IGNITE meeting expected to change its governance structure

by | Jan 20, 2020 | Guelph-Humber, Headlines, IGNITE, Lakeshore, News, North, Orangeville

Jared Dodds, News Reporter

IGNITE’s Special Meeting of the Members on Jan. 22 brings the possibility of sweeping changes in the way Humber College’s student union governs.

The 11 a.m. meeting in the North campus Student Centre, which will also be simulcast to the Lakeshore and Orangeville campuses, will allow all members of IGNITE to ask questions and vote on the potential changes to the organization’s structure.

And the changes could be dramatic, transforming the way IGNITE governs. The proposed policy changes would in part make the organization align with the pending Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act

The three proposals are headlined by shifting the executive positions, which include the president and the three vice-presidents, to hired positions as opposed to being elected by the student body.

They will be hired by the Board of Directors, which will continue to be elected by Humber students, ensuring the board would be recognized as the face of IGNITE.

The final amendment being put forward is the establishment of three different levels of IGNITE membership.

These three levels are Full-Time Members, who pay the mandatory IGNITE fees included in their tuition, Full-Time Enhanced Members, who pay both the mandatory and optional fees, and Part-Time Members, part-time students who pay a pro-rated mandatory fee.

Both categories of full-time members will be eligible to vote in IGNITE elections under the proposal, while part-time students will not. Nor is it clear at this point what the new functions of the president and vice-presidents would be if the changes were adopted.

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) recent court victory quashing the Student Choice Initiative, which allows students to opt out of specific student union fees, is being appealed by Queen’s Park. Apparently IGNITE will operate with the SCI in effect until the appeal process is completed.

IGNITE notes if the proposals are adopted, executive duties will include full job descriptions and duties expected to completed.

IGNITE is holding a special meeting on Jan. 22 where it’s expected it will adopt new governance rules. (Et Cetera file photo)

Unika Hypolite, IGNITE’s communication’s director, said the changes are meant to bring “certainty and competency” to IGNITE, with students understanding it is the board that has power, not the executives.

According to IGNITE this is the way it has always been, but this change will cement that in the eyes of the student body.

“If you say to students, ‘who’s the front of IGNITE,’ they go, ‘oh, it’s the president,’” said current Board Chair Neto Naniwambote.

As far as competency, an Oct. 29 IGNITE press release said the changes would lead to a “high quality of executive candidates, with relevant role-specific skills to offer to the organization.”

IGNITE executive director Ercole Perrone said in that release the change would stop popularity from being a factor in determining the IGNITE executives.

Perrone urged reporters not to read to deeply into the language of the release when asked about the quote in the press release during a Nov. 11 meeting with Et Cetera reporters.

The quote has since been removed from the release.

Perrone said the Special Meeting of the Members would need a quorum of 50 to be official. There is no limit on the number of questions each member can ask or how long the meeting will run.

He said IGNITE expects the changes to pass based on the positive response members of the board and executives have been getting in conversations with students.

At a media availability meeting in December, current president Monica Khosla said the executive team tries to speak to an average of 50 to 60 students face-to-face per week.

She said face-to-face conversations are the main way the executive team interacts with students, deeming it more authentic.

Khosla will be among the IGNITE representatives available for questions at the Special Meeting of the Members. Naniwambote will also be answering questions, with other executives and board members present in support of the changes.

If the quorum of 50 is met, the amendments will pass if they are approved by more than 50 per cent of the vote.