IGNITE breaks its own bylaws amid major shifts

IGNITE officials, including the executive director and the elected student president, have referenced the student union’s bylaws repeatedly to justify drastic changes to transparency while at the same time breaking at least two of their own rules.

Amongst the bylaws currently listed within the student union’s governing documents are rules for publicly posting the “dates, times and locations” for Board of Directors meetings and release meeting minutes “on the website of IGNITE”.

Times and locations for nearly all of this academic year’s meetings were posted online earlier this year but were removed at some point between Aug. 14 and September, according to a website archive service. It is likely they were removed during the evening of Sept. 11, the first Board meeting.

It breaks a rule found within the “Meetings of the Board of Directors“, last amended on Oct. 7, 2015, though uploaded in May, according to the URL.

When asked about the missing times and locations, IGNITE officials told The Avro Post on Oct. 15 that they had no comment.

The question was asked during a meeting that was supposed to be an interview with the student union’s president but turned to criticism of The Post’s coverage and a new policy that IGNITE will ignore media requests until The Post obtains a faculty advisor from the journalism program.

IGNITE’s policy from that first Board of Directors meeting in September onwards was to not allow student journalists in. However, as was later explained at an Oct. 4 press briefing, the bylaws state that the directors must vote to force a student to leave.

According to their own bylaws acknowledged by Executive Director Ercolé Perrone, The Post’s reporter sent to the Sept. 11 Board meeting should have been allowed in and then, should the directors have wanted her to leave, they would have to vote in a simple majority to send her out of the room.

Instead, the reporter was turned away at the door by Clubs Coordinator Kristine Gavlan, who said there was a new policy. Instead, only a paragraph encouraging student attendance was removed from the Governance page without notice at some point between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11.

Later that night, IGNITE posted a new policy memo on its Governance page saying that, under the Ontario Corporations Act, only Board directors have a right to be at the meetings and that students would need to contact the executive director to attend.

Policy on the Governance page on Oct. 17, 2019.

Perrone pointed out himself at the Oct. 4 press briefing that this was not entirely correct as there are only two ways to block members of the corporation, which is all full-time students, from the meetings: vote to move in-camera or vote to remove students from a full or partial meeting.

The policy memo still remains on the Governance webpage over a month later.

Four Post reporters scoured Humber College’s North Campus in search of a second Board meeting scheduled for Oct. 9 but were unable to find any directors. In the past, North Campus meetings have been held on the sixth floor of the Learning Resource Commons.

A second rule appears to currently broken by IGNITE regarding meeting minutes.

“Minutes shall be adopted at a subsequent Meeting of the Board of Directors and, following their adoption, be posted on the website of IGNITE and filed in the IGNITE Board of Directors book,” the bylaw in the Board Policy document reads.

Board Director Erika Caldwell, soon after The Post reporter was turned away at the Sept. 11 meeting, said on Instagram that meeting minutes would be posted on IGNITE’s website.

Either the Board of Directors did not pass the minutes during the October meeting, which would be highly unusual, or they have chosen to follow the policy memo that Perrone said was not accurate found on the Governance page. It states students need to get the minutes by contacting Perrone.

The contradictions have not been clarified by IGNITE.

The Avro Post has reached out to the student union for comment.

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