At this week’s Student Union meeting, the council addressed their desire to have a student on the President Search Committee, the need for an interim vice-president advocacy and criticisms of their Breaking Stereotypes campaign.
President Herbert Bempah addressed the controversy, saying that the campaign’s intention was to redefine masculinity, address toxic masculinity and its connection to gender-based violence and how masculinity affects mental health.
He acknowledged the criticisms that have been made in the wake of the campaign, including some students finding there to be a lack of representation for transgender and non-binary students.
“There were some criticisms, and these criticisms were absolutely valid. In our attempts to do this, perhaps maybe we poorly communicated the theme of the message—and while I truly do believe in this campaign, I also recognize there was a huge oversight that we made and I apologize profusely for that,” said Bempah.
Bempah also said the UNBSU plans to respond to the criticism once they’ve had an opportunity to refocus their efforts.
“We are going to take an opportunity to just take a break, reconvene and redesign something that is much much more inclusive—and something that hits the target right on the mark,” he said.
“And we’re not going to necessarily do it by ourselves; we’re hopeful to consult as many people as possible—not to say that we didn’t consult people, because we did—and that was the product that we came up with.”
Student representation on President Search Committee discussed
Vice-president internal Chris McGinn discussed his efforts to have a student representative on the President Search Committee after current President Eddy Campbell’s term ends in 2019.
“There are now no student representatives on this committee. We obviously don’t feel that this is appropriate, and we do think that student voices should be heard,” McGinn said.
McGinn sought out—and was approved by—the council to deliver a statement to the senate on behalf of the SU, in which he explained the importance of having a student voice on the committee and put forward student senator Andrew Ward as a candidate.
His statement also notes the SU’s respectful acknowledgement and appreciation of other possibilities, such as having a student sit on the committee as a non-voting member; however, he doesn’t believe this to be a sufficient solution.
“They think that they’re doing a sufficient job in having student representation on this committee by having a student observer—but the fact of the matter is, it’s not,” McGinn said.
Vice-president advocacy on leave of absence
Councillors were informed that they may now apply to be the interim vice-president advocacy in light of Madi Banks’ leave of absence from the position.
Interested councillors and senators will be required to submit a letter of intent, which will be reviewed by an ad-hoc—temporary and task specific—committee that will consist of the executives, volunteering councillors Jill Pilgrim, Louis Cormier and Shanece Wilson, as well as two ordinary members who will be be added at a later date.
The ad-hoc committee will review the potential candidates and present them to council next Sunday. Council will then appoint one of said candidates.
Banks’ estimated return date remains unconfirmed.