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UNBSU pushes for student voice in UNB Act

The official closing date for recommendations on the revision of the UNB Act was on Monday, and the UNBSU submitted some of their own.

“I’m hoping that by the student union breaking it down into recommendations that seem pretty easy to understand people will realize what a big impact the Act recommendations can have on the student experience and also student voices matter in this. We have as much as a stake in this as everyone else does,” said Lee Thomas, UNBSU vice-president internal.

One of the union’s recommendations was for student representation within UNB’s senate to be made mandatory by the legislation of the Act, rather than be regulated by bylaws.

“In the revised Act they’re reducing the size of the board of governors and relegating most of the membership stuff to bylaws. What we’re really pushing for is to have student involvement infringed in the Act rather than relegated to bylaws,” said Thomas.

“Then it’s guaranteed that by an act of legislation that we’ll have student representation at the board level,” she said.

The UNBSU also advocated that the Act enforce that the number of student representatives on the senate be equal to or greater than what currently sits.

Similarly, the union recommended for the number of student representatives on the board of governors to stay the same.

“We advocated that we still have two students, whereas right now it seems like they’re leaning towards going down to one student,” Thomas said.

Another recommendation was to have non-compulsory student fees either be put to referendum or be put through a protocol agreed upon by the student union and the university. This legislation would prevent the university from adding fees that students can’t opt out of, regardless whether use the particular service or not.

Lastly, the UNBSU advocated for the removal of section 15(2) of the Act, particularly the points that the president of the university is vice-chancellor and may exercise the rights of the chancellor if there is ever an absence of one, as well as the power to appoint, promote or remove any and all teaching and administrative staff and other employees.

On top of drafting their own recommendations, the union asked students to bring forth their own ideas. However, there wasn’t much response.

“I hope students realize that their voice in this really matters. It affects the legislative document that affects UNB, and anything that affects UNB to this big of an extent is of course going to impact students,” Thomas said.

Despite the recommendation stage being brought to a close, this is not the last step in the UNB Act revision. This feedback will be brought to the UNB senate where it will go through further legislative processing.

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