UMSU board of directors to vote on board changes in new year

A motion to approve the final changes that are part of a long-term effort to restructure UMSU following recommendations made in the 2019-20 Susan Rogers report will be voted on by the UMSU board of directors Jan. 6, 2022.

Chief among the changes is the reduction of the board of directors down to 21 voting members, each representing a different faculty at the university.

The executive will also lose its voting privileges on the board should the motion pass.

Non-voting members of the board will include the executive and representatives of the 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous, women-identified, international, accessibility, mature and part-time and Black students’ communities.

Among other changes, if approved the motion would limit the use of proxies, requiring the chair of the board to approve proxies as being in “a well-informed position.”

Board of directors appoints community representatives

The UMSU board of directors appointed representatives of the mature and part-time students, Indigenous students, accessibility students and 2SLGBTQ+ communities to the board.

As of press time, the union had yet to provide a written list confirming the identities of the successful candidates.

Mental health care expansion in the works for UMSU members

UMSU vice-president finance and operations Brook Rivard reported to the board of directors there is a growing demand for Empower Me — UMSU’s mental health service program — to provide access to racialized mental health professionals.

Other concerns being addressed include an issue wherein students accessing the services have been unable to continue seeing the same mental health professionals after six sessions, instead needing to report a new mental health issue and begin the process all over again.

Students from select African countries unable to enter Canada until February

During the UMSU board of directors’ Dec. 2 meeting, Tolani Olanrewaju raised concerns about the transition to in-person classes given the context of travel restrictions in the face of the newly emerging Omicron variant of COVID-19.

UMSU vice-president community engagement Tino Dogo stated that all those with a “right” to be in Canada will be allowed into the country.

However, the Manitoban has learned no foreign nationals who have visited Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa or Zimbabwe in the last two weeks will be allowed to enter Canada until at least Jan. 31, 2022.

UMSU to adopt sexual violence reporting system

At the Dec. 2 UMSU board of directors meeting, UMSU vice-president student life Savannah Szocs reported the union is currently in talks to adopt the REES reporting system for sexual violence.

The program provides a platform for anonymous reporting of sexual violence and allows for the tracking of repeat perpetrators on campus. Survivors are also able to make reports to the police.

According to the report, as of 2019 the U of M was the only post-secondary institution in Manitoba to have not officially adopted the program.

The university had been in talks to adopt the system. Recently, REES pulled out of the talks.

“The university and REES were in long talks about implementation and attempting to iron out an agreement, but the unfortunate fact of the matter seemed to be that the U of M was more concerned with the legality of this tool than having it as a resource for its students,” Szocs reported to the board.

Dec 8, 2021

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Cam Cannon

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