The UNBSU addressed the white-supremacist posters found on campus at their council meeting on Sunday.
The upcoming UNBSU general election and a review of the Student Union’s general budget were also discussed.
UNBSU reaffirms commitment to reconciliation
Seshu Iyengar started off the meeting by reviewing the content of the posters found at UNB Fredericton last week. The posters contained a white-supremacist message which sought to undermine the truth of what happened in Canada’s residential schools.
Iyengar also introduced a motion to reaffirm the UNBSU’s commitment to reconciliation as well as their commitment to educating its membership and the community on the history of Indigenous-colonist relations in Canadian. The motion was a joint effort between councillor Abram Lutes and Iyengar.
“The focus of this motion will be in instituting a program or a set of programs which will allow the UNB Student Union to effectively communicate proper historiography of the issue of Indigenous and colonizer relations and the history of the residential schools,” Iyengar said.
The motion also said that the council executives would be required to create an action plan to promote this education no later than March 11. This motion carried.
Lutes spoke next, presenting the website for Amnesty Canada: No More Stolen Sisters, an organization aiming to end violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Lutes said that endorsing and showing the Student Union’s support for this organization could be part of demonstrating their commitment to reconciliation, as well as their support for finding a lasting solution to this issue.
“While it’s not directly related to student politics, this is something that—at least in some way or another—has probably affected most, if not all, of our Indigenous students on campus, and so I think it sends a powerful statement,” said Lutes.
While president Herbert Bempah expressed his support for the motion, he thought they first needed to do their due diligence in researching and learning more about the organization. The council agreed to send this motion to the Policy Advancement Committee. The committee will report back at the next council meeting.
UNBSU gets as increase in sponsorship revenue
Vice-president finance Grayson Beairsto introduced a few changed to the budget. The first of these was an increase in the UNBSU’s sponsorship revenue—largely due to Pepsi rejoining as a sponsor. As a result of this, more money is being allocated for clubs and societies.
Beairsto estimated that the UNBSU is looking at approximately a $400 surplus for autumn 2018, though Beairsto says he wants to spend this money so students receive the highest possible value.
“We’ll work to find some way to use that. Ideally we spend every dollar we receive,” he said.
UNBSU general elections will be done through UNB ITS again
Bempah discussed the UNBSU election, highlighting their intention of improving voter turnout, creating as many polling stations as possible and hosting info sessions for interested candidates.
Bempah said that they will be holding the election through UNB ITS again, though he’s committed to making arrangements for the next Student Union to potentially move to a third-party system. The UNBSU by-elections last fall saw issues with the ITS system.
However, Bempah also noted he’s in talks with ITS to ensure names and dates are correct and that other technical issues do not affect this election.
“It looks like we’re going to go with ITS this year, but the reason why we started conversations early is because we don’t want any problems with the election,” he said.
Anna Petrie was also approved as the new deputy chief returning officer.
Photo Credits: Maria Araújo