IGNITE holding October press conference

Student journalists will be able to ask questions of IGNITE during an October press conference that campus publications were invited to on Wednesday morning.

Student union officials will “give an overview of proposed IGNITE By-law changes and take brief questions,” an email from Executive Director Ercolé Perrone reads.

“The proposed changes will bring clarity to IGNITE in terms of best practices relating to the separation of governance from operations and is part of our evolution to provide excellence in representation and service delivery to our students.”

Two representatives from each student publication are allowed to attend the Oct. 4 briefing, which will start at 11 a.m. and last for one hour in KX207 in North Campus.

The press conference follows weeks of backlash from student journalists and members of the student body after IGNITE put in place a new policy that blocks students from Board of Directors meetings.

The move to cut off the meetings was unprecedented. Students and student press were previously allowed to attend, as is the status quo for student unions across the province.

The Board makes decisions regarding IGNITE’s finances and holds accountable the elected executives. The Board is made up of 10 elected officials from Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber campuses.

When a journalist from The Avro Post was blocked from the Board meeting on Sept. 11, a new policy was posted on the IGNITE Governance webpage that states that only with permission from the executive director can students attend meetings or access meeting minutes.

The invitation to student press comes the morning after The Avro Post’s Administrative Board wrote an open letter to the Board of Directors urging transparency in an attempt to gain more information about the student union’s finances and impact of the optional student fees.

It was not immediately clear whether the by-laws that Perrone cites in the invitation to the press conference include the new policy around Board meetings, but it is likely.

The Post has formally submitted a request for journalists to attend the Board of Directors meetings and asked for all Board minutes since January 2016, following the new rules.

According to provincial law, for the Board to go in-camera, or into closed meetings, they need a vote by the Board members itself, according to former student union president Jack Fisher.

IGNITE will also be holding a press conference-style Special Meeting of the Members on Oct. 16, open to any qualifying student. However, it is unclear what the qualifications will be for IGNITE “members” as the previous rules are now invalid due to the Student Choice Initiative.

Previously, any full-time student at Humber College or Guelph-Humber who had paid their ancillary fee, a requirement for all students until now, were members.

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