IGNITE on Friday published an agenda light on details for the upcoming Special Meeting of the Members within a post that listed just two of the seven bylaw amendments the student union will bring forward to members for final approval later this month.
Amid confusion and some backlash over the set of proposals, IGNITE said in the post that the amendments are “minor” and “will be in your best interest”. Full-time students will be able to vote on the propositions as a combined package at the Jan. 22 public meeting.
The amendment proposals 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.
The Board of Directors, made up of 10 elected students from Humber College campuses and the University of Guelph-Humber, passed the amendments last year at its September meeting.
In an update posted on the student union’s website without notice at some point on Friday, IGNITE states that “change means making strategic decisions that help students like you”, adding that the policy updates are to “align with the Ontario Non-for-profit Corporations Act.”
It is the first time that IGNITE has confirmed the bylaws coming to the Special Meeting, or SMOM, outside of highlights of the amendments found in the Sept. 11 meeting minutes. However, the agenda does not include all of the amendments elected directors passed last year.
Emelia Maceášik, who ran in 2018 to be a University of Guelph-Humber senator, questioned the changes and the description IGNITE gave them in their latest post. They asked: “Are the changes for the benefit of the students, or to benefit Humber College as a corporation?”
“How exactly are any of these minor, and if there is actual backlash then IGNITE should reconsider how they are communicating with students and address our concerns in an open and accessible way,” Maceášik, a fourth year psychology student, said in comments to The Avro Post on Saturday.
The SMOM will start at 11 a.m. from the Student Centre at Humber College’s North Campus. Much like the presidential forum of the 2019 election, it appears IGNITE will also simulcast the SMOM to the Student Centre at Lakeshore Campus.
IGNITE on Friday also released meeting minutes nearly a month late for November’s Board of Directors meeting. The records reveal that IGNITE lost North Campus Director Shawayne Dunstan, without going into specifics on why.
What are the changes?
A “summary of the proposed changes” listed by IGNITE in their Friday post included:
- the amendment to end executive elections in favour of a hiring process.
- the amendment divide members into the three classifications of part-time members, full-time members and full-time enhanced members. The “enhanced members” would be those students who opt-in to one or more optional fee at the beginning of the semester.
- a statement saying that the Board of Directors “will now be the face of IGNITE, rather than the executives”, which is not a formal amendment.
IGNITE did not include the other five formal amendments that were listed in the Sept. 11 meeting minutes. The directors also propose:
- giving the Board of Directors power to unilaterally pass amendments, without approval by members to come into effect.
- using the term “president” for the Board chairperson role.
- the executive director, IGNITE’s top staffer, overseeing the execution of documents.
- having an updated list of required agenda items for Annual Meetings.
- clearly defining mandatory and optional fees.
The agenda is posed on the student union’s homepage. Featured right below it as of Saturday is an Oct. 29 blog post that gives further explanation for ending the executive elections, a proposal that first came to light at an Oct. 4 press briefing.
It is unclear why IGNITE did not include all of the proposed changes in its post, or why the bylaw amendments were not included in the agenda itself. Student unions across Canada usually disclose more details ahead of member meetings.