On Sept. 10, students, councillors, BUSU executives, media, board of directors and community members filled in the intimate boardroom on the 13th floor of the Schmon Tower. Starting at 7 p.m., as well as being the first BUSAC meeting scheduled during the 2014– 2015 academic year, they knew it was going to be a late night. With five presentations, committee elections as well as reports and questions — it was a night that was both emotionally loaded and productive for the approximately 47 individuals in attendance.
State of the Institution:
Being Brock University’s 50th anniversary, questions of the University’s future plans are more poignant than ever. As a result, Brian Hutchings (Vice President, Finance and Administration) was asked to present the University’s financial situation, expansion plans and revenue goals going forward.
A central theme of the presentation was the University’s financial issues — in which Hutchings assured that Brock was “not alone”, with almost all of the other Ontario universities in similar positions. As it was a presentation focused on the business side of Brock as an institution, the discussion was dominated by talk of Brock’s branding as opposed to the pedagogical aspects of our education.
That being said, many interesting and exciting changes were proposed. These changes included new developments on property already owned by Brock (i.e. the commercial property beside East Academic), to more inmate changes such as revitalizing the brocku.ca student e-mail experience by potentially hosting it through Office 365.
At Brock University Student Radio (BUSR)’s annual general meeting on Aug. 27, a community member brought forward a motion to remove BUSAC and BUSU representatives from the BUSR board of directors, against the memorandum of understanding. Following this decision, how to proceed in future dealings with BUSR was discussed at the meeting.
BUSU is still obligated to make sure all student funds are being spent responsibly as a form of accountability to BUSR. Although funding has been cut, BUSU has a responsibility to monitor their spending until student funds from previous years have been spent.
The speaker, Chris Ventura made it clear that the BUSR community member’s initial motion to remove the BUSAC and BUSU representatives was not an act of defiance or spite against BUSU.
Ventura stated: “This feud is a lot more superficial than we think it is. It is not some invisible war.”
The official recommendation decided on at the meeting was that, “BUSAC task the President, General Manager, one BUSAC Councillor and one Board of Directors member to meet with Brock Radio with the goal of reconciliation.”
The group’s efforts in reconciliation with Brock Radio will be reported at the next BUSAC meeting.
The Brock Bug:
Community member Sandor Ligetfalvy, founder of alternative digital publication, The Brock University Gadfly provided information to the councillors on his new journalistic approach. Ligetfalvy’s history with BUSAC is a rocky one, as he was banned from attending meetings last year. As would be expected, there was still some animosity between Ligetfalvy and some of the BUSU executives.
The Brock Bug is focused on reporting student governance news at Brock — it is not a student news source, as its primary contributor is not a Brock student. The publication’s central focus comes as a result of Ligetfalvy’s criticism of The Brock Press’ lack of coverage of student governance, including last year’s AGM.
“I really appreciate that council took nearly an entire hour to hear my presentation and asked me a lot of great questions,” stated Ligetfalvy. “My goal was to invite members on to my website and radio show as a platform for political discussion surrounding student politics. My hope was that they will provide feedback — positive or negative — on my journalism at BrockBUG.com and that the tradition of journalism will bloom here as the Brock culture continues to mature.”
- Other presentations described the organization OPIRG, which will discuss its budget, financial state and elect board members at the AGM on Oct. 9.
- The Brock University Business Students’ Association (BSA) also proposed its budget for the upcoming academic year which was approved by BUSAC. The BSA — an umbrella organization which encapsulates seven business clubs — will focus on increasing their publicity through marketing, as well as allowing more students to go to competitions and get involved.
- Discussion of the student life fee was tabled until the next BUSAC meeting, so there is sure to be a lot of discussion on the contentious topic in two weeks.
When asked about how the meeting went, Christopher Yendt, Chairman of the Board of Directors stated, “I think the meeting went quite well, the first meeting is always testing [for new councillors]. It will often feature the first ‘heavy’ topics, and begin to get into the meat of what can be discussed as opposed to the routine formalities that are done at the two meetings in the summer. I think the meeting also demonstrated that there will be a number of key issues that will come up throughout the year, and that it appears that this council will be ready to take them on. I am looking forward to meeting and engaging with all of the new representatives and hopefully sharing experiences.”
To watch the BUSAC meeting in its entirety visit new.livestream.com/Brocktvlive/events/3178695. BUSAC meetings are held every second Wednesday; the next meeting is to be held on Sept 24, 2014 on the 13th floor of the Schmon Tower. If you’re unable to make it a meeting, BrockTV also provides a live stream, which you can find at BrockTV.ca