The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) held their annual general meeting (AGM) on March 31 to discuss what UMSU has accomplished this year and what it hoped to accomplish in the year to come.
Sheldon Gardiner, vice-president (external), explained that currently students living in residence do not receive protection under the Manitoba Residential Tenancies Act.
Gardiner said that with the provincial election coming up this could become a campaign issue and that UMSU, in collaboration with other students associations in Manitoba, have been meeting with government ministers to discuss it.
The ultimate goal is to obtain provincially mandated standards for student residences and the inclusion of universities and colleges under the provisions of the Manitoba Residential Tenancies Act.
Gardiner said that there were no guarantees that this would happen but initiatives were in action and working groups were being set up to try and address the issue.
UMSU vice-president (advocacy) Murat Ates explained that he had dealt with 60-70 student advocacy issues throughout the year.
Ates said that the majority of situations were resolved successfully through non-formal collaborations between appropriate university bodies, and formal hearings and appeals.
Due to confidentially, Ates did not discuss specific details of cases but cases included issues such as academic dishonesty, final grade appeals, discipline and financial hardship.
Matt Hepner, vice-president (student services), discussed the student group support initiatives such as equipment lending, student group funding and recognition, student group recruitment week and the Student Group Resource Centre.
Hepner said that the student group handbook had been improved, so it serves more as a reference manual. Workshops on how to create new and improved student groups will also be offered.
Hepner also discussed the addition of sports equipment available for students to borrow and use, such as softball equipment. Hepner hopes to increase the types of sports equipment available.
Hepner said that he is evaluating how to use the Student Group Resource Centre (SGRC) located in Helen Glass Centre more efficiently so that it serves all the needs of student groups.
Vice-president (internal) Aisyah Abdkahar talked about UMFM’s renovations.
Abdkahar announced that UMFM’s renovations had been completed and that it now has updated and new equipment, and an improved infrastructure.
Abdkahar said that UMFM will be offering new services to students such as practice space, production training and the opportunity to record.
Abdkahar also discussed the implementation of the new UMSU Awards, which has a total value of $10,000.
The revamped awards feature new categories such as the International Student Award, the UMSU Social Justice Activism Award and the UMSU Student Involvement Award, among others. Abdkahar said applications close on April 19, 2011.
USMU president Heather Laube discussed the renovations taking place in University Centre and said that the Fireplace Lounge would receive upgrades of multi-functional furniture and potentially a new stage.
The refurbishment experienced delays due to the floor tiling project taking place simultaneously in University Centre.
Laube announced that the furniture had been purchased and would be installed in the upcoming months.
Laube also talked about the potential new student pub on campus, saying that UMSU was currently in discussion with its legal team to workout the details.
A student in attendance asked when the pub could be expected to open, and Laube explained that UMSU hopes to wrap-up the lease agreement by April for the pub and hopefully have things in place for a September start.
Laube also answered questions on the university’s stance on party buses coming onto campus.
Laube explained that currently the university did not have a policy in place but that it was working towards that goal. She said that UMSU was working on the issue and hoped to resolve it in the upcoming year.