I receive many story pitches each week. They arrive in my inboxes and my direct
While, I am eating my dinner, scanning over 100’s of lines of computer programming when I get approached by the College (A division of my University is called a college) Student Council President and asked to go to an UMSU (University of Manitoba Student’s Union) meeting. Little did I realize that I would be sitting on the council, the highest student governing body at the University of Manitoba.
While, I was a “proxy” councillor. Basically, I am there in place of the regular councillor but I am a full-member for the meeting and able to participate as such. I was there to represent St. Andrew’s College and look out of the interests of my fellow students.
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While, I enjoy the meeting. It very interesting. It started with the normal debates over agendas. Then we had a presentation from the Canadian Federation of Students.
Basically, the University of Manitoba Students Union is a member of a group called CASA.
Right now it is costing 42,000 dollars a year to be part of CASA.
The CFS will cost $370,000 dollars a year.
The Presentation from CFS was evasive at best. They are very interested in getting our money. When asked to justify why the Students of the University of Manitoba should spend this high amount for membership in their “federation” and just become Local number whatever, they reply by saving that it will cost UMSU nothing because the money comes directly from the students. It did not cut it for me.
On this issue, I have come to the conclusion that I am opposed to both CASA and CFS. I will recommend that a referendum be held to consist not being part of any national organization.
I personally feel that neither organization is useful.
Missile Defense is another issue that the UMSU Council will debate.
The council is looking at passing a motion to oppose Missile Defense and commit the Union to fighting against Missile Defense.
The council deferred the motion to the next meeting. I am personally in favour of Missile Defense as it is a defensive system. The students at my college are opposed to missile defense. I am recommending that to my College Council that the we support the opposition to Missile Defense but be clear that UMSU should not waste resources on this matter as the Government is not going to consider our opinion as a Student Union and there are better fights for us to fight with the Government.
The council debated budget revisions. The budget line for General Meeting Expenses was originally $6,000. Spending in this budget line so far this fiscal year is $9,466. I made a point of speaking to this. The reason for this is a change in accounting. I was satisified by the answer I received. Many expenses were hidden before in different budget areas. This is good that spending is visible now. The revision has increased this budget line to $11,000 and I made it clear that my college council will not support any further increase in this budget line.
The council decided to remove a member of the UMSU Student Affairs Committee. I supported this motion because the member in question had not attended any meetings during the school year. The main reason for this recommendation was that the committee was unable to get a quorum for a long time. I made a point of stating that this is a problem with more than one person and that council should make note of that.
Overall, it was an interesting experience. I have not been at this level of community involvement since prior to joining the army. I am very proud to say that I am achieving my goal of getting back to my oldself. I am going to enjoy sitting as a proxy.
(Sadly, my camera did not work and I do not have pictures from this meeting but I will get pictures next month.)