Marianopolis Student Union Congress
2020-2021 Academic Year
12th Official Meeting
|Location: Marianopolis College, on the traditional unceded Indigenous lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka/Mohawk Nation|
Day: Friday, September 18, 2020
Time of Start: 4:26 PM
|Facilitator: Laurence Liang|
Meeting type: Weekly
Note taker and timekeeper: Thomas Khairy
|List of attendees (Congress members): Mahmuda Sekendra Mahin, Tristan Boucher, Misha Fotovati, Maria-Vera Azadian, Emanuel Cosimo Curto, Anne Lin Arghirescu, Pratham Mehta, Yena Lee, Allison Engo, Thomas Khairy, Yu Zheng Lu, Laurence Liang.Regrets: Zhaoran Wu|
List of attendees via Google Meet (guests): Bhromor Rahman, Si Wen ShenStudent Services
Representative: Trudy Ste-Croix
- Call to Order
The Regular Weekly Marianopolis Student Union (MSU) Congress Meeting of September 18, 2020, was convened at 4:26 PM by President Laurence Liang.
- Roll Call of Members
The MSU Congress Members who are present at this meeting are: Mahmuda Sekendra Mahin, Tristan Boucher, Misha Fotovati, Maria-Vera Azadian, Emanuel Cosimo Curto, Anne Lin Arghirescu, Pratham Mehta, Yena Lee, Allison Engo, Thomas Khairy, Yu Zheng Lu, Laurence Liang.
- Guests presented by Laurence
The guests who are present at this meeting are: Bhromor Rahman and Si Wen Shen, representatives 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 13, 2020 were not finalized at the time of the meeting.
- Approval of the Agenda
The Agenda of this day’s meeting has been unanimously approved.
- Unfinished Business and General Orders
- New Business
- Debriefing for First Years presented by Second years (15 min)
Mahmuda (Mau) begins the debriefing by explaining the meeting procedure. First, the Administrative Assistant must post the agenda on the Congress’ “Slack” #agendas-minutes channel. Any Congress member can add items to the agenda as long as it requires input from everyone or a collective discussion. Weekly meetings will take place from 16:00-18:00. If the meeting is in person, the attendee must raise their hand and President Laurence will give the right to speak. If the meeting is on Google Meets, the attendee must type their name in the chat and Laurence will give the right to speak.
The Second Year Congress members take turns explaining their projects for the year.
Emanuel, VPF, is preparing to select his Financial Policy Committee in the next few days. He is also looking at continuing the Emergency Fund, which is an initiative started in June by the 2019-20 Congress for Students struggling financially for COVID-related reasons. Another of his current projects is preparing the budget to allocate funds to clubs.
Misha, Student Advocacy, is preparing for the General Assembly to review and make changes to the Constitution and Bylaws. Misha mentions that Monday, September 21st, the Admin is putting out a survey asking questions about online learning and its mental health aspect. Her upcoming projects include but are not limited to: Alumni helping for career fields, welcome booklet, student survey, focus on mental health, and the Emergency fund with Emanuel.
Tristan, Social Justice, is preparing to select his Social Justice (SJ) Committee. His projects include but are not limited to a green space in the library for mental health (already approved by admin), lockers outside the locker rooms for people not comfortable using them, cyber bullying council, going over wellness in the LibGuide, and the creation of an anonymous forum for students to ask questions to the SJ Committee.
Mau, VP, was in charge of the First Year Congress elections and has given herself projects in that regard. These include creating a handbook for elections, updating election regulations, and making reports about the elections that have just finished. Furthermore, Mau plans to make life as easy as possible for clubs by making a guide on how to plan events and making G-Suite more accessible. Finally, since the Congress members have all been selected, her projects include making sure everyone integrates well.
Laurence, President, had been fulfilling the responsibilities of the Congress members who had not been selected yet in addition to his own. His projects include but are not limited to weekly meetings with the administration, co-chairing the General Assembly with Misha, working on tech committee projects, investing in student projects via the social impact fund, and creating an innovation hub to virtually connect Marianopolis students to the bigger world.
Maria, Communications, is preparing to select her Yearbook Committee. She explains that her job consists of making posters and advertising events and managing the website as well as all Congress Social Media. Her upcoming projects include but are not limited to instagram challenges with prizes to support local businesses and/or charities.
Zhaoran, Social Activities, had her position explained by Laurence. The biggest part of it is the organization of events such as the recent Welcome Back Event.
- Elections and ERC Update presented by Mau
The results for the Congress elections are out on Facebook. Since many demerit points had to be given, Mau makes a point that the elections regulations need to be updated. Her suggestions include no longer allowing campaigning in languages other than English or French as well as limiting campaigning to the platforms of Instagram and Facebook. The ERC will be checking up with candidates involved in the elections.
Bhromor, guest at the meeting and Editor in Chief of the MWR, inquires about Congress’ transparency during this eventful week and feels like MWR was being censored. Laurence explains that there was a misunderstanding about censoring versus privacy of candidates. Furthermore, at the time of the discussion with MWR, Laurence wasn’t fully informed of all the aspects of the many different situations therefore Congress weren’t trying to censor but were simply misinformed. The conflict is resolved. Bhromor asks a second question regarding the final election results on Omnivox not matching those from Facebook. There is no explanation as to why this is the csse but Congress has been using the same website to calculate voting results for several years. Furthermore, Laurence had sent the ballots for analysis by an independent program, who returned identical results from the website. The votes were tallied in other ways as well and all returned the same winner.
- Anti-Cyberbullying Campaign presented by Mau
After discussion with the ERC and with Amanda Guay, Mau and Tristan want to start an Anti-Cyberbullying campaign. More details in agenda item F.
- Amanda Guay presented by Mau
Amanda Guay is the new social worker at Marianopolis. She is an amazing resource to students for conflicts of social injustice ranging from cyber-bullying to racism.
- Event Proposal Guide presented by Mau
Mau released the event proposal guide. Its purpose is to instruct clubs on how to organize an in-person event. Emanuel brings up the point that clubs might want to use it to fundraise therefore he should be kept aware.
- Racism presented by Tristan (7 min)
Congress has a long discussion about racism during election week and Tristan very strongly objects to moving on. It is not normal for anyone to feel defenseless AND have no one end up defending them. Racism does not only go against electoral rules, but the student code of conduct as well. Tristan continues by saying that it is normal for a student to not want to pursue this situation any farther but that is not socially acceptable. Thankfully Marianopolis now has Amanda Guay to help deal with problems of this kind. Tristan proposes starting an anti cyber-bullying campaign to raise awareness for social injustices (ex: micro-aggression, racism, etc.). Anne suggests that this campaign should include giving students reasons to fight for themselves in a scenario of cyber bullying to eliminate the mentality of “there’s nothing to win in pursuing this”. Congress mutually agrees that this requires a follow-up.
- Social Justice Committee update (2 min)
Tristan is assembling his SJ Committee by Sunday. He wants committee members to receive mental health training and his goal in the next few years is to mix this with first aid and mentorship.
- Student Survey & Admin Presentation presented by Misha
The Administration is sending out a survey Monday Sept 21 asking questions about online learning and its mental health aspect. Misha wants to survey students on Congress members’ specific projects so they must tell her what questions to add by the first week of October.
- Bi-Annual General Assembly presented by Misha
To complete the quorum, the Constitutional Review Committee asks that everyone in Congress fills out the form that Misha is sending Tuesday Sept 29. A minimum of 60 people are required.
- Emergency Fund presented by Misha & Emanuel (3 min)
Emanuel’s plan for the renewal of the Emergency Fund is for Congress to contribute a certain amount of money and for the Marianopolis Millennium Foundation to match that amount. COVID has not gone away, and financial difficulties are still present so Misha and Emanuel call for a vote on putting money aside for the Emergency Fund. Vote passed unanimously. Last year, $10,000 was given for this fund. Emanuel suggests giving $3-4k out of the “Donations” budget for now and then reassessing later based on how many people use it. Trudy suggests giving money in increments so that it’s not “locked in” if the demand is low. Emanuel says he will contact the foundation for data on last year’s donations for a better idea of a plan of action. Anne suggests that the application for financial aid should be made easier for students to find.
Congress motioned to vote on allocating money into a COVID fund
- Brebeuf Student Union Update presented by Laurence (5 mins)
Laurence gives the news about the Brebeuf Student Union: They had Join-a-club day 2 weeks ago, the college board is still against in-person activities so the ACPQ leadership camp is postponed. Tristan offers to contact the VP of Brebeuf’s Student Union. Pratham offers to assist in communications as well. Brebeuf is showing interest in inter-collegiate social media challenges and online events like a music jam session and TEDx. The topic of the MeToo movement comes up and Pratham suggests asking Brebeuf what theirs looks like. Anne and Tristan suggest that it would be more impactful to have students read their messages anonymously and publish this via social media. Tristan adds “Tell Your Story” to his Social Justice projects. Mau raises the point of trigger warnings and the importance of avoiding them.
- CASAQ Update presented by Laurence (5 mins)
Pratham is attending the 1st CASAQ meeting Sunday September 20th to renew the Climate plan. He asks that Congress members contact him if they have any amendments they would like to make.
- Financial Policy Committee Applications by Emanuel
So far the Financial Policy Committee has 0 applications. The deadline is Sept 19 at midnight so Emanuel will personally contact the individuals he thinks would be good candidates.
- Congress volunteer group
Last year, Congress had a booth at Join-A-Club Day for students to join Congress as a volunteer. This didn’t happen this year so Mau will create a spreadsheet for Congress volunteers.
- Climate Strike Update presented by Laurence
There’s a climate strike in Montreal happening Saturday, September 26th. A student is trying to reach 100 signatures on a petition to allow students to miss class Friday the 25th to strike, so there is no need for Congress to look at it until it reaches that number. Mau brings up the point that the petition might be misleading since students might think the strike is on the 25th when it’s actually the 26th. She suggests publishing a template of a petition for students to use. Emanuel suggests creating a Marianopolis version of the UK government’s website for petitions. Laurence accepts Emanuel’s challenge on behalf of the Tech Committee.
- Admin Q&A presented by Mau and Laurence
Laurence will resend the links to the Congress’ Slack channel.
- Congress Q&A presented by Misha
Misha suggests that Congress does their own version of Silver Keys’ “Takeover” for first year students to know what Congress is doing. Examples are “day in the life of a Congress member” or Q&A. Maria informs the team that @maristudentunion on Instagram has 630 followers.
- Team Dynamic presented by Laurence
Laurence aims to break down all walls between Congress members in terms of what they’re working on through the initiative of creating individual slack channels for greater transparency. Furthermore, he suggests making weekly meetings shorter.
Motion to adjourn – Passed unanimously
This meeting was adjourned at 6:21 PM.
Total duration: 1 hour and 55 minutes