Basketball great Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash

Basketball legend and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant died in a California helicopter crash on Sunday along with at least one of his daughters and seven others, reports and officials said.

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A fire broke out sending his Sikorsky S-76 helicopter spiralling out of an overcast sky above Calabasas and killing all five on board. It has been widely reported that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore is among the dead.

During a brief initial press conference on Sunday evening, authorities said that there were nine killed in the crash. Police received a call at 9:47 a.m. that a helicopter may have crashed, officials said.

The Bryants were on their way to Mamba Academy for basketball practice, reports say.

Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, said his agency and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating. Sikorsky says it is cooperating with authorities to find out the cause of the crash.

Photo of the crash scene via Twitter.

Bryant is survived by Vanessa, 37, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 17, Bianka, three, and Capri, sevens months.

The L.A. Lakers star is considered one of greatest basketball players of all time. He spent his entire 20-year National Basketball Association career with the California team.

Bryant, 41, won five championships and was an 18-time all-star. He is known for scoring 81 points in a single game.

The basketball great’s final tweet was sent out on Saturday evening, congratulating LeBron James for taking his position as third on the ladder in overall career points.

Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016 but began a new career in Hollywood. In 2018, he won an Oscar along with director Glen Keane for the animated short film “Dear Basketball”, the L.A. Times reports.

IGNITE Vice President Ryan Stafford, who represents Lakeshore Campus, posted a tribute to the basketball legend on his Instagram Story.

Obituary

The following obituary was posted by Reuters news agency:

“A transcendent star who went straight from high school to the game’s biggest stage, Bryant won five NBA championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers and was the face of the franchise during his 20-year career.”

“Bryant, a small forward and shooting guard, averaged 25 points during his career and twice led the NBA in scoring.”

“He was an 18-times NBA All-Star who wore the jersey numbers 24 and 8 – both of which were retired by the Lakers – and continued the ‘Showtime’ tradition of the storied franchise that has been home to the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.”

U.S. President Donald Trump called the development “terrible news”. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Bryant “will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes.”

An NBA game taking place at the time the news broke took a moment of silence and soccer superstar Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. made a “24” symbol with his fingers after scoring a goal on Sunday.

Jack Fisher: ‘I know IGNITE can do better’

OPINION

Jack Fisher
Contributor
The Avro Post
Our Opinion Policy.

I know well the stress that comes from hosting a public meeting as a student leader.

As the organizer of an event like the meeting IGNITE hosted on Wednesday, you know everything that’s going on, and your ideas and your stance seem so incredibly obvious to you.

However, just like so many other places, there are a lot of people that don’t know how to ask the right questions. Just like every comment section on the internet, you can scroll through all the good comments and praise, but the one thing that sticks with you is the negative and uninformed comments.

This stress and frustration tend to build up until there’s a whole flutter of butterflies in your stomach. Even if you’ve spent weeks planning something, its possible that your advertising doesn’t get out on time. You overthink whether you’ll achieve quorum, and you brace yourself for a barrage of uninformed questions and criticism that you imagine will turn into a personal attack as soon as your event is over.

This isn’t to say that I know this is how anyone on IGNITE was feeling on Wednesday morning, but I can imagine the tension that was behind the table on stage today at Humber College’s North Campus. I know the board has probably deliberated all the details for hours.

You could tell from the responses of the board members and chair that they had practiced their reasoning. They’ve been thinking about this for weeks, if not months. You could tell, because what the crowd got as answers was internalized jargon. We heard citations of the Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and confident assertions that the decisions were made in consultation with legal professionals.

All of this is to say that, from a student executive position, the Special Meeting of the Members went incredibly well. There was only about 15 minutes of questioning, everything passed as planned, and the meeting itself was exactly 30 minutes long with maybe 70 people in attendance — more than was required for quorum.

Unfortunately, knowing how I felt as an executive, also tells me that there is a philosophical difference between myself and IGNITE.

When I was on the University of Guelph’s Central Student Association executive as president, we hosted one public meeting of this kind; the Annual General Meeting. We put aside almost two hours of time to field student questions, our nerves were running rampant, because one of our biggest principles was transparency with our finances, and clarity of information about process and activity.

So often, student leadership can lead you to working in a small bubble where other people don’t understand what you’re doing or why, but it is so imperative for student unions to be clear, and patient.

I don’t think IGNITE is out to destroy the culture of Humber and Guelph-Humber. I’m sure they know the good work they’re doing. Working firsthand in student support is a self-made internal justification for the decisions you make.

What I saw during the Special Meeting of the Members was a group of students whose hearts may be in the right place, but they have not embraced the communication aspect that some students demand.

Culture of the school aside, I know IGNITE can do better.

I hope this new structure will allow the directors to be the liaisons that I didn’t see Wednesday. Like I said in a letter to the provincial government last year: “proper policy is not created by consulting only those that agree with you”.

The best we can do as student governments is to never stop asking questions, and always keep listening.

Proposed changes to IGNITE approved in student vote

Members of IGNITE — full-time students enrolled at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber — voted in a strong majority to pass a package of bylaw amendments proposed by the Board of Directors on Wednesday, approving plans to bring an end to executive elections and hand more unilateral power to the Board, among other items.

The Special Meeting of the Members was short and concise, lasting only 30 minutes. It started with a call to order before moving on to approvals of the agenda and the 2019 Annual General Meeting minutes, routine items that passed without objection.

The bylaw amendments, previously passed by the Board at its September meeting, were read to an audience of over 30 voting members in the North Campus Student Centre and to another approximately 25 watching from Lakeshore and Orangeville via a live stream.

The four executives — made up of a president and three vice presidents from each major campus — will be replaced with student engagement coordinators that will carry on a similar role and be hired via a panel that will include both directors, staffers and officials from Humber and Guelph-Humber, depending on the candidate.

The Board of Directors, made up of student representatives from each major Humber College campus and Guelph-Humber, will continue on as elected on a year-to-year basis.

Questions that arose largely centred around the fate of executive elections and the reclassification of students into different categories based on their opt-in decisions. Both students and reporters asked questions to the four directors and President Monica Khosla on stage.

Wednesday was the first time that the public received a more in-depth, formal summary of the bylaw amendments. A four-page document, for the first time, outlined the exact changes to the structure of the organization that will be carried out now that they are approved.

IGNITE maintains that the changes are both “in the best interests of students” and better align the student union with the Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

When it came to a vote of the members, a large majority of students raised their hands when Board Chair Neto Naniwambote asked who was in favour of passing the changes. When he asked who was against, it appeared less than 15 members across all campuses showed opposition.

The public meeting came to a close with six new bylaws in place, a number different than the seven recorded in the September meeting minutes when they were first passed.

Beyond cancelling executive elections, the changes will hand the Board of the Directors the ability to pass bylaw amendments that are applicable immediately without needing member approval until the next public members meeting.

If the larger student body votes down an amendment previously passed by the Board, directors said in response to reporters that there would be a retroactive rollback of the changes and its impacts.

IGNITE will now break students into three classifications of part-time, full-time and “full-time enhanced” — for those that opt-in to at least one of IGNITE’s optional fees.

The summary released at the Special Meeting on Wednesday also clarified the change in regards to the execution of documents. Because there will no longer be a “president” position starting in April, documents that need the signature of an IGNITE executive will be passed to the executive director — the top staffer of the student union — or by a designate chosen by the elected directors.

Wednesday also saw the end of the term “Constitution” that was used to describe the student union’s document of bylaws. Now they will simply be titled as the ‘By-laws.”

The amendments also included more details on the clarification between the mandatory and optional fees. Over a year ago, the provincial government introduced the Student Choice Initiative, mandating that certain fees paid by students were to become optional as of the 2019 fall semester. IGNITE has now classified these fees formally as “Mandatory IGNITE Fees” and “Optional IGNITE Fees”.

Also included in the changes was the change to the format of Member Meetings. Instead of presenting items to be approved ahead of a meeting such as the one on Wednesday, IGNITE will present, approve and ratify proposals all within the same day.

It was an update made on the “recommendation and request of IGNITE’S lawyer” that Wednesday’s agenda claims keeps with “industry standards” and “best legal practices for compliance with the Ontario Non-for-profit Corporations Act 2010.”

Confusion by some

There were over 30 students gathered at North while about 25 sat in Lakeshore’s K Building to participate in the proceedings. Orangeville Campus also had students watching remotely but it was not immediately clear the number of those participating.

Those present that voted included IGNITE officials not on stage, friends of the directors or executives, students who were aware of the proceedings ahead of time and others that popped in as they were passing by in the Student Centre.

Because there was a limited promotion period for the Special Meeting and not all seven amendments being proposed were posted by IGNITE ahead of Wednesday, Information Technology students Preetkamal Singh and Bhumi Shah told The Avro Post that they were completely in the dark over what was taking place.

“It was confusing for us because we’re new here” Singh said, adding that the pair would have to “go home and have to read” about what took place. The first-year North Campus students added that they chose not to vote as they were not clear on the specifics of the amendments.

Jack Fisher, who was last year a student union president at the University of Guelph, said in comments to The Post that he was “shocked by the speed of the meeting” and the rushed question period that nearly saw students cut off as officials attempted to move the amendments forward to a vote.

“It’s obvious that transparency to the student body is not high on their list of priorities” Fisher, who is now journalism post-graduate student at Sheridan College, added.

“My biggest question is ‘what’s next?'”

Reporting by Eli Ridder, Joelle Awad;
Files from Kristy Lam; Editing by
Eli Ridder.

Timeline: Live reporting from the SMOM

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IGNITE’s Board of Directors will propose seven bylaw amendments at a Special Meeting of the Members, seeking approval from the students they represent from Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber to end executive elections and hand over more unilateral power to the Board, among other items.

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Lawyer partially behind end of executive elections, says director

IGNITE’s Eden Tavares, an elected representative on the Board of Directors, told The Avro Post during an information session on Thursday that the proposed amendment to end executive elections in favour of a hiring process was, in part, initiated by the student union’s lawyer.

After a reporter and columnist from The Post pressed for an answer several times, Tavares revealed that IGNITE’s lawyer “proposed” the amendment included in a package that was passed by directors at a Sept. 11 meeting. The proposed change will need approval by the student body at a Special Meeting of the Members later in January.

File photo of Eden Tavares via IGNITE.

The question over the origin of the specific bylaw amendment was first asked to Leadership Initiatives Coordinator Kristine Gavlan, who said that the student union’s lawyer was “supportive” of the move but stated the idea of ending executive elections “was on the table” for some time.

When asked how long specifically the amendment was in the works, Gavlan declined to give a time-frame. The amendment ending executive elections was passed at the second meeting of the 2019-2020 term of the current Board, meaning that if the idea of hiring executives was in the works for some time, it was likely carried over from a previous year.

It is not the first time that significant changes to the student union have originated with a different administration from the one at the helm when an initiative comes to fruition. Former Vice President Jeremy Alfonso told reporters last year just before his term ended that the reason his central campaign goal of bringing back an alcohol-serving bar back to North Campus never came to fruition was because the pay-what-you-can soup bar was prioritized in a previous IGNITE administration.

Alfonso was not the only executive in IGNITE’s history to have his campaign promises shut down without at least immediate explanation to the student body. Maheen Nazim campaigned on creating an IGNITE app that would include functions such as informing users how full a parking lot was. All of the initiatives brought forward have to be approved by the Board of Directors, as they sit at the top of the student union.

Is it this issue of campaign promises getting sidelined by larger objectives set by the student union that is part of the decision to end executive elections, officials have maintained. Additionally, Gavlan confirmed that the terms for the hired executives — to renamed “student engagement coordinators” if the amendment is passed on Jan. 22 — would be two years. Caldwell said last week that the two-year term proposal was “up in the air”.

Gavlan explained the longer term length for the coordinators would aim to bring more consistency to the role they hold within the organization, which is focused on operations and carrying out the Strategic Plan as a whole and year-to-year initiatives. By installing a longer term, the students that are chosen will have the time to adjust and grow into the role, Gavlan added. Current President Monica Khosla will, by April, have served two full terms.

The most-used reasoning repeated by officials for taking the hiring route is so that the best qualified students fill the roles, instead of what they call a “popularity contest”. IGNITE joins at least two other student unions in Ontario, including the Sheridan Student Union, by taking this direction.

The revelation on Thursday that a lawyer for IGNITE played a significant role in initiating a bylaw amendment process could lend further credibility to the claim made last year by two former student officials that the priorities of paid staff or third parties could override or have a major influence on the decisions made by elected student representatives.

The amendment to end executive elections and other policy moves being made by the student union to cut off Board of Directors meetings are part of a process to move IGNITE towards a more corporate future that officials claim is in the “best interest” of students and align the organization closer with the Ontario Non-for-profits Corporations Act.

Reporting by Eli Ridder,
Christian Aguire; Files
from Joelle Awad

Directors deflect questions over transparency, clarify amendments

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

Rainn Wilson visit postponed

A 2020 visit to Humber College by Rainn Wilson — who played Dwight Schrute on The Office — originally scheduled for January has been postponed due to an “unforeseen conflict with his production schedule”, IGNITE said in a statement posted on Friday.

“We appreciate your patience as we work towards a new date,” the student union, which has scheduled the actor as a guest for its Real Talks series, posted to its Instagram Story, adding that any updates will be published on IGNITE’s social media and on its website.

Although The Office has been off the air for a few years at this point, the legacy of Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. still has a strong grip on pop culture and television as a whole.

The jokes of Dwight Schrute, Michael Scott, Jim Halpert, Pam Beasley and all of the wild and wacky employees from Scranton, PA can still be heard quoted both in-person and online.

Wilson won the SAG award for Performance in an Ensemble Cast for comedy series for The Office in 2004, 2007 and 2008 which he shared with his costars of the show.

In the time since The Office left TV, Wilson has founded the website and YouTube channel SoulPancake. The channel tackles the human experience and focuses on those who have the ability to change the world.

Wilson has also been part of numerous movements that focus on the betterment of the planet and has recently switched to a vegan lifestyle. He was involved with Justin Wu’s UN Climate Change project in order to bring aware to the crisis that the global community is facing for the foreseeable future.

Tickets for the event were to go on sale on Jan. 2 and would have been $5 for Humber and Guelph-Humber students and $15 for non-Humber students and guests. Only one guest would have been allowed per Humber or Guelph-Humber student.

Reporting by Nicholas Seles;
Editing by Eli Ridder.

Humber acknowledges testing delays

Humber College on Monday acknowledged Testing Services delays that have caused some student backlash.

“We appreciate your consideration and patience as Testing Services approach peak service demands over the next two weeks,” from Dec. 9 to Dec. 18, the college said.

“Humber is committed to reviewing these service challenges, we recognize the impact this has on our learners and encourage students reach out as needed.”

One North Campus student told The Avro Post that she spent three and a half hours to write her exam on Monday.

Eco Closet holds shopping event

The Eco Closet held a shopping event at Humber College on Wednesday hosted by second-year Fashion Arts and Business students that saw students take over the Student Centre at North Campus.

The students sold clothing, shoes, and accessories that fit the professional business attire for professional young adults to wear at job interviews, internships, and other activities that require a more professional wardrobe for their future careers.

The event promoted sustainability, social responsibility and connection to the environment, while benefiting your wallet because everything is priced between $2 to $8. 

Organizers said the event was for a great cause as the staff, faculty and students donate their gently used clothes, dresses, skirts, sweaters, tops and accessories with the money raised going to Youth Without Shelter, a charity close to North Campus.

The Eco closet event offered a variety of action with giveaways and raffles, hair and makeup, LinkedIn headshots, and guests including artists, influencers, and designers anticipated to join Humber College students. It is a chance to get styling tips and gain insight on sustainable fashion and how it’s benefitting our world and the fashion industry. 

“This event has reinforced what we have been learning in class, as well as encouraged teamwork and collaboration, and highlight the importance of sustainability – especially in the Fashion Industry.” says Carrisa Selbie, a fashion arts student who is a project manager for the Humber Eco Closet. 

The David Suzuki Foundation has donated to the Eco Closet as they work to conserve and protect the natural environment, and help create a sustainable Canada. This is a honorable moment for Humber College students as they align with an environmental activist.

“Since this is the second annual Eco Closet, we had some idea of what to do, however we were able to customize it to the way that we wanted the event to run,” Selbie said.

Selbie says they had 12 weeks to completely plan the Eco Closet in their event planning and budgeting class. She explained the process of being voted for the position of a Project Manager for the Eco Closet by being dividing into class of 60 students into six teams, and she was lucky to have been picked .

“It was definitely rewarding to execute this event and I believe I’ve chosen the right program for me.” 

“We collaborated with many of the programs and resources that were available to us at Humber. We also reached out to people outside of Humber to contribute as sponsors, influencers, and media.” 

It was an opportunity to find business attire on a budget and “reward your closet”.

Students said this was an essential event in our community and hopefully the students at Humber College continue to push for a greater change and keep helping the environment. 

Reporting by Anum Qasir.

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