UMSU Notes

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) met on Feb. 3, 2010.

U of M president David Barnard and Debbie McCallum, vice-president (administration), made a presentation on the plans for the new Active Living Centre on the U of M campus. George Cibinel of Cibinel Architects Ltd. was also in attendance.

The Active Living Centre will be built as an extension of the Frank Kennedy Centre, as it will be attached to the south side of the Frank Kennedy Centre at the corner of Dafoe Road and University Crescent. The hopes are that the centre will help make campus a place where students choose to remain in the evenings.

The centre, which is set to cover 100,000 square feet, is designed to be a world-class fitness facility. A few of the features of the new centre include an open work out area, an indoor climbing wall, a 200 metre running track on the fourth floor and a kiosk for healthy food. The centre is designed to accommodate 1,200 students and will act as an integration of student space, on par with University Centre.

The construction of the Active Living Centre is part of a larger project. Other projects surrounding the centre include an update of the Frank Kennedy locker rooms, the relocation and upgrade of the soccer field, an underground tunnel to the architecture building as well as the relocation of the throw area and tennis courts.

In total, the project is projected to cost around $57 million with $45 million being invested in the Active Living Centre. New exercise and conditioning equipment will cost almost $2.9 million.

Funding will come partly from the stadium deal; however, an estimated $12.5 million will need to be raised from public funds. Full-time students will pay a membership fee of $75 dollars per term while part-time and summer session students will pay $56.25 per term.

President Barnard noted that fees are in the range of similar facilities across Canadian campuses. In response to a question by UMSU vice-president (advocacy) Murat Ates, president Barnard stated that student membership fees would not be altered in the case of higher construction costs.

Fees will be included in every student’s tuition fees in hopes of creating an inclusive centre and addressing feelings of isolation among students. McCallum said that the opt-out clause would defeat the purpose of this goal. The Active Living Centre is expected to be completed in January 2014.

Chief Returning Officer (CRO) for UMSU elections, Jason van Rooy, addressed the 2011 referendum question. He received one petition from the Manitoban students’ newspaper to increase the current student levy for the newspaper by $1 per term, making the total levy $4 per student per term. UMSU council approved the wording of the Manitoban referendum question.

A standing resolution on free speech and the right to organize against oppression was moved by Brian Latour and seconded by women’s representative Jen Black.

Latour presented opening statements noting that UMSU approved the first ever Israel Apartheid Week last year and must now renew the motion. He made note of attempts to ban the event last year and commended the university administration in refusing to succumb to pressure.

Latour concluded by stating that free speech on campus is a fundamental right of students. Black noted that it is UMSU’s responsibility to protect that right. UMSU council approved the motion unanimously.

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