The University of Guelph-Humber’s two elected representatives on the Board of Directors held an information session on Wednesday where they deflected questions regarding student criticism over the Board’s alleged lack of transparency but clarified several of the bylaw amendments coming to a public meeting later in January.
Directors in September passed a series of bylaw amendments that will come before the student body at a Jan. 22 Special Meeting of the Members, where students can vote on the combined package of proposed changes.
The amendments include ending president and vice president elections in favour of a hiring process, giving the Board more unilateral power for future amendment approval and splitting the union’s membership into new classifications, among other items.
Since the Sept. 11 Board of Directors meeting, journalists have been unable to either find or access their meetings, because reporters were either barred at the door from entry or, because details were removed from the IGNITE website, unable to find the directors.
IGNITE’s bylaws state that directors have to vote in a majority to remove a student from a Board meeting. They also state that the exact time and location of the gatherings are to be posted on the student union’s website.
The Avro Post asked Directors Erika Caldwell and Julia Ciampa, who represent Guelph-Humber on the Board, what they knew about journalists being denied entry to their meetings and the pair largely deflected the question, saying they were unaware of the specific bylaws reporters were referencing.
However, Board Chairperson Neto Naniwombote and the Guelph-Humber directors offered some insight into a few of the amendments from the Leadership Lounge on the second floor of the university’s building where the “Politics and Pizza” event was held.
One of the amendments listed in the September meeting minutes stated that the “president term will be used for board chairperson”. It was previously unclear whether this meant a length of time or potentially the terminology.
Ciampa clarified that this meant that the chairperson, who is and would remain elected by their peers on the Board at the start of a new term, would be given the title “president”.
Caldwell revealed that IGNITE is considering making executive terms last two years, but said that “it is up in the air right now” and said this would likely be a decision made after the Special Meeting of the Members.
Questions regarding the process of how the amendments came about and whether the Board was unanimous in support of the changes were deflected, with Caldwell saying that would remain an internal, private conversation.
For the time The Avro Post’s reporters were present, at least seven other students stopped by to ask questions and learn more about the changes. The directors were largely focusing the single most significant proposed change: the end of executive elections.
Naniwombote, who also represents Humber College’s North Campus, said that he would be hosting a similar meet-and-greet session for his campus on Thursday and that details would be released by IGNITE’s social media. It is unclear if Lakeshore directors will also hold an event.
Reporting by Joelle Awad,
Eli Ridder; Editing by Eli Ridder