After over a year of tensions between the student union that represents those enrolled at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, IGNITE, and the independent student press, there is an active change to how IGNITE interacts with The Avro Post.
In the last week, a Post reporter was able to meet with Executive Director Ercolé Perrone, the chair of the Board of Directors responded to a request to comment and the a public relations official responded to a separate inquiry.
It marks a significant shift from over a year of silence via formal channels where the student union refused to respond to inquiry upon inquiry from the Post and, in some cases, reporters from Humber Et Cetera.
The shift was gradual in nature, however. It started when, for the first time, Post reporters were able to interview Perrone twice earlier this year, resulting in several stories that revealed the student government’s plans for the Student Choice Initiative, among other items.
This appeared to introduce a new, more goodwill relationship between the student union and the student press. That is until a Post reporter, who was enrolled as a Humber College student starting this fall, was denied entry to an important Board meeting.
Several months later, the same reporter was allowed into IGNITE offices to interview Perrone.
While the efforts are clear, there are still some issues. Monica Khosla, president of a student union representing over 30,000 students, still has not talked to The Post in any interview since 2018 before she was elected for the first time, despite over 30 requests.
When The Post recently reached out for questions regarding IGNITE’s actual efforts to fight the Student Choice Initiative and the financial reform package at Queen’s Park, it was the public relations official that responded, not the president herself, which is part of her job description.
However, when a reporter asked the executive director about a 2016 rebrand document that disappeared from the IGNITE website earlier this year, Perrone said that it was removed simply due to a design choice and that he would be able to get the document to The Post.
The file has not yet been sent and he said this on Tuesday but there appears to be an effort to communicate more.
Board chair Neto Naniwambote broke tradition in responding to The Post directly when asked for a request for comment regarding the process to hire a new IGNITE vice president of North Campus. Though there has been certain directors that have responded in the past, most requests were ignored this year.
It remains to be seen what will happen this fall, as The Post will look to find out the number of students that opt-out but if transparency is the new norm, then that will likely not be an issue and there could be a new standard for public information.