What we learned from IGNITE’s information session

ANALYSIS

The new name of the executives, the source of the proposal ending executive elections and a lot of deflected questions — this is what took place at Thursday’s information session hosted by members of IGNITE’s Board of Directors and other officials ahead of the Special Meeting of the Members.

Who was present? For the time that The Avro Post had reporters present from 12 p.m. to about 12:50 p.m., Board Chairperson Neto Naniwambote and follow North Campus Director Eden Tavares were in attendance.

Who else? Guelph-Humber Director Erika Caldwell, who hosted her own similar event last week with her counterpart, Leadership Initiatives Coordinator Kristine Gavlan and Vice President Megan Roopnarine, who also represents Guelph-Humber.

So what did we learn? Probably the biggest story here is the constant deflections or, in most cases, the lack of knowledge the directors have about their own bylaws. When a reporter and a columnist with The Post pushed the directors present on some of the questions we had, they didn’t have much to say.

When it came to the question of IGNITE not allowing a Post reporter into their September Board of Directors meeting, going against a rule in what was then in their policies, Caldwell said she would not comment on previous events.

The second up to bat when it comes to big news items are the statements from Tavares and Gavlan that revealed it was IGNITE’s lawyer who was at least part of the initiative to end executive elections and hire students instead.

Tavares specifically said the lawyer “proposed” the amendment while Gavlan stated that the idea of ending executive elections had been “on the table” for some time, without specifying how long. The Post asked several times exactly how long the concept had been considered but Gavlan only answered that with a question: “Why do you want to know?”

We learned some new and exciting things about what the executives will become. First off, they will be called “Student Engagement Coordinators”. Secondly, there will only be three of them and the way directors explained it to The Post , there will no longer be a president-like role.

Thirdly, they will be hired regardless of campus, based on merit only. For example, if the three best candidates are from Lakeshore Campus, then they will be hired.

Finally, the student engagement coordinators will be hired via a panel that Gavlan said would include a representative from the Board of Directors and a member of the administration. The hiring group would be chosen in such a way to avoid conflict-of-interest. For example, staff that have worked with an applicant that was previously a director would not be part of the panel.

A reminder: a lot of these changes actually come down to a vote by students before they are set in stone. On Jan. 22 there will be a Special Meeting of the Members that any full-time student can go to and vote. Part-time students can go but cannot vote. All that is required is a student identification.

Part 1: Want to run for IGNITE?

ANALYSIS

It’s that time of year again when students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber are starting to ask the questions about running in IGNITE’s elections.

This is a quick primer on what exactly should be considered before getting started, how to prepare and what it takes to win — brought together by analysis of recent election history and interviews with past representatives. It is useful to both those brand new to student elections as well as veterans.

First off, you need to know that the options for elections will likely shrink. Dependent on a vote by regular students at a January Special Meeting of the Members, bylaw amendments could be passed that end elections for the president and vice presidents.

The most recent time that students voted against proposed changes was at a highly controversial meeting in the spring of 2014 when presidential election results were thrown out after a popular incumbent president was disqualified before voting could be completed.

Thus, if you were thinking of running for president or vice president, there is a chance you may not be able to. However, the positions will be be filled by hired students so if you want to apply through the hiring process, that is an option as well.

So, should you wish to campaign be elected into the student union, that leaves the Board of Directors. There are 10 directors this year, but there could be only nine seats up for grabs if no one wants the Orangeville director seat, which appears to only be available when one shows interest.

North Campus, with the largest population of students, has four seats on the Board. Lakeshore has three. Guelph-Humber has two. If there is a director from Orangeville, then there are 10 in total.

Those interested need to submit nomination papers. Then campaigns get underway middle to late February, running for around 10 days. During that time, candidates will be able to put up posters, hand out literature and participate in campaign events.

There are limits to how much a candidate can spend.

For the Board of Directors races, it is usually $100, however, this could potentially see a change when new bylaw amendments are approved in January, but there has been no confirmation because the amendments have not been detailed in full yet.

The presidential candidates could in previous years spend up to $300 and those aiming for the vice presidency of their respective campus could drop up to $200 on their campus.

Vague wording from the Sept. 11 Board of Directors meeting minutes state that the “president term” will be used for the chairperson of the Board. Since the student union has cut off The Avro Post, further requests for clarification went unanswered.

However, if the interpretation of that amendment is meant to define the chairperson as some new “president” figure — which falls in line with what IGNITE officials have been saying in recent months regarding making the Board the “face” of the student union — then possibly the position will be elected by a campus-wide vote instead of an internal Board vote.

There is no evidence to suggest this. But if it does happen, there could be a higher spending limit. Without executive elections, the Board would be more central to IGNITE elections than in the past, and spending limit changes could reflect this.

Other technical factors that need to be considered is that IGNITE election candidates need to be in good academic standing to participate. They also cannot be a president or executive of any external club or student organization. If the candidate is an IGNITE club president, they will have to step down.

But how do you win? The Post has spoken to several former candidates and successful student representatives to get the big ideas on how to win and they will be found in part two of this three-part series on IGNITE elections.

Briefing: Everything IGNITE since September

BRIEFING

Welcome to the Briefing, a new type of article that breaks down a story into a 100 word version, a 700 full-length edition and a point form analysis.

This Briefing is on everything going on with the governance of IGNITE, the student union for Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, since the beginning of the student year.


100 words

IGNITE is looking to make several changes to how the student union works. 

All of these changes will need majority approval from students at a January Special Meeting of the Members. They were previously approved by the Board of Directors in September.

The proposed bylaw amendments give the Board more unilateral power and end president and vice president elections.

The Board has been hiding the location of their meetings, breaking its own bylaws that specify that exact times and locations are to be posted publicly.

IGNITE recently cut off The Avro Post from press briefings, interviews and all media requests.


700 words

IGNITE has proposed several bylaw amendments to how its governance and operations function. Some of these changes have precedent elsewhere but many are uncommon for a student union.

All of these changes will need majority approval from students at a January Special Meeting of the Members, a meeting that any student can attend and have a vote on the changes as a unified package, but not individual amendments.

These amendments were previously approved by the Board of Directors in September. The meeting minutes only give the “highlights” of the amendments so it may not be all of the proposed changes, however.

The most outwardly noticeable change for students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber will be the end of executive elections.

The executive team is made up of the president, who represents all IGNITE members and each vice president, each representing either North Campus, Lakeshore or Guelph-Humber.

Another change that the Board wants to bring about is the ability for their decisions to come into effect immediately after majority approval at a meeting. However, an item approved will still need later approval at a meeting of the members.

If the members — all voting students — vote against the changes at the Special Meeting of the Members, it is unclear if the decision is applied retroactively or if the Board’s decision is simply repealed from the bylaws. 

Also, if students are unable to find the Board meetings and minutes are only posted a month later after they are approved at the next Board meeting, students would be unaware for at least 30 days that a bylaw had changed.

The Board did not post the meeting minutes from the May or September meetings until long after the October Board meeting, which, despite efforts from The Avro Post to find it, was hidden.

If The Post was able to enter the Board meeting in September instead of being told to leave in a unilateral move by a staff member, then this publication would have been able to report that these bylaws were passed by the directors.

There were some new items also passed by the Board and up for consideration by students in January including, but not limited to, new classifications of IGNITE membership, document execution being under the control of the executive director and a vaguely worded amendment specifying that “president term will be used for [B]oard chairperson”.

The new classifications come about because of the Student Choice Initiative and was expected. 

The top classification is “Full-Time Enhanced Members”, which appear to be those that opt-in to IGNITE fees, though there is no specification for those that only opt-in to some. 

“Full-Time Members” and “Part-Time Members” are those who pay only the mandatory ancillary fees. All three classifications are official members of IGNITE and so it is understood they will be able to still vote in elections and at special meetings.

It is unclear exactly what “executive documents being overseen by the executive director” means as an amendment but The Avro Post has reached out for comment from IGNITE for clarification.

Another hard-to-understand change is the “president term” being used for the Board chairperson. It is not clear via the meeting minutes whether that means the president’s term in regards to time or the terminology of “president” being applied to the chairperson.

Currently, the Board directors start and end their term at the same time as the executives so it would seem unusual for new amendments to specify that just the chair would have the same term timewise as the president.

It seems more likely that the chairperson position itself could be renamed to “president” to signify the Board’s importance from the student perspective, a goal that Executive Director Ercole Perrone and other officials have said they have committed to in the coming months.

These items will be flushed out in more detail at the Special Meeting of the Member and potentially press briefings that The Post will no longer have access to due to being cut off by IGNITE on Oct. 15 from press briefings, elected student representatives and all other media requests.

President Monica Khosla explained the main reason for this was because The Post inaccurately reported that the executive director, Perrone, said that IGNITE eventually wants to cut Board of Directors meetings off entirely from students that are members.

The Avro Post stands by the reporting as accurate. However, there is no plan in place at this time in the set of bylaw amendments headed to the special meeting in January to enact such a change.


Point analysis

Various points on the incoming bylaws:

  • Unilateral Board decisions: Also not unprecedented and appears to be utilized by other student unions. However, an ex-president of another student union said that changing bylaws are typically a move ratified by an AGM.
    • To note: Amendments will still be ratified by a meeting of the members — which are all students — with this proposal.

All these changes will be passed or not passed at a Special Meeting of the Members expected for mid- to late-January. If they are passed, they will come into effect, likely immediately.

If not, it is unclear if there will be need to be urgent Board action to come up with new proposals for the Annual General Meeting usually held near the end of the winter semester.

Federal race tight entering the final week of the campaign

ANALYSIS

With the Canadian federal election just over a week away, voters have now had a month to observe the campaign trails and familiarize themselves with this electoral seasons batch of potential leaders of the nation.

If you’re like me, you would have begun evaluating your options much earlier due to the tense nature of the political sphere and pressing issues of our modern world.

Early voting has already taken place on campuses across the country since Oct. 5, and the last day to vote will be on election day, Oct. 21.

The last election took place in 2015, where Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won 54 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons. Representing Canada during the past four years, national and global politics has become very divisive.

The Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party have elected new leaders in Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh respectively, in hopes to overtake Trudeau’s Liberals in this year’s election.

New entries also include the Bloc Quebecois current leader Yves-François Blanchet, and the newly formed People’s Party of Canada governed by former conservative Maxime Bernier. The Green Party is sticking with Elizabeth May who has been serving as leader since 2006.

But for now, let’s focus on the parties that are expected to obtain the most seats in this election: the Liberals, the Conservatives and the New Democrats.

It’s always easy to scrutinize the sitting party as their decisions, mistakes and dishonesty will undoubtedly receive national attention — and Trudeau has faced his attacks from both sides of the political spectrum.

From unpopular decisions such as the small business tax changes, scandals such as the SNC Lavalin affair, and criticism of his inability to take responsibility for his actions, all competing parties are hoping to pounce on this opportunity to win seats.

The Conservatives are expected to be the biggest competitor with new CBC polls giving them a slight edge of 140 seats to the Liberals 135 seats which wouldn’t constitute a majority but indicates a growth in opposing ideology.

This may also be attributed to the rise of Jagmeet Singh and the NDP who gained points on social media after his performance at the english language debates last week.

With the divisive nature of politics right now, the NDP and Conservatives may both steal seats from the Liberals as they are more pulled towards different sides of the “left vs. right” political spectrum.

Trudeau often points to Doug Ford and his unpopularity as premier of Ontario to deter voters from voting Conservative, while acknowledging that the rise in NDP popularity will make it easier for the Tories to win, stating “the only way to stop Conservative cuts is to vote Liberal.”

Things have been heating up during the campaigns, with a CBC analysis of press releases and tweets showing an increase in negative attacks from the Liberals, NDP, and Green Party.

This doesn’t quite match the data on the Conservative party that has put out the highest volume of negative attacks since the start of their campaign.

The Liberals are usually at the centre of the attacks, according to the CBC analysis, with the Conservatives pressing on taxes and affordability while the NDP, and Green Party are targeting the liberals environmental record. 

The Bloc Quebecois also seem to be playing a role as their polls in Quebec last week reached 27 per cent while Liberal support in Quebec dropped from 36 per cent in 2015 to under 34 per cent.

Though, the Conservatives aren’t immune to the division of votes as the PPC are expected to steal seats from the Conservatives. This is the first time a party with a more conservative ideology has entered the picture.

The numbers show a tight race but only election day will reveal who will form government and who could potentially hold the “balance of power”.

Conservative government likely as NDP rises: Polls

ANALYSIS

The Conservative Party moved ahead of the Liberals to take first place in terms of seat projection on Saturday, as the New Democratic Party rose to nearly 20 per cent in some polls — setting up the Tories for a likely minority government.

Jagmeet Singh and his NDP saw a boost following the official Leaders’ Debates on Tuesday and Thursday. Though the amalgamated Poll Tracker by the CBC finds the Tories and Liberals essentially tied near 32 per cent, the New Democrats have risen to an overall 15.8 per cent.

Reports across the country indicate the “#SinghUpSwing” is more than a hashtag, including right by Humber College’s North Campus in the riding of Brampton East, where The Hill Times reports there could be a significant breakthrough for the New Democrats.

The Liberals have suffered two major political affairs in the past year: the fallout of putting pressure put on the ex-attorney general to defer prosecution on SNC-Lavalin and the “brownface” scandal. Despite this, they were poised to snap a minority government.

This week, however, with gains by the Bloc Québécois threatening the Liberal strongholds in Quebec, the New Democrats building momentum in Ontario and the Tories shoring up support out west, Justin Trudeau’s chances of remaining prime minister are dropping.

CBC Poll Tracker late evening on Oct. 12, 2019.

The CBC finds that there is a 43 per cent probability of the Tories under Andrew Scheer forming a minority government, over 34 per cent for the Liberals. However, the pollster that manages the tracker, Eric Grenier, finds that if there is to be a majority, the Liberals are more likely to win it.

A “majority government” means that a party or coalition of governing parties hold an absolute majority of seats in the House of Commons and the leader of that party or coalition of parties is the prime minister. A coalition is when multiple parties team up to form a government.

If there is a minority government, then there could be a party or parties that hold what is known as the “balance of power”. This could mean a certain party joins in a coalition with another party or parties and votes with them or informally supports their government.

If the Conservatives win a minority, currently the most likely outcome of the Oct. 21 federal election, then the other parties could form a coalition to form a majority government and throw the Tories out of government. On the other hand, a party could join the Tories to create an absolute majority.

All these factors together with the unpredictability of the first-past-the-post parliamentary system, the tight race of the polls and the general uncertainty that comes with a federal election means that the result is essentially up in the air at this time.

Advanced polling has begun. Oct. 21 is election day.

IGNITE’s changing relationship with student journalists

ANALYSIS

IGNITE has been working to change its relationship with student journalists this fall by introducing a new way for reporters to request a comment or ask for an interview and have scheduled monthly press briefings.

The changes come as after the previous communications coordinator Peter Seney departed the student union with his replacement due to arrive after Thanksgiving.

During the Oct. 4 press briefing, the acting communications director told student journalists that they wanted to change how the relationship worked headed into the future.

Up until this point, the communications strategy of the student union was to largely ignore requests from The Avro Post. Even the student journalism’s newspaper, the Et Cetera, had issues in the past getting in contactt, according to two sources.

As pressure was mounting from the provincially mandated Student Choice Initiative, the dynamic changed. The Avro Post for the first time was invited into the North Campus offices to learn more about IGNITE’s plan for optional student fees.

There were two meetings in April. The Post’s Melissa Lopez and Arnold Samson were given access to Executive Director Ercolé Perrone that gave insight into how the student union was tackling the SCI.

After that, there were not many responses until August when a third Post reporter was allowed inside the offices for another interview with Perrone, where he gave more details on the student union’s finances and how North’s new Vice President Shay Hamilton was hired.

An analysis even found that IGNITE appeared to be changing their transparency policies to be more open. That was true until the night of Sept. 11, when a Post journalist was not allowed into a Board of Directors meeting, sparking a series of events that led to where we are now.

During that Board meeting, IGNITE posted a new policy on its Governance webpage, saying that only Board directors have “a right” to be at the meetings under provincial law.

While it was a legally sound statement, there was backlash over the ethics of cutting off students, which is what the statement appeared to indicate as it said students needed special permission from the executive director.

During the Oct. 4 press briefing, officials said the online policy had to be updated to reflect what the actual rules were. Perrone clarified that students could still go to the meetings but that student journalists would likely not be allowed in.

Perrone explained that Board directors could ask students to leave. The Post attempted to find the Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday evening but was unsuccessful as it was not held on the sixth floor of the Learning Resource Commons, where it was before.

IGNITE has removed the meeting time and locations from its Governance page. Thus, it is unclear how interested students are able to go without contacting the student union, which is the policy online that Perrone said is not accurate.

The Avro Post has reached out for comment regarding the times and locations of the Board meetings. Due to a web archive service, the last confirmed date that all the locations were posted online was Aug. 14.

At the time, the Wednesday meeting location was still “to be determined”, though most of the other meetings had locations set already for the upcoming academic year.

IGNITE has become faster at responding to requests since the Oct. 4 press briefing. The Avro Post will be conducting an interview next week, a result of a request made through the media form online.

However, it is unclear at this point what the future of the relationship will look like. Will reporters be allowed to ask any questions during press briefings or will the topics be controlled? What can be expected?

What to expect from IGNITE this year

Analysis

We are headed into another academic year, and, as is now tradition, The Avro Post will take stock of what we know about the current IGNITE administration and break it down for easy consumption so that you, the student or faculty, know what is likely to take place and what we do not know yet.

First off, it’s important to clarify that IGNITE is the student union that represents students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber. The union itself in its current form is relatively new but any current students may not know that as the class of 2019 was the last generation to have been around during the pre-IGNITE era.

Before IGNITE, there was the Humber Students’ Federation representing Humber students and also a rather laid back Guelph-Humber equivalent that had a representative at HSF. It left Guelph-Humber students feeling like they did not have a voice and so in 2016, IGNITE formally launched as the all-encompassing student union for all campuses.

This wasn’t fully realized until this spring, however, when the first representative in any capacity was installed for the Board of Directors from the Orangeville Campus, a small community based 100 k.m. away. It is widely understood that a new position was created for the sole interested candidate but that has yet to be confirmed by IGNITE.

This fall is historic in terms of student government on campus. It is the first year of the new Student Choice Initiative, which allows students to opt-out funding certain parts of IGNITE under the heading of student enhancement fees. It is also the second term of a first-ever incumbent president of IGNITE. 

And, it is the first year where typical three-to-four year program students will not remember a time before IGNITE’s existence as those who enrolled in 2015 graduated in the spring. This, of course, does not include those that have returned for a number of reasons, such as years off or post-graduate studies.

The big question of the fall will be the SCI. This change in the financial circumstances that could see IGNITE defunded to some degree was mandated by the provincial government of Premier Doug Ford as part of a package that cut tuition by 10 per cent while also cutting student loans.

IGNITE hasn’t fought this very hard. Some 5,000 postcards were sent to Queen’s Park that were signed by students last academic year. Beyond a photo op that pictured IGNITE President Monica Khosla in front of the parliament building, there is no proof anyone read these postcards or if they were just thrown in the garbage.

In comparison, the Canadian Federation of Students has taken the Ford government to court, allied with their members and specifically the York Students’ Federation. IGNITE has repeatedly denied to The Post that they would work with either CFS or the College Students’ Alliance, another group that has been vocal against the financial reforms.

We don’t know yet whether IGNITE will make public the results of the optional student fees, but it is assumed the impact will be felt throughout the year, depending on the number of students that opt-out. There are many, many factors that impact student decision-making on the opt-out, but IGNITE hasn’t bothered explicitly asking students to opt-in on their social media, which combined has over 8,000 followers.

We’re not sure what to expect, but Executive Director Ercolé Perrone told The Post in an exclusive interview earlier in the summer that they have been preparing for a potential 50 per cent opt-out as a worst-case scenario. Other student unions have confirmed similar numbers, including the University of Guelph’s Central Student Association, which is a member of CFS.

This could provide issues for students at the University of Guelph-Humber as IGNITE is primarily a college student union. There has previously been questions about the viability of IGNITE representing university students at Guelph-Humber. But that is a whole other story that won’t fit here.

Essentially, some things are up in the air when it comes to what IGNITE’s $55.95 worth of optional fees will be funded. This includes clubs, events, elections and more.

Normally, this type of overarching analysis would start with the platforms of the IGNITE executives and the goals of the Board directors. But it was important to first catalogue the unpredictability of the SCI before diving into campaign promises because the opt-out could have a drastic impact on the follow-through of the candidates, to no fault of their own.

Monica Khosla graphic by Caroline Champigny.

Let’s start with President Monica Khosla. Her platform items were extremely similar to the goals she campaigned on the year before: improving accessibility, increasing transparency and looking to better the environmental impact of campus.

She had one competitor to her presidency, but she was able to fend off Margarita Bader’s attempt in a less competitive contest than the previous year against Alisa Lim. Khosla had a lengthy debate with Bader where she laid out her strategic vision for a second term.

“I’m someone who’s super outgoing and very hard-working,” Khosla said at the time, explaining that she often “works out of office” and is so committed to good communication that she responds to inquires from students outside of usual hours. She has never responded to a TAP request for comment.

While wanting to continue the status quo, Khosla said she also wanted to still improve accessibility and build on her focus groups from the term previous.

Khosla noted that purchasing course materials “can really add up” and, like Bader, wants to consult with faculty to reduce unnecessary costs and says, if she is re-elected, she will look at alternative methods for textbooks.

On health and wellness, Khosla said IGNITE does a lot already but that there could always be improvements. She also called for more variety in events, something that was evident with an atypical Frosh this year, whether that was intentional or not. On the other hand, Wild ‘N Out is again returning.

Khosla said during the February election forum that she wanted to improve the learning done outside the classroom and improve it inside as well. She noted that some programs, such as Microsoft Excel, did not come back into regular use until later in her program, despite it being critical to her field of study.

“If I were to be elected again, I would be right in the middle of those conversations, I would question various stakeholders as to why they are choosing this skill over another skill and really find out what their reasoning is behind choosing a certain skill,” Khosla added, saying she is prepared to ask the “tough questions”.

It is unclear if she has started asking those “tough questions”.

The president also pledged to work on sustainability across campuses and to follow the IGNITE Strategic Plan, which was created with student input last year.

The Avro Post has sent multiple requests to interview Khosla via the communications director, who has now departed the position. There could be opportunity to ask questions directly on Oct. 16 during the Special Meeting of the Members.

Ryan Stafford, graphic via Caroline Champigny.

Ryan Stafford never responded to an in-depth interview request with The Post, and so his platform could only be gleaned from the three sentences he submitted to IGNITE. He was also not present during the Lakeshore election Mix and Mingle event in February.

He said during the campaign his top three items he wanted to advocate for were to “increase experiences and people that can enrich students’ lives”, “improve students’ health and wellness” and “help improve students’ financial security”.

There was no clarification on these items and requests for expanding in the ideas were not responded to via IGNITE’s public relations official. Stafford’s platform items exemplified the trend of similar ideas that are consistently brought to elections.

Often those that get specific with their platform items are told that they are unable to follow through on them, revealed earlier this year in a significant Et Cetera report.

It is unclear exactly what, if any, changes Stafford will make for Lakeshore and Humber College at large but there is not much to hold him to. Usually initiatives being carried out by executives become clear as the year goes on. More often than not, there is no correlation between campaign promises and any given executive’s time in office, with few exceptions.

Megan Roopnarine graphic by Caroline Champigny.

Megan Roopnarine is the candidate that told The Post she is honest and wanted at the time to bring “genuine change”. She was also the only candidate from the executive races that responded to and followed through on an interview request.

“I just want to make our school a better place and I know how to get there,” the Media Studies student said back in February during the campaign period. Her top three items were to improve the students’ academic experience, assist with improving student financial security and to make student lives on campus “more comfortable and enjoyable”.

Significantly, Roopnarine said she wanted to advocate, or specifically, “continue to advocate” for a second building under the banner of the University of Guelph-Humber. This pledge came only weeks after a GH360 story by a current Guelph Senator revealed a significant over-population problem at Guelph-Humber.

Nearly two years ago, a study was undertaken that looked at the potential break up of Humber College and the University of Guelph in regards to the Guelph-Humber initiative. It could see the relatively young university move elsewhere in Rexdale. The Avro Post has been contact with the Guelph administration over this ongoing consideration.

Roopnarine could be a bit more than a regular vice president of Guelph-Humber as she could be a part of the process of Guelph-Humber’s institutional evolution.

Shay Hamilton graphic by Caroline Champigny.

Then there is the third vice president. Shay Hamilton was hired by IGNITE over the summer after the elected vice president Simran stepped down less than two months into her term due to what President Monica Khosla called “personal reasons”.

Unlike the executives, Hamilton did not have to participate in a campaign period and thus no campaign pledges were made. Multiple attempts since she was hired to determine any objectives for her term have been ignored.

Though we have brought together all the platform items that we know of from the executives, there are always changes made to what eventually becomes their “initiatives”, the term IGNITE uses publicly to describe the goals of each president and vice president.

The eventual initiatives sometimes follow what the executive pledged during their campaign and sometimes the key issue they were elected on suddenly disappears without explanation from their platform. Often we find out why later on.

It is likely that we will learn more about each executives initiatives via social media, the upcoming Special Meeting of the Members or just by noticing what they are doing on campus. Many initiatives have had long-lasting impacts on campus, many of them considered very positive.

This includes the free menstrual kits, a legacy of ex-Lakeshore Vice President Alisa Lim, the pay-what-you-can soup bar from a previous administration and the accessibility changes championed by Khosla in her last and likely current term.

It remains to be seen everything that will come out of this year, but The Avro Post will be here to report it all impartially, break it down analytically and leave it to you to decide what you think.

IGNITE calls The Post a blog. Is it true?

The Avro Post recently learned that IGNITE calls our publication a blog, but what does that mean and what is the difference between blogging and reporting?

While both journalism and blogging both involve producing content and telling some sort of story, there are some significant differences.

The first significant difference is the process of how a story is written.

Bloggers tend to offer opinion and analysis and rely on news reports. They are often sitting at a computer and base their facts on the field work of journalists.

Journalists, however, tend to gather and report facts themselves, conduct interviews and bring together news stories. They pursue topics and dig for details.

“The journalistic process typically requires finding a fact or premise, and then determining the veracity of that fact or premise by verifying it with multiple sources before reporting and attributing it,” journalist Saleem Khan said on Quora.

Bloggers, on the other hand, has no requirements for such a process whatsoever and simply needs a home on the Internet where posts can be made and interacted with.

Now, this does not mean that journalists don’t blog. A more and more popular style of article is the “analysis” piece.

The analysis style may utilize the blogger model of linking, commenting and gathering the work of reporting into a piece, but the process of journalism style applies.

A good example from the CBC’s Aaron Wherryhttps://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeau-blackface-wherry-1.5291424.

The Avro Post has since day one, since its very first story, gone out to report on the news it covers on campus. Reporters have also taken the time to break down the stories through analysis, expert takes and more.

We are accountable to what we report. When mistakes are made, we publish corrections. We don’t report whatever we want and we follow processes, such as reaching out for comment or verifying information as much as we can.

The Post also follows the Canadian Press style, a guide to reporting in Canada when it comes to grammar, ledes, headlines and more.

If you have been following us for even a short time, you know the answer to the question the headline of this analysis asks. You know that we go out and report the story, using facts and that we seek to verify what we report to the fullest extent.

The Avro Post still stands as a strong representation of independent student journalism on campus and will continue to exist as a digital publication for the years to come.

‘Progress is made through open and honest conversation’ no longer

Analysis

This is a critical year for IGNITE, and student unions across Ontario, as now-optional student fees allow for students to opt-out of funding certain parts with their allotment of tuition fees.

Which is why it’s surprising when IGNITE on Wednesday informed one of our reporters that they were not allowed inside the meeting room because there was a policy change that dictated that the Board gatherings were no longer open to students.

Kristine Gavlan, the clubs coordinator with IGNITE, told our reporter that traveled over an hour to cover the meeting that she was not allowed to enter and that the website had changed to reflect that.

We did some research using the Wayback Machine, a service that catalogs websites by taking essentially a snapshot on any given day. The last catalog was on Aug. 14 and on the governance page it read: “Progress is made through open and honest conversation” while inviting any interested students to attend the meetings.

Between then and now it was removed from the website.

That doesn’t look good for a student union that has for year in and year out been accused of a major lack of transparency and is now asking for students to stay opted-in and fund their governance, events, clubs and more.

Whether it is not releasing a real line-by-line budget or ignoring the independent student press or attacking factual reporting, IGNITE has created an atmosphere some see as untrustworthy and unbalanced.

Others, of course, swear by IGNITE and the good work that staffers do throughout campus and the events that bring people together. However, the contention comes in largely when it comes to the student union’s record on transparency.

The problem here is that the Board of Directors handles what is normally the $11 million budget of IGNITE, made up of student fees that you pay, or now, potentially don’t pay. In other words, the Board blocking us also cuts us off from having a record of why and how a decision was made with that money.

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