connection, specific calculus teachers stating that their exam will be more difficult, the possibility of cheating meaning exams will be harder, and pictures not loading due to glitches or that submitting pictures makes them blurrier (ex: graphs, tables, etc.). Out of the 130 responses in social sciences, the majority feel “Uncomfortable” with exams being online. Their biggest worries include: Fear of the late submission penalty, the possibility of cheating meaning exams will be harder, internet connection, and a lot of concerns specifically about the math midterm.
Mau touches on the point that Zhaoran brought up earlier (VII.E). She also says that the reminders section on the agenda is taking too long to present which goes against its purpose.
Congress members discuss and give their own opinions. Yena asks how many students are in social sciences since 30 is a small number. Trudy answers that there are roughly 600 so Yena says that Congress should advertise the petition again since the current social science results only represent 5% of the student population. Pratham says that his teacher seems to be aware that the exam must be shorter than the full time given so that enough time is given to submit the pictures. Anne says that Crowdmark is slow so her math teacher will have the exam as a pdf on Lea and needs to be submitted via Lea, which she says is more reliable. Laurence says that the platform used for the midterm is up to the teacher to decide, as long as it doesn’t disadvantage students. Allison says that the rules in the math department for midterms should be the same for all sections like they would have been if it was written in person. Maria asks when Congress will send this to the administration. Mau answers that it’s pressing for the sciences because that’s where the most issues are (more specifically in the math department). However, it is not yet representational of the social sciences, as Yena mentioned earlier. Mau also reminds Congress not to expect that the administration will say yes to all concerns presented to them. Tristan says that a lot of the panic has to do with the fact that first years haven’t experienced exams yet. Thomas suggests that teachers give additional time simply for submitting pictures. Since they will be watching their students via Zoom, he says that it would be fairly easy for teachers to ensure that students use this time to submit and not continue working on the exam.
- Slack vs. Teams presented by Mau (15 mins)
For the past week, Thomas has been preparing Teams for a switch from Slack as Congress’s main platform, so Mau presents the pros and cons of each.
Teams: Great platform thanks to the task list, possibility of having meetings directly. However, it doesn’t have proper polling services (not anonymous) and Congress uses G-Suite (google), not Microsoft. Slack: Polls are excellent (fast, anonymous, varied settings), and Congress is currently using it. However, Polly exists on Teams and that’s where the Task List is. Mau will do a poll to decide
- Suit-up day presented by Zhaoran (5 min)
Zhaoran announces that next Tuesday is suit-up day. She wants to do something similar to the Instagram Challenges currently organized by Tristan and Maria, and proposes to have a randomly chosen winner to encourage participation.
- Movie streaming presented by Zhaoran
Zhaoran explains that although Congress has a licence (cost Congress $1500) for streaming movies with ACF, she cannot get it to work. Zhaoran asks for Congress members to let her know if there are any platforms they think of. Tristan suggests Netflix Party since that’s what the SJ Committee is using. Allison speaks on behalf of certain club execs who contacted her asking for Zoom grants. Mau says that they already have G-Suite and Teams, which means there is no need for Zoom. Tristan suggests reaching out to Netflix to see if they can allow an account to be used on multiple IP addresses.
- Intercollegiate Halloween activity presented by Trudy (5 min)
At Trudy’s CASAP meeting, they spoke about the possibility of offering something at an intercollegiate level for Halloween. It would have to be online so suggestions included a Halloween Kahoot, a chill room, and streaming a horror movie. Halloween is on a Saturday so students will have all day to participate in these activities.
- Open House Update presented by Trudy (1 min)
Trudy announces that the Virtual Open House is November 1st. Congress wants to have a presence (ex: make a video), and Tristan suggests using Prezi to make a map of the school. Trudy takes note of this option to explore it as a possibility.
- Thanksgiving gratitude moment presented by Trudy (2 min)
Trudy proposes the idea that through instagram or facebook, Congress can put up a post where students can share whatever they’re thankful/grateful for despite the stressful time. Tristan proposes a board like the one at school about “What do you love about yourself?”. Maria proposes Instagram story questions
- RIASQ update presented by Trudy (5 min)
Trudy informs Congress that the College has signed up for Recueil de poésies. Students can submit their poetry to be published. Marianopolis also signed up for workshops for comics, bande dessinées, and films and visual arts. Finally, the school signed up for the Prix littéraire des collégiens. Marianopolis has until December 1st to decide if they wish to continue doing these workshops. Laurence asks if Réseau Intercollégial des Arts Socio-Culturels au Québec (RIASQ) is the organization that prepares Cégep en spectacles, to which Trudy gives an affirmative response. However, since it cost $500 to sign up for Cegep en spectacles and that it is exclusively in French, Marianopolis is not signed up this year.
- The Chill where we C.A.R.E (connect, accept, reflect and experience) together presented by Trudy (2 min)
In conjunction with study night, Student Services is putting forwards the initiative of creating a new virtual student lounge. This will serve as an outlet for students to study or hangout in a room meant for people to socialize and relax. Allison says that a 2nd year created a Team called Marianopolis Hangouts, which is a similar initiative. Tristan proposes merging his idea of study groups with Student Services’ idea. He pictures the Chill where we CARE room as a channel in this Team. Pratham asks Trudy about the escape rooms, and she says that she hasn’t brought it up yet to Student Services since she doesn’t have much info about it.
- Academic Dean Integrity Task Force presented by Laurence (3 mins)
Laurence says that the Academic Dean proposed creating a college committee including 2 Congress members to talk about ways to encourage and promote academic integrity. Tristan asks how the College deals with cheating, to which Trudy explains that it’s a process that involves, in order, the Chair, Associate Dean, and Academic Dean. All of this is outlined In the IPESA. Laurence suggests that Congress posts something via social media about the severity of cheating.
- Mental Health Day presented by Tristan (5 min)
Mental health day is Saturday, October 10th. The schedule is posted on the Facebook group, and Tristan asks all Congress members to attend at least 1 activity and to promote it and bring a friend. Trudy says that Just for Laughs are offering free shows as of 6:30 PM Saturday. Tristan ends by saying that his SJ Committee is releasing a playlist once a month, Saturday’s being a Study/Chill playlist.
- Thrift Store presented by Tristan (5 min)
One of the projects that SJ Committee is working on is an online Thrift Store. To summarize, students can swap or buy clothes, pick up at school will be 1 day a week, and half the money raised will go to charity whereas the other half will be spent on new clothes to expand the shop. The Thrift Store promotes buying 2nd hand clothes as well as supporting charities. Maria had wanted to move the Congress website to Wix which would allow it to have a store, but this is an extremely lengthy process that she can only start after midterms. Tristan emphasizes that an online store means that students will be able to pay by card, and it is always good to avoid the exchange of cash during COVID times. Yena says that the Student Advocacy Committee is creating an MSU hoodie, but they are faced by the difficulty of keeping track of transactions. She warns Tristan that he might experience the same problem with the Thrift store. Tristan suggests assigning someone from SJ Committee to make a monthly financial report of the Thrift Store.
- Fee Change discussion presented by Laurence (3 mins)
2 meetings ago, there was a discussion about lowering student union fees, which was going to be continued once Emanuel gives the financial report. Since the deadline is mid-November, Laurence wants to continue the discussion before Emanuel has finished his report so that Congress has an idea of how this report will influence their decision. Tristan says that reducing the $3000+ tuition by $5 is pointless and that, instead, Congress should use the money to make sure that student life at Mari stays alive.
- Insurance presentation presented by Laurence (3 mins)
Laurence has been looking to negotiate with Le Plan Major for student supplemental insurance. This would add about 50$ to the tuition per semester, and last year Congress said no. There is currently MSU Congress insurance but no student coverage. From the MWR article: “Importantly, based on the information provided from last year’s Congress, such a plan only has an opt-out clause in the contract, but no opt-in clause. This means that students would automatically be charged the insurance premium unless they willingly choose to opt-out from the plan altogether.” Laurence will give more detail on Slack.
- Poll: Do we continue Congress meetings during 2 weeks of midterms by Thomas (1 min)
Thomas very briefly mentions that he will put a poll on Slack to determine if Congress will meet during the 2 Fridays of midterm weeks.
- Social Justice Update presented by Tristan (1 min)
Tristan is meeting with the Green Team and Concordia to talk about composting.
- Canadian Waste Reduction week presented by Anne (5-7min)
- Les Impatients presented by Anne (1 min)
- Social Impact Fund, Innovation Hub and Montreal Projects Database presented by Laurence (30 seconds)
Laurence is saying that he hopes these projects will be deployed during Block 4
- Laurence plugs The Programming Club
The Programming Club created a Spotify playlist selector that chooses a playlist based on mood and activity (ex: studying and stressed). This was done during a collaboration with Jack.org Thursday night. Thomas asks if Laurence can share it with Congress and potentially the student body since it’s a really cool project.
- Goals presented by Laurence (1 min)
Laurence would appreciate having a board where Congress members know exactly what projects they’re working on.
- Calls presented by Laurence (1 min)
Laurence wants to meet for 5 minutes with all Congress members over the weekend as a check-up call, so he asks for everyone to let him know when would be best.
Motion to adjourn – Passed (unanimously)
This meeting was adjourned at 6:24 PM.
Total duration: 2 hours and 7 minutes.