A motion calling for the creation of a director of Bannatyne operations (DBO) was presented to UMSU council at their Jan. 28 meeting, moved by the policy and bylaws committee, and motivated by Al Turnbull, UMSU president.
The motion—which was reviewed, discussed, and will be voted on at the Feb. 9 meeting of UMSU Council—stated that the new position would be responsible for student services programming, promoting the union, and working on advocacy issues particular to Bannatyne members, utilizing the existing UMSU office space at Bannatyne campus.
The DBO would be an UMSU employee, with five set office hours per week at the Bannatyne campus. The candidate would have to be a student studying at the Bannatyne campus and would be selected by UMSU executives, rather than elected.
Turnbull told council that the tentative wage for the DBO would be a salary of $10,000 for a term of June 1-April 30, but that none of these details have been finalized.
He added that the executive had considered creating an elected Bannatyne position, but decided against it because they expected a full time elected position would interfere with the heavy academic loads of Bannatyne students.
Turnbull said that the idea for the DBO emerged because students at the Bannatyne campus are isolated and alienated from UMSU culture.
“I felt that, we, as an executive [ . . . ] were failing to meet some of the needs of the Bannatyne campus and the students that are there and that are members within the union. And I don’t mean failing in a way where we deprive them of services. They still get the health plan.” Turnbull continued, “In fact we increased the amount of food they get from three to five [days]. We gave them two beer gardens.
“But it was more of an appeasement strategy,” said Turnbull. “‘Hey there, eat up. Have a couple beers. We do things for you.’ But in all reality, they have become a bit of an afterthought.”
Last year UMSU established the Bannatyne board of senior sticks (B-BOSS), as a way to address a lack of representation for the campus.
Turnbull said that the B-BOSS had improved campus culture at Bannatyne, but said that more could be done. He characterized the new DBO proposal as a way to further enhance the student experience for students at the Bannatyne campus.
“I think moving forward it’s really going to be a living and breathing position that’s going to mold around the needs [of the campus].
“It’ll be, really, the role of the director of Bannatyne operations in the first couple of years to build the position, and to build manuals, and build how it’s done.”
Thomas Hall, UMSU representative for the Manitoba Medical Students’ Association, said that UMSU has had increased presence at the Bannatyne campus recently, including during orientation week and through special events, like beer gardens and wine tastings.
Hall agreed with Turnbull’s assessment of the need for special representation at the Bannatyne campus.
“The B-BOSS voted unanimously to approve this position.
“We have a unique set of issues on our campus that may not always be addressed by the Fort Garry UMSU [administration],” said Hall. “I think the DBO is a phenomenal idea to further enhance the communication with the council at large and to increase UMSU presence on our campus.”
During questioning period, Jacqueline Robert, UMSU representative for the nursing students’ association, questioned the $10,000 salary proposed for the position.
“If you do the math, that’s $56 per hour,” said Robert.
Turnbull responded by saying that the position’s five minimum hours a week were meant to be static office hours, and did not include the other duties of the DBO such as meetings, teleconference calls with the executive, and responding to emails.
He said that the DBO will be working on advocacy, student group issues in collaboration with UMSU’s vice-president advocacy and vice-president student services, and would also provide reports for council and attend council as an ex-officio member with no voting rights. The director of Bannatyne operations must be a registered Bannatyne student, said Turnbull.
Turnbull said that all of this would result in the position requiring more than the five hours per week.