How a November meeting finalized the end of open Board meetings

On the evening of Nov. 13, two reporters from The Avro Post peered over the edge of a railing on the second floor inside the University of Guelph-Humber’s building on North Campus, scoping out the conference room on the main floor where a Board of Directors meeting was scheduled to take place.

At least it was scheduled for the room before IGNITE took down the exact location and times for the meetings last year ahead of the fall semester’s first Board meeting in September. This was before the student union’s acting communications director told the Humber Et Cetera in December that reporters would no longer be allowed inside the meetings.

Knowing the importance of what takes place at the meetings, Post reporters were determined to at least try to find where the directors were gathering. In the end, it was unclear if the directors were in the room, and the student reporters departed soon after.

After September’s meeting minutes revealed the extent to which IGNITE planned to make significant changes to its governance structure and other aspects of how it operated, it solidified even further how critical the Board gatherings were. Officials said in October that reporters, and students at large, should not be allowed inside the meetings so that directors could speak freely and be “frank” about sensitive subject matter.

Typically, other boards across the province go “in-camera” should there need to be a section of the meeting in private. IGNITE has the same option buried in its Constitution, but it has apparently not used it in at least a year.

At an Oct. 4 press briefing, officials told reporters from the Humber Et Cetera and The Avro Post that they planned to move IGNITE in a more corporate direction, which included phasing out student attendance and only having directors at Board meetings, a move unprecedented across student unions in Ontario and beyond.

Just days later on Oct. 15, The Avro Post was cut off from asking for interviews from elected representatives and media requests, with IGNITE claiming that we had inaccurate reporting, chief among them that the student union planned to cut off students entirely from the Board meetings.

However, the November meeting minutes reveal that the directors approved a policy that says “board meetings are strictly for board members” — cementing a policy it appeared to have been using all semester, that, up until the policy was approved in November, was breaking its own bylaws.

Even then, it is unclear if the Board was allowed to unilaterally pass such a resolution without approval from members at a Special Meeting of the Members.

The Avro Post has reached out for comment from IGNITE.

What came forward on Nov. 13?

Out of the several items that were listed among the records from the November Board of Directors meeting, the most significant one was the revelation that IGNITE was working with Humber College to create a Testing Centre phone app to cut down on wait times.

The minutes state that the student union is “currently working” with the college to create an app “to cut down wait times and registration process during peak times of the year”. Though the meeting was before the end of the fall semester, test centre wait times resulted in a wave of complaints from students in December.

The initiative to cut test centre times is one of the objectives Vice President Shay Hamilton listed to The Avro Post in an interview last year, after she was hired as a replacement after her predecessor stepped down due to personal reasons. 

The project is just one of five listed as part of an “Executives Initiatives Update” given at the meeting by Executive Director Ercole Perrone on behalf of President Monica Khosla.

The update included new details on the campus-wide effort to bring a Presto machine to campus, an effort that IGNITE deemed “cost prohibitive” at the time. It was later that month when Metrolinx officials confirmed to The Avro Post that a Presto machine would be coming “early in the New Year”.

As a continuation of Khosla’s efforts to improve accessibility over two terms as president, Perrone said in his initiatives update that the student union is working to turn “last year’s accessibility themed feedback”, which included in-person focus groups and an online survey, “into an action plan for key stakeholders/departments on campus”.

A fourth initiative update was on IGNITE’s LinkedIn Local events, which aim to build up networking and improve profiles on the social media website. Though “attendance reached capacity of the venue”, not many students were physically present, according to the minutes. Perrone said that strategies to tackle the drop off in attendance will “be reviewed.”

The fifth highlight of the initiatives written into the meeting minutes brought up the free IGNITE SkillsCamp event, which was set to take place two days after the Board meeting on Nov. 15. It was a full day session that offered to teach students skills for networking and job interviews.

Society executive positions open for Guelph-Humber

Executive positions have opened for University of Guelph-Humber societies.

To apply for one of the volunteer positions, students are asked to visit GHWorks and search for Job ID #9685.

All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 1.

There are over 80 positions available, according to the application advertisement.

Humber Test Centre app in development

A phone app for Humber College’s Test Centre is under construction, according to IGNITE Board of Directors meeting minutes released last week, an initiative championed by Vice President Shay Hamilton.

The Nov. 14 meeting records state that the student union is “currently working” with the college to create an app “to cut down wait times and registration process during peak times of the year”.

Though the meeting was before the end of the fall semester, test centre wait times resulted in a wave of complaints from students in December.

The initiative to cut test centre times is one of the objectives Vice President Shay Hamilton listed to The Avro Post in an interview last year, after she was hired as a replacement after her predecessor stepped down due to personal reasons.

The project is just one of five listed as part of an “Executives Initiatives Update” given at the meeting by Executive Director Ercole Perrone on behalf of President Monica Khosla.

Presto ‘cost prohibitive’

During the initiatives update, Perrone told directors that “a Presto machine on campus resulted in being cost prohibitive”, revealing apparently for the first time that IGNITE, at least in part, would fund a transit reload machine on campus.

The minutes say that IGNITE requested if the machine could be administrated through the bookstores on campus, but Metrolinx deemed this not an option, according to Perrone.

“Discussion and strategies then expanded into ways to improve the Presto app itself,” the minutes add. The Presto update concluded with the executive director saying that IGNITE, Sustainability Humber and Metrolinx would continue negotiations.

However, all of this took place before an exclusive report from The Avro Post on Nov. 24 revealing that Presto machines were excepted to come to Humber College’s North and Lakeshore Campuses by early 2020.

The current status of the machines are unclear. Multiple requests for the latest information to Metrolinx and Humber College have gone without any update.

2020 Oscar nominations announced

After a competitive season of movies and excitement, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced the complete and final list of nominees for the 92 Academy Awards.

As 2020 kicks off with a lacklustre January for films, the Academy has offered up their final list of nominees for the Oscars in February. As expected, movies like Joker and Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood are up for a number of awards, including best picture. You can see the full list below.

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
Little Women

Marriage Story

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

South Korea, Parasite
Spain, Pain and Glory
France, Les Miserables
North Macedonia, Honeyland
Poland, Corpus Christi

In The Absence
Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl)
Life Overtakes Me
St. Louis Superman
Walk Run Cha-Cha

American Factory
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama
The Cave

“Into The Unknown”, Frozen II
“I’m Standing With You”, Breakthrough
“Stand Up”, Harriet
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”, Rocketman
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away”, Toy Story 4

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Toy Story 4
I Lost My Body
The Missing Link

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
The Two Popes

Marriage Story
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
Knives Out

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Reneé Zellweger, Judy
Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Phillips, Joker
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
Sam Mendes, 1917

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
The Lighthouse

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
Little Women
The Irishmen
Jojo Rabbit

Ford v Ferrari
Star Wars, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
Ad Astra

Dcera (Daughter)
Hair Love

Nefta Football Club
The Neighbour’s Window
A Sister

Thomas Newman, 1917
Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker
Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
Randy Newman, Marriage Story
John Williams, Star Wars, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Avengers: Endgame
The Lion King

Star Wars, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
The Irishman

Ford v Ferrari
Jojo Rabbit
The Irishman

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Sussex royals to split time between UK, Canada

Following crisis talks in Sandringham on Monday, Queen Elizabeth said she gave her blessing for Prince Harry and his wife Meghan to embark on a more independent future, announcing that the Sussex royals will split their time between Canada and the United Kingdom.

“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family,” the queen said.

The Sussex couple made a shock announcement last Wednesday that they would be stepping back from royal duties and spend more time in North America. Harry and Meghan spent six weeks in Vancouver at the end of 2019.

Shawayne Dunstan departs IGNITE’s Board of Directors

Records from November’s monthly meeting of IGNITE’s Board of Directors released on Friday revealed that Shawayne Dunstan had departed his role as a director representing Humber College’s North Campus, with the second year confirming to The Avro Post on Sunday that he left due to personal reasons and academic stress.

“S. Dunstan is no longer a member of the board in accordance with article 5.9 of the By-laws,” the Nov. 13 meeting minutes read. Bylaw 5.9 states a variety of reasons for a director to be removed, from the student dying to their academic status, so it was initially unclear what was behind Dunstan’s departure.

However, Dunstan, who will graduate from Restaurant and Hotel Operations Management in the spring, later told The Post in a statement that “a few personal circumstances that came back to back as well as the stress of school prevented me from attending the meetings and operating effectively, therefore I took a step back from the role.”

In response to a question seeking clarification, Dunstan emphasized that he left the position of his “own accord”. Dunstan, who is a published author of poetry, added: “I am thankful to have been voted in by my fellow peers and I am dedicated to being involved as much as I can throughout the school as I finish off my final semester.”

After speaking with The Post, Dunstan published a statement on his Instagram Story where he encouraged others to “make a difference” and to take inspiration from his successful campaign, saying he managed to acquire the position “without any posters and minimal promotions” and instead relied on “connecting with students”.

Dunstan was acclaimed in the 2019 IGNITE elections when four candidates ran for an equal number of seats representing North Campus on the Board of Directors. Then a first year, Dunstan claimed second place with 1,217 votes.

The second year has departed as the student union prepares to undergo major changes should students approve them at the Jan. 22 Special Meeting of the Members.

Dunstan and his former counterparts on the Board voted in September to pass a set of bylaw amendments that will end executive elections, give more unilateral power to the Board and more should students approve the items as a package at the Special Meeting, or SMOM.

IGNITE posts agenda ahead of Special Meeting

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.

‘Chucky’ series ordered by Syfy

Don Mancini and David Kirschner will bring their murderous doll to television for a series set within the original film timeline.

After a series of lower budgeted films that were direct-to-video releases, Don Mancini and David Kirscher, the creators of the original Child’s Play and character of Chucky, are bringing the killer Buddy doll to Syfy for a series. The series was officially announced on the TCA winter press tour during NBCUniversal’s presentation.

Mancini told Deadline, “I’ve long wanted to bring Chucky to television and Syfy is the perfect network for us. The show will be a fresh take on the franchise, allowing us to explore Chucky’s character with a depth that is uniquely afforded by the television series format, while staying true to the original vision that has terrorized audiences for over three decades now.”

The series is set in the original franchise which will exclude the recent 2019 remake which saw Mark Hamill voice the psychotic doll. When a Buddy doll mysteriously turns up at a garage sale, a quiet American suburb is thrown into chaos as Chucky runs rampant. Fans can expect to see Chucky’s enemies, and allies, throughout the series. Whether or not this refers to characters like Andy Barclay or Tiffany is yet to be announced.

There’s no word yet on whether or not Brad Douriff will return to voice Chucky.

Chucky does not yet have a release window.

IGNITE Real Talks features NBA player Serge Ibaka

IGNITE has been promoting the next Real Talks event taking place Saturday featuring NBA player and champion Serge Ibaka.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the event to start at 8 p.m. in the A/B auditorium at Humber College Lakeshore Campus and is open to both Humber and University of Guelph-Humber students. Students are allowed one non-Humber or Guelph-Humber guest.

Seating will be limited resulting in a first come, first serve basis. Once seating is full, there will only be standing room available.

Students must present their Humber or Guelph-Humber student ID or class timetable and photo ID for admission. Each guest must present their own pre-purchased ticket and photo ID.

The event page says the Real Talks discussion will focus on Ibaka as well as discuss topics such as persistence, chasing opportunities and career growth.

Ibaka, 30, currently plays power forward for the Toronto Raptors. Ibaka won an NBA championship with the Raptors in 2019. Ibaka is also the first player from the African country of the Republic of Congo to play in the NBA.

Ibaka has a popular Youtube channel which features the well known food series How Hungry Are You? and his fashion-focused series AVEC CLASSE.

Ibaka is also the founder of the Serge Ibaka Foundation, a non-profit created to focus on health and education for both the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ibaka has produced two documentaries. The first being Son of the Congo, which tells his story of escaping poverty and violence in Congo to become an NBA superstar. The second being Anything is Possible, which follows Ibaka as he brought the Larry O’Brien trophy home to the Congo.

The first 50 people through the doors will get a photo op with Ibaka himself after the event. Student and guest pictures will be taken together and not individually.

Students interested can still purchase tickets for $5 via Eventbrite, and can bring a guest for the cost of $15.

Iran admits it shot down Flight PS752

After repeatedly denying Canadian and allied accusations that it shot down Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752, Iran announced on Saturday morning local time that it had “unintentionally” shot down the passenger jet in a move that killed all 176 aboard, including 57 Canadians, claiming it mistook the Boeing 737 aircraft for a “hostile target”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Thursday that Canada had gathered intelligence from multiple sources that indicated the “plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile”, a move he said “may well have been intentional”. Trudeau’s assertion followed several media reports earlier in the day that pointed to the United States taking the same position.

After Iran’s admission, Trudeau on Saturday morning said “we will continue working with our partners around the world to ensure a complete and thorough investigations, and the Canadian governments expects full co-operation from Iranian authorities”.

Because Canada does not have formal diplomatic ties to Iran, Ottawa has experienced some struggles in offering consular assistance to families of the 57 Canadian victims, a number that has dropped from the previously reported 63 after Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne updated the total on Saturday.

The plane was shot down early on Wednesday morning just hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq that housed U.S. forces in retaliation for Washington’s strikes near Baghdad that killed Iran’s top commander Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani. No Western troops were harmed in Tehran’s attack, a move that was reportedly intentional.

A statement from Tehran carried by state-run media said Flight PS752 was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned towards a “sensitive military centre” of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, The Associated Press reported on Saturday. Iran’s military was at its “highest level of readiness” the statement read, amid heightened tensions with Washington.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed “US adventurism” for the incident, according to a translation on Twitter. Zarif, however, offered “profound regrets, apologies and condolences” to those impacted while President Hassan Rouhani stated “Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement that the investigation should continue and this responsible should be brought to justice, demanded Iran compensate victims’ families and requested formal apologies. Tehran did say on Saturday that those behind the attack would be prosecuted.

Of the 167 that died, 57 were Canadian but over 100 had Canada as their final destination, Global Affairs Canada said earlier this week. The aircraft was headed for Kiev and also carried citizens of Iran, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Many of the Canadians who were killed hailed from the academic community, with nearly two dozen universities and colleges impacted. Humber College told The Avro Post on Friday that it was unaware of any ties to the flight.

Neil Peart dead at 67

The drummer and lyricist to the Canadian rock band, Rush, died on Jan. 7 from brain cancer.

Rock legend Neil Peart of the Canadian band Rush has died in Santa Monica, California after a battle with brain cancer. The death of the iconic Canadian musician and lyricist was confirmed by the rock band’s media spokeswoman Meg Symsyk, and reported by CBC news.

Peart originally retired back in 2015 after the band’s final Clockwork Angels tour in 2013. Peart was known for his prowess on the drums and incorporating a number of styles into his playing.

As more details become available, The Avro Post will update.

Canada could play role in Sussex exit plan

After Prince Harry and his U.S. wife Meghan — officially the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — gave a surprise announcement earlier this week that they would be stepping back from royal duties, the British monarchy aims to sort out an exit plan for the couple that could include Canada.

The royal pair shocked the queen and other Windsors on Wednesday when they released an Instagram statement saying they wanted to lead a more independent life, both financially and physically, in a move British press dubbed “Megexit”.

The Sussex’s said that they would split their time between Britain and North America to allow them and their baby son Archie the space they needed.

The prince has long expressed his anger over the treatment he and his wife have received from media tabloids. Reporters will be restricted in future engagements with the couple, their statement said.

Many reports stated that Queen Elizabeth and other royals were “hurt” by the move, which was made without consultation.

Canadian taxpayers could have to supply millions of dollars a year in security expenses if the royal pair move even part time to the country, security experts told Reuters news agency.

However, according to a poll conducted by Postmedia, 60 per cent of Canadians are in favour of Prince Harry taking on the role of governor general, the Queen’s top representative in Canada.

The royal couple have strong ties to Canada. Meghan Markle spent years filming for the show Suits in Toronto and Prince Harry has been a part of several events, including opening the
Toronto Invictus Games in 2017.

The pair most recently spent a significant chunk of their Christmas break in Vancouver.

But is it possible? Since the Queen appoints the governor general on the advice of the prime minister, it would technically be entirely doable for Prince Harry to take up the role.

But the reported rift that has opened between the Sussex royals and the rest of the family in Britain could make it difficult for the prince to get the nod from the Crown, should he want it.

There’s also the matter of that Canada already has Gov. Gen. Julia Payette, though she has suffered her own scandals since her appointment by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017.

For now, Meghan has returned to Canada to take care of her son Archie. Royal family fans will no doubt stay alert for any updates from the Sussex couple and Birmingham Palace on what the future holds.

No Humber students, faculty onboard Iran plane crash

A Humber College spokesperson confirmed to The Avro Post on Thursday that there were no students or faculty “as far as we know” on board Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 that crashed in Iran and killed all onboard.

“As far as we know, none of the individuals involved in the crash are Humber students or faculty,” media spokesman Andrew Leopold said in response to an inquiry from The Post.

Many of those onboard the Boeing 737-800 passenger jet were Canadian students and faculty from across Toronto and the country. All 176 passengers were killed.

Shortly after Leopold’s response to The Avro Post’s inquiry, Humber published a public statement from President Chris Whitaker saying “our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the families, friends and colleagues of the individuals who died in the crash.”

Whitaker’s statement noted that Ontario post-secondary students featured prominently among those killed in the crash on Wednesday morning Iran time.

“Our province’s postsecondary institutions are shaped by teachers and learners who foster global citizenship and bring the world closer together through education and scholarship,” Humber’s president wrote.

“This tragic loss is felt by all members of the college community.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with other Western allies, said on Thursday that the crash appeared to have been caused by an Iran-launched anti-aircraft missile that was sent amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the United States.

Students and faculty from several universities and colleges, including from Ryerson University, George Brown College and the University of Guelph, were killed in the crash.

Scott Derrickson exits ‘Doctor Strange’ sequel

After a lengthy development process, Scott Derrickson has parted ways with Marvel Studios on Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness.

After co-writing and directing the 2016 solo film Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelsen, Scott Derrickson had been working closely with Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige on the development of Dr. Strange throughout Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. With the announcement of the sequel, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness back in July, Derrickson seemed to be on board completely – until tonight.

Derrickson took to Twitter to announce that he and Marvel Studios were parting ways with him as the film’s director, but will remain as an executive producer.

This comes after recent comments from Derrickson which hinted at possible problems over the timeframe he had in order to bring the film together.

Marvel has not commented on the decision to part ways with Derrickson as of yet, and no potential replacement directors have been announced.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness will hit theatres on May 5, 2021.

Iran mistakenly took out Ukraine aircraft, officials say

Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752, that crashed outside the Iranian capital killing all 176 people onboard including 63 Canadians, was struck by an anti-aircraft missile system launched mistakenly by Iran, multiple news reports said on Thursday.

The Boeing 737-800, a plane model with a reliable record according to experts featured on news networks, took off from Tehran Khomeini International Airport en route to Kiev, Ukraine and stopped transmitting data just minutes after takeoff. It followed Iran missile strikes targeting U.S. forces.

The aircraft is believed to have been struck by a Russia-built Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system known by Western allies as Gauntlet, a Pentagon source, a senior U.S. intelligence official and an Iraqi intelligence agent told Newsweek.

The Pentagon’s assessment is that it was an accidental strike.

CBC reported early on Thursday afternoon that United States intelligence officials informed Ottawa about the development.

A U.S. official said U.S. satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by an explosion, CBC reported.

Ukraine’s top security official said later that its passenger airliner may have been downed by a Russian-made missile, confirming very early reports that there were pieces of such a Tor air defence projectile among the debris.

Other U.S. reports indicate that the plane was not shot down.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address reporters at 2 p.m.

Canadian authorities have requested immediate access to the crash site outside Tehran.

‘No date to confirm’ on Presto machines, says Humber

A Humber College official who has acted as the point person for bringing Presto reload machines to North and Lakeshore Campuses told The Avro Post on Thursday morning that he had “no date to confirm” for the exact arrival of the machines.

Metrolinx, the provincially-owned corporation that operates the Presto system for the many transit systems that use it, told The Post in November that the machines would be coming to Humber “early in the New Year” but did not reveal a specific date at the time.

Sustainability Specialist Devon Fernandes said that “we’re still in talks with [Presto]” in his email response to The Post to inquires over a timeline.

A response from Metrolinx on Thursday did not indicate that the November statement about an arrival early in 2020 had changed in any way.

Presto cards, which allow users to load funds online and with reload machines, are utilized by at least three local transit systems that stop at Humber’s North and Lakeshore campuses.

There has been some confusion over the timing of the machines coming to campus as Humber officials have given conflicting messages in recent months.

Fernandes told the Et Cetera in November that the machines would reach campus by the end of November but told The Post days later that he could “not confirm that timeline” due to ongoing discussions.

Earlier this year, The Post reported that discussions had launched between Humber and Metrolinx over the machines.

There are upwards of 30,000 students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber and thousands of them utilize multiple forms of city and intercity transit — most of which, if not all of them — accept the smart Presto cards.

Bringing a Presto machine to campus was on IGNITE Vice President Megan Roopnarine’s election platform as she ran to represent students at the University of Guelph-Humber. When the machines are added to campuses, it could be seen as a win for her advocacy.

IGNITE candidates have for years added advocating for Presto machines on campus to their platforms, but none of the representative that ended up elected have been successful thus far in their efforts.

IGNITE breaks bylaws again by not releasing SMOM agenda

IGNITE broke its own bylaws when it did not release an agenda for the Jan. 22 Special Meeting of the Members at any point on Wednesday, with a pair of directors seemingly unaware of the rules.

It marks only the latest incident of Humber College’s student union ignoring their own rules listed inside documents posted to its Governance webpage.

Bylaw 4.4 of the Constitution states that the “time, place and subject matter” of a SMOM must be posted “not less than” 10 business days ahead of the meeting.

The only information available as of now is the date, which is only known because officials told the Humber Et Cetera in an interview late last year.

When reporters from The Avro Post asked a pair of directors on Wednesday if they would release the required details in accordance with their bylaws, they did not know the answer.

IGNITE has broken their own bylaws several times since the start of the current academic year by deleting the exact times and locations of Board of Directors meetings and not allowing journalists inside the gatherings.

When pushed to respond to the rule-breaking, Guelph-Humber Directors Erika Caldwell and Julia Ciampa appeared unaware of the bylaws and deflected questions from Post reporters.

Students prominent amongst dead in Iran plane crash

Post-secondary students and professors from across the country have featured prominently amongst those killed when Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed just minutes after taking off from the main airport in Iran’s capital.

University of Alberta professors Mojgan Daneshmand and her husband Dr. Pedram Mousavi, along with their daughters Daria and Dorina, have been confirmed among the dead. They were on the flight with other Edmonton residents, CBC reports.

The University of Guelph said in a statement that the community is mourning the deaths of two PhD students: Ghanimat Azhdari and Milad Ghasemi Ariani.

Carleton University says a PhD student was among the dead in the Tehran-area plane crash. CTV

The school says Fareed Arasteh was studying biology.

A family member confirms he was just married in Iran on Sunday and was on his way back to Canada to continue his studies. CTV,ca

McMaster universtity students Iman Aghabali and Mehdi Eshaghian, both engineering students at the McMaster’s automotive resource centre, were also among the dead. The McMaster Iranian Graduate Student Society is planning to host a vigil for these two engineering students.

Mehdi Eshaghian and Iman Aghabali, both PhD students in the engineering at McMaster University are believed to have been on board the deadly Ukrainian International Airlines plane that crashed in Iran. (LinkedIn)

Four U of T students have also been identified as victims of the crash.  

Mojtaba Abbasnezhad, a first-year international PhD student at U of T, was among those killed.

Pooya Poolad told CBC News that Abbasnezhad, his close friend and classmate, was an Iranian citizen and was living in Toronto while studying electrical engineering.

Poolad was supposed to be on the trip to Iran with his friend but had to cancel. He says he was in Toronto texting with Abbasnezhad, who also went by Soroush, at the airport before his flight home. 

Mohammad Salehe, Zeynab Asadi-Lari and Mohammad Hossein Asadi-Lari were also among those killed. All were studying at U of T. 

The university issued a statement saying it was deeply saddened to see its students’ names on the plane’s manifest, but that it hasn’t been able to confirm they were killed.

The university’s three campuses are united in mourning the loss of the victims and offering sympathy and condolences to their families and friends,” it said, noting it would provide more information in the coming days.

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

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