Jared Dodds, News Reporter
IGNITE’s Special Meeting of the Members on Wednesday was cut short by a vice president who moved a motion to approve governance changes although questions were still being asked by voters.
The vote to change the mechanics of how IGNITE works took about 10 seconds. The motion that adopted sweeping changes in the way Humber College’s student union governs by Lakeshore VP Ryan Stafford was approved without a head count.
“What just happened?” was heard from a row of students watching the proceedings at North campus.
The 11 a.m. meeting in the North campus Student Centre, which was simulcast to the Lakeshore and Orangeville campuses, policy changes would in part make the organization align with the pending Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act.
Humberetc.ca will be posting a complete story of the 32-minute meeting. A full update will be published in next week’s Et Cetera.
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.
However, the CFS noted the ruling by the Divisional Court must apply until an appeal determines otherwise.
IGNITE notes executive duties will include full job descriptions and duties expected to completed.
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 too deeply into the language of the release when asked about the quote in the press release during a Nov. 11 meeting with Et Cetera.
The quote has since been removed from the release.
Perrone said the Special Meeting of the Members needed 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. But questions ended when Stafford introduced the motion to vote on the policy changes. He said he didn’t realize questions were still being asked when he introduced the motion to vote.
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.