The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) met on Oct. 27, 2011.
The meeting began with a speech from Kerry Spence, a candidate for U of M’s aboriginal students’ representative. She stated that she has a “good grasp of the issues that Aboriginal students face on campus.”
Spence served as secretary for the University of Manitoba Aboriginal Student Association (UMASA) in 2009. She has also worked with other aboriginal organizations such as the Southeast Resource Development Council, Promoting Aboriginal Community Together (PACT) and “U” Crew in the Aboriginal Student Recruitment office in Enrollment Services.
UMSU council voted to elect Spence as UMSU’s aboriginal students’ community representative.
Bryan Douglas, UMSU representative for students living with disabilities, announced that the on-campus safe space for students living with disabilities is now open. The office was opened on Oct. 24 “and is ready for students to access anytime they want,” said Douglas.
Camilla Tapp, UMSU president, said that orientation will now fall under the Office of Student Life, as a response to the expansion of direct entry.
“What is now Orientation Week should become more of a welcome week,” she said.
Tapp also mentioned that she attended a meeting with Ancillary Services and Physical Plant regarding water fountain replacement in University Centre. She said that UMSU is trying to push for a water bottle free campus. The new fountains would be two-tiered to make them more accessible and to accommodate students living with disabilities, she said.
U of M’s president David Barnard’s recent statement of apology for residential schools was also brought up. Justin Quigley, vice-president (internal), said that U of M is the first academic institution to make a formal apology.
“It’s quite a historic day,” said Quigley.
Quigley also reported that completion of the pub is a week behind the schedule, but construction is expected to be completed by Dec. 9.
He added that UMSU has met with the travel grants sub-committee to revise the travel grant policies. The grants are awarded to students who travel for academic purposes. Quigley said that the committee wants to make the policies surrounding travel grants “more transparent.”
Julie Rempel, vice-president (external), mentioned that UMSU hosts a UMFM radio show. “The topic range from events that are happening on campus, to student group initiatives,” she explained.
She said everyone on UMSU council is welcome to come on the show.
Nour Rashid, vice-president (advocacy), talked about the Holiday Hamper program, an annual program that provides students who are in need during the holidays with a food hamper and toys for families with children. This year, UMSU will be running an “Adopt-a-Hamper” initiative.
Rashid said that UMSU will soon put out a request to faculty councilors and student groups asking for help with the project.