Rainn Wilson coming to Humber College

Rainn Wilson, the actor who played Dwight Shrute on The Office will come to Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus in January 2020 for an in-depth look at his time on the popular TV series and to provide advice for students, as part of IGNITE’s Real Talks series.

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 we, as a global community, are facing for the foreseeable future. You can check out SoulPancake’s YouTube channel here.

Tickets for the event go on sale on Jan. 2 and will be $5 for Humber and Guelph-Humber students and $15 for non-Humber students and guests. Only one guest will be allowed per Humber/Guelph-Humber students.

Humber investigating after incident of anti-black racism

Humber College is investigating after an incident of anti-black racism occurred earlier this month at Lakeshore Campus where racial slurs were found in a male washroom, Dean of Students Ian Crookshank said in a statement sent out to students on Monday afternoon.

Crookshank, writing on behalf of the administration and the Student Success and Engagement team, condemned the slurs that were discovered on Dec. 5, calling the incident “against our value of equity” and unacceptable on Humber campuses.

“We are investigating the incident and will continue to develop action-based solutions to address the issue of anti-black racism on campus,” he added, saying Humber is “committed to creating an educational and social environment where equity, diversity and inclusion are celebrated”.

“I commit to all students, for any reason, to listen and work with you and the Student Success and Engagement team to understand how we might move forward as a community to continue to ensure that our campuses are places where all are welcome, feel they belong, and can be successful and safe.”

Crookshank offered several supports available to students in his email including the Black Academic Success and Engagement equity hub, known as BASE, the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre and the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity.

Tyler Thomas, a first year civil engineering student at North Campus, told The Avro Post that he is “saddened” by the incident and hopes that “people learn we are all equal”.

He added that “at this point in life I’m at right now things like that don’t hurt me as much as it used to”.

Dean Crookshank encouraged students to talk with each other and reach out through email or call his extension at ext. 5754.

“While we continue with an active response to this incident and in addressing the underlying issues that empower such behaviour in our community, I encourage you to connect with each other.”

Journalists make Board meetings ‘unproductive’, IGNITE says

IGNITE’s Acting Communications Director Unika Hypolite said that the “participation of a journalist has the potential to make [B]oard meetings unproductive” in recent comments to the Humber Et Cetera, also confirming clearly for the first time that journalists are not allowed.

Staff told the Et Cetera that journalist attendance at the meetings where decisions are made on the fees collected from students would be uncomfortable for the elected directors.

IGNITE recently cut off students from Board meetings, starting with the first one of the semester on Sept. 11, breaking their own bylaws. Because the student union has given at least two sets of conflicting rules regarding attendance at the meetings, it is unclear exactly what the procedure is.

The student union posted a memo on its Governance page after that first meeting saying that students would need permission from the executive director to attend. Executive Director then told Post reporters at the October press briefing that it is actually a vote by the democratically elected directors that block attendees from the meetings.

He added that the Governance page would need to be updated to more accurately reflect the true procedure.

The reason they do not want journalists or students in general at the meetings, officials say, is because there are oftentimes sensitive topics discussed that they do not want in the public eye.

At virtually every other student union in Ontario, Board of Directors meetings are open with the exception of moments when they vote to go “in-camera”, a portion of the meeting that is private.

When Post reporters asked about this technique instead of cutting off the meetings entirely, Hypolite said in October that the organization would “take it under advisement”.

If reporters were allowed inside the September Board meeting, the changes to the

IGNITE also plans to do away with executive elections should a package of bylaw amendments be passed at a January Special Meeting of the Members on Jan. 22, a new date reported by the Et Cetera after reporting earlier that it was taking place on Jan. 16.

Interviews with several current and former student union officials with Post reporters have revealed that the way IGNITE has been operating this semester is highly unusual and out of step with the majority of its national counterparts.

IGNITE officials in October cut The Avro Post off from requests for comment or interviews saying that the reporting carried out by the publication after an Oct. 4 press briefing was inaccurate. Stories since by the Et Cetera appears to confirm much of that reporting.


Journalists not allowed

On Oct. 4, IGNITE officials told The Avro Post that student journalists could attend meetings but they could be asked to leave in a majority vote of directors.

However, reporters have been unable to even find the meetings because the exact locations and times have been deleted from their previous location online, breaking IGNITE’s own bylaws.

Now, it appears that journalists will be permanently cut off from the Board.

If the bylaw package coming to the Special Meeting of the Members in January is passed, the Board’s new unilateral powers will allow them to make decisions without the public being aware until meeting minutes are posted.

Meeting minutes are approved at the next meeting and are supposed to be posted online. However, IGNITE has occasionally taken longer than usual to post them this semester.

Without journalists being at the Board meetings, executives being hired instead of elected and the only other public meetings taking place only annually, some are concerned that there will be a further lack of transparency in the organization.

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.

Top events on campus: Week of Dec. 1

This is our weekly round up of what we consider the top events that are happening at the University of Guelph-Humber/Humber College North Campus. All events on campus are free unless stated otherwise. 

Monday, Dec. 2

Humber Networking Event

The Humber students of the Fitness and Health Promotion will be hosting the 2nd annual networking event. This event will feature presentations from three alumni of the program featuring their academic experience and their current career path. Refreshments will be provided.

Time: 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Humber North
More information:
Eventbrite

Friday, Dec. 6

Humber Spin-A-Thon 2019

The department of Health Wellness and Science will be hosting the 10th-annual United Way Spin-A-Thon. Donations will be accepted for the United Way Organization. Refreshments will be provided and there will be prizes to be won.

Time: 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Humber North, Concourse E135
More information:
Spin-A-Thon 2019

Mental health resources are a tap away

There are a variety of websites and apps that will assist in students’ mental health and wellness throughout the school year and with exams approaching, stress levels are rising across the campuses of Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber.

Last Saturday was International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day and it was designated to those who have lost individuals to suicide. It was also a day to take a moment to realize the individuals that have attempted suicide in their life, who may have committed suicide and many whom have thoughts about suicide.

Suicide is a topic that is rarely approached due to the stigma around mental health and the lack of knowledge that society may have.

The Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre, or SWAC, provided The Avro Post with a list of websites and apps that students can have access to on their own time.

Crisis and general support consists of The Lifeline, which is an app that provides you with a good amount of numbers to call or websites to attend, 7 Cups, a website and app that provides you access to online listeners and therapists. As a warning, 7 Cups may be triggering to some because the listeners are not professionally trained.

Be Safe: You deserve help is also another app option.

When depression and mood support is required, Stigma is an option that Android users can use, Intellicare, an app that consists of 12 mini apps may come to benefit, and there are mood trackers like Mind your Mood, Youper or Emoods Mood Tracker.

Anxiety can be managed through the support of apps such as: Stop, Breathe & Think, Self-Help for Anxiety, Mindshift and B2R – Breathe to Relax. One app that can support both depression and anxiety is Sanvello.

For stress management, there are apps like Healthy Minds, Happify, Headspace (for students there is a subscription that only costs $10 a year) and Calm.

The first semester of a long academic year is coming to a close, but there are supports available for the inevitable stress that comes with it.

Administrations, unions give varied response to SCI ruling

On Nov. 21, the Ontario Divisional Court deemed the Ford government’s Student Choice Initiative unlawful and the reaction has varied from sending the optional fees website offline to waiting on the Ford government’s response.

On Monday, Nov. 25, the University of Toronto responded by being the first university in Ontario to email its students informing them that they would be freezing the “incidental fees portal” while they took stock.

In an email to students from Vice-Provost Sandy Welsh, University of Toronto students were informed that the school was evaluating the “technical impact” of the court’s decision, and that there would be updates to come. 

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In a graphic posted on their social media, Sheridan College said “Sheridan is monitoring the situation to see what course of action the government chooses to take. Until we receive a new directive, we’ll continue under the current one, which allows students to opt-out of paying certain fees.”

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Few other post-secondary institutions have posted a public update about the new evolution in the implementation of the province of Ontario’s “Tuition Fee Framework and Ancillary Fee Guidelines” document. [hyperlink: http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/pepg/mtcu-university-tuition-framework-guidelines-mar2019-en.pdf]

The University of Guelph has not released a statement yet, but administration has advised its student union, the Central Student Association, that large institutions can take time to implement legal decisions, and that figuring out mechanics with which to reverse the ”Student Choice Initiative” will take some time. 

While the government of Ontario has not yet commented on the releases, there is speculation that they are considering an appeal. In a statement on Friday November 22nd, spokesperson Clara Bryne wrote, “The Ministry of Colleges and Universities is currently reviewing the decision released yesterday. We will have more to say on this at a later date.”

Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario National Executive Representative, and the CFS representative in the legal proceedings, Kayla Weiler, said “we haven’t had any confirmation if there will be an appeal or not, and […] we’re hoping the government will respect the unanimous decision of the panel of judges and respect student democracy”

In its reasons, the Divisional Court said, “The University Guidelines [SCI] … are beyond the scope of the crown’s prerogative power over spending because they are contrary to the statutory autonomy conferred on universities by statute.”

Referring specifically to section seven of the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act wherein governments are prevented from interfering with the “normal activities” of student governing bodies – specifically the court ruled that “normal activities” the government is precluded from includes; “reducing or eliminating the funding used by student associations.”

Reporting by Jack Fisher; 
Editing by Eli Ridder.

U of G cannon becomes focal point in Hong Kong debate

A cannon known as Old Jeremiah on the University of Guelph has become a focal point of debate over a political crisis in Hong Kong, a city gripped by massive protests fighting against the influence of a dictator and standing for lasting democracy.

It was on the evening of Nov. 24 that students part of the Hong Kong Student Radio Association arrived at 9 p.m. to paint Old Jeremiah, a tradition at this university, with the words “stand with Hong Kong” and “free Hong Kong” in yellow paint on a black background.

Early the next morning, a Sunday, one side of the cannon was painted over in purple and later in the day the words “stand with Hong Kong” were scrapped off, according to what students told The Ontarion, an independent student newspaper at the university.

Also missing was a “Lennon wall”, a bristol board covered with messages supportive of Hong Kong’s democratic freedom. It was then that rumours spread pointing the blame for the new paint job was the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, The Ontarion reported.

Students from the Hong Kong Student Radio Association, or HKRA, said they painted Old Jeremiah once again with the same design from Sunday.

An argument occurred around 5:30 p.m. on Monday as students arrived to “guard” the newly repainted cannon, according to people familiar with what took place, as over two dozen people were ready to paint the cannon the red of the communist Chinese flag.

By 7 pm. on Monday Old Jeremiah was sporting a design resembling communist China, the mainland administration in Beijing that took back control of Hong Kong in 1997 from the United Kingdom.

Protests in Hong Kong started in June. Millions marched in the streets against an extradition bill that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China, ruled by the Communist Party.

Critics thought that this could “undermine judicial independence and endanger dissidents”, according to BBC reporting. The bill was removed in September under immense pressure from protests that sometimes turned violent.

Rallies continue in the streets of Hong Kong nonetheless, demanding a restoration of democracy and further investigation into the actions of police.

The debate taking place at the University of Guelph campus mirrors a larger, more dangerous skirmish happening at the same time in Hong Kong, where post-secondary campuses were for 12 days ground zero for some of the protests.

The Avro Post has reached out to the Humber Chinese Student Association for their take on the current tensions a world away and here in Canada.

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