Marianopolis Student Union Congress
2020-2021 Academic Year
21st Official Meeting
|Location: Google Meets|
Day: Friday, November 20, 2020
Time of Start: 4:21 PM
|Facilitator: Laurence Liang|
Meeting type: Weekly
Note taker and timekeeper: Thomas Khairy
|List of attendees (Congress members): Tristan Boucher, Mahmuda (Mau) Sekendra Mahin, Misha Fotovati, Zhaoran Wu, Emanuel Cosimo Curto, Maria-Vera Azadian, Anne Lin Arghirescu, Allison Engo, Thomas Khairy, Yu Zheng Lu, Pratham Mehta, Yena Lee, Laurence Liang |
List of attendees (guests): Si Wen Shen, Bhromor Rahman, Leticia Yansen, Amel Melanson, Camille Zhou, Emily Hong, Emma Westenberg, Noemie Dumais, Tony Li
Student Services Representative: Ms. Trudy St-Croix
- Call to Order
The Regular Weekly Marianopolis Student Union (MSU) Congress Meeting of November 20, 2020, was convened at 4:14 PM by President Laurence Liang.
- Roll Call of Members
The MSU Congress Members who are present at this meeting are: Tristan Boucher, Misha Fotovati, Zhaoran Wu, Emanuel Cosimo Curto, Maria-Vera Azadian, Anne Lin Arghirescu, Allison Engo, Thomas Khairy, Yu Zheng Lu, Pratham Mehta, Yena Lee, and Laurence Liang. Mau Sekendra Mahin arrived late.
- Guests presented by Laurence
The guests who are present at this meeting are: Si Wen Shen and Bhromor Rahman, representatives from the Marianopolis World Review, and Trudy St-Croix, Student Services Representative. At 5:00 PM, Leticia Yansen joined to give the Mental Health First Aid Training, as well as Amel Melanson, Camille Zhou, Emily Hong, Emma Westenberg, Noemie Dumais, and Tony Li.
- Approval of last meeting’s Minutes
The Minutes of the Regular Weekly MSU Congress Meeting of November 13, 2020 were written by Thomas Khairy. These Minutes were approved by Laurence Liang on the 20th of November, 2020.
- Approval of the Agenda
The Agenda of this day’s meeting has been unanimously approved.
- Unfinished Business and General Orders
- Charities and Volunteering Committee meeting
Allison’s Charities and Volunteering Committee is meeting this Saturday November 21st at 7:00 PM. All Congress members are welcome to attend.
- Collaborative Student Cultural Playlists
Yu Zheng’s Cultural Affairs Committee is creating cultural playlists with the help of the student body. She will post more details this Saturday November 21st on Facebook and Instagram. The first genre is rap, so they will make a playlist of a collection of rap songs from various cultures.
- Cultural committee update in #cultural-affairs
First, Yu Zheng’s Cultural Affairs Committee is happy with how much interaction their Halloween Cultural Appropriation Campaign garnered on Facebook. They will continue to work on promoting cultural appreciation throughout the rest of the year. Next, they just created an Instagram page: @msu_culturalaffairs. Next, they are proud to announce the release of their new Discord server which is specifically designed for cultural events (ex: cultural seminars, student-led conversations, movie nights, etc.). Next, they are preparing a collaboration with the Hillel club for Hanukkah, which falls in the 2 weeks of finals. Finally, they are in the early works of planning the Cultural Month for January, which is further discussed in New Business (IX.F).
- Job Fair update
Last Tuesday’s Job Fair went well, and the work is now posted on MariWork (work.msucongress.com).
- Volunteering Fair is next week presented by Allison and Pratham
Allison and Pratham remind Congress that the Volunteering Fair is happening Tuesday November 24th during AP.
- New Business
- MSU Congress and MWR presented by Laurence
Laurence begins by bringing Congress members up to speed regarding the news about the recent MWR article. Unfortunately, he is saddened by the fact that a few quotes were taken out of context by the Office of Associate Deans (OAD). Rather than shifting blame, both parties have agreed that everything is under control, and both parties are ready to move forward in continuing to strengthen their relationship. Trudy explains that in regards to mental health, which is a fairly emotional topic for many, Congress shouldn’t feel like their freedom of speech is being repressed by the fear of being misunderstood. For this reason, as of this meeting, MWR articles will be shared with all of Congress before publication to ensure that they are representative of Congress’ positions and not the individual members’. MWR has always been and will always be welcome to attend Congress meetings, especially since they are a big reason why Congress consider themselves transparent. Congress members are extremely grateful for this.
Misha thinks that the OAD is doing a lot for mental health and recognizes that the student body is grateful. However, this does not mean that the OAD has to tackle the problem alone, and she wishes that Congress could be of bigger help to them. Laurence suggests that Congress make a Google Form this weekend to take a look at mental health before finals, and he will present it to the OAD. Mau concludes by restating that Congress’ relationship with the OAD is important and that she is relieved that both parties have moved on.
2. Concerns from the Office of Associate Deans presented by Tristan (2 min)
Tristan explains that members from Congress and MWR should be more specific in their word choice when referring to the administration to avoid further misunderstandings. Oftentimes, members use the word “administration” when they are actually talking about the “Office of Associate Deans”.
3. Volunteering on-campus for Holiday Elves Initiative presented by Allison (2 min)
Allison will MIO Wayne to ask him for permission to have the Holiday Elves Initiative take place on campus.
4. 100$ for volunteers to knit scarves presented by Allison (3 min)
Allison wants to start a volunteering initiative where students knit scarves to donate. She explains that if the equipment is already bought, more students are likely going to participate. She asks for $100 but Emanuel thinks that this number might be an underestimate. They will decide a number during the coming week.
5. Discord Server presented by Yu Zheng (2 mins)
Although Trudy loves the Cultural Affairs Committee’s initiative of organizing cultural events, she is concerned that having them on a Discord server simply adds another platform to the long list of currently active platforms. Yu Zheng explains that many of her committee members use Discord because Teams is associated with school. The former is therefore associated with fun and entertainment. Regardless, for the sake of time, this conversation will resume on Slack.
6. January Cultural Month presented by Yu Zheng (2 mins)
Yu Zheng’s Cultural Affairs Committee is in the early works of planning a cultural month for January. Although nothing is official yet, some events are cultural club fairs, cultural challenges, inviting special guests, and lots more.
7. Christmas Student Gift Exchange presented by Tristan (4 min)
Tristan wants Congress to organize a gift exchange amongst interested students. Zhaoran is worried about students being discouraged to participate by the requirement to give your address to a stranger. Also, some students may not be happy with their gift if it is random. She proposes that, if Congress were to do this activity, the gift exchange can happen on campus.
8. Zoom professional license presented by Tristan (3 minutes)
At the start of the semester, Congress decided that purchasing a Zoom licence would not be a good idea since they would also have to purchase one for each club. Considering that everything is still online, Tristan proposes that they reevaluate this decision. Congress will make their decision after Mau shares the links on Slack.
9. Netflix Account presented by Tristan (4 minutes)
Tristan had mentioned in previous meetings that Congress should purchase a Netflix account and make it available for students to “rent” for a month. He suggests that Congress cover part of the cost to reduce the price for students to only $3/month. Emanuel says that it would be complicated to keep track of the payments, but he will speak with Tristan during the week to come up with a plan. Tristan proposes posting a sign up sheet to determine student interest.
- Academic Integrity Task Force update and Integrity Pledge for finals presented by Yena (7 mins)
Yena had her first meeting with the Academic Integrity Task Force to prepare for the upcoming finals. They spoke about the Integrity Pledge and discussed ways to further enforce it. The OAD wants Congress to help promote a culture of honesty instead of using fear to discourage cheating. Yena had suggested that students be required to handwrite the pledge. That way they are consciously reading it rather than simply signing it and potentially skipping over it. Mau suggests that Congress make an interactive video to promote academic integrity. Trudy adds that the focus of the video should be the immorality of academic dishonesty. Maria suggests that Congress use their social media platforms to make trivia questions about academic integrity. Finally, Anne says that Congress could try reaching out to teachers to help strengthen the message advocating for academic integrity as they obviously support it. Discussion will continue on Slack.
11. Open house presented by Trudy
Trudy announces that the Open House will be November 29th from 10AM to 6PM. She asks that one Congress member cover every hour as a student representative in the student life room. She will post a schedule on Slack and ask students to fill in their availabilities. Tristan will create a Slack channel to brainstorm the content of Congress’ video.
12. Armenia Post presented by Maria (2 mins)
A few students reached out to Maria in regards to the recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. For context, the war came to an end November 10 when Artsakh was signed off to Azerbaijan. 100,000 Armenians face deportation in consequence. Maria was hesitant to post something since there are many Turkish students in the school and she doesn’t want to put any students in a bad position. However, now that the war is over, it is not a matter of taking sides anymore but of raising awareness in regards to the mass deportation. For the sake of time, this point was moved to Varia (XI.A).
12. Mental Health First Aid Training (5:15 PM)
Leticia gives her Psychological First Aid presentation to Congress and guests.
- Armenia Post presented by Maria (2 mins)
Anne says that diplomacy and presentation of the post is crucial. She suggests that the focus be on the humanitarian aspect and would prefer that the post be informative. Yu Zheng says that her Cultural Affairs Committee can help make and promote the post. Thomas agrees with Anne and says that the post must be informational or else Congress will need to take sides. Maria agrees and confirms that her intentions were for the post to be informational, but it should also have links for direct action. Mau concludes this point by saying that through this post, Congress isn’t endorsing anything but just raising awareness.
2. Movie night presented by Tristan
Tristan says that the weekly Saturday Movie night will take place as usual.
Motion to adjourn – Passed (unanimously)
This meeting was adjourned at 6:37 PM.
Total duration: 2 hours 23 minutes.