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IGNITE holds in-depth accessibility survey online

IGNITE puts up accessibly survey on their Instagram story on Friday.

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Eli Ridder | Report

IGNITE launched a survey it posted in their Instagram Story on Friday that can be filled out via the student union’s website, in an attempt to tackle accessibility issues on campus.

Take the survey: Accessibility Survey

The survey is a result of President Monica Khosla’s accessibility platform plank and follows three focus groups held in person across Humber College’s North and Lakeshore campuses.

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It asks questions about physical barriers in places such as classrooms and about attitudinal barriers, and if the individual taking the survey gives IGNITE their student number, they will be entered to win a $500 gift card from the Humber Bookstore.


Image from The Avro Post. Second image from IGNITE website. ■

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Campus

IGNITE stays neutral for now on SCI ruling

The approach is different from other student unions.

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Photo by Eli Ridder on Nov. 22, 2019/TAP.

IGNITE responded to the court ruling that found the Student Choice Initiative “unlawful” on Friday afternoon, declaring neutrality until there is a formal response from the provincial government.

The Ontario Divisional Court ruled on Thursday that the initiative, known as the SCI, was an overreach by Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives.

The SCI established some ancillary fees “non-essential” and allowed students to opt out of funding parts of student unions, campus publications and other organizations.

“IGNITE will not speculate on the ramifications of this announcement as we await a response from the provincial government,” President Monica Khosla said in a statement released by IGNITE. ■

Statement released by IGNITE Friday.
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Campus

IGNITE confirms what TAP was cut off for

Board meetings will be cut off, in general.

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File photo of a newspaper.

IGNITE confirmed to another publication that the eventual plan is to close off Board of Directors meetings to students unless they are invited as guests, a development that The Avro Post reported on in October and was considered inaccurate reporting by the student union’s officials.

The Humber Et Cetera reported this week that Executive Director Ercole Perrone said “the intent is to move towards a more formalized non-profit organization style way to work”, meaning that meetings will be closed off from the general student body unless they gain access via permission from directors.

The Avro Post reported in October following a press briefing with IGNITE officials that Perrone said the plan for the student union was to move towards a more corporate future, saying that only directors have the right to attend the Board meetings, citing the Ontario Corporations Act.

Just days later on Oct. 15, IGNITE President Monica Khosla said the reporting on the Board being cut off was incorrect. However, the Et Cetera reported this week that only directors and “guests the [B]oard wants to hear from” will be allowed inside the meetings, confirming that, in general, meetings will no longer be open to any member.

It appears this change will be offered as a bylaw amendment at the January Special Meeting of the Members, however, it was not highlighted in the meeting minutes of September’s gathering when Board directors passed the proposals. A final approval from members, or students, will be needed on Jan. 16 to pass or deny all the amendments in a package.

The current bylaws state that IGNITE must post the times and locations of the Board meetings and that a student can attend as long as directors do not vote in a majority to ask the student to leave. IGNITE removed the times and dates of the meetings earlier this year after denying a student journalist entry to the September Board meeting, breaking their own bylaws.

The Board of Directors is a 10-member decision-making body elected by those enrolled at Humber College campuses and the University of Guelph-Humber. It is responsible for upwards of $8 million paid in student fees.

Among the changes to IGNITE’s governance is the end of executive elections. Officials say this move is meant to make the Board of Directors the face of IGNITE while the hired president and vice presidents will focus on leading operations as executive staff members.

Though it is rare, a few other student unions in Ontario also hire their executives. Khosla and Guelph-Humber Vice President Megan Roopnarine are on the record as being for the structural changes.

A third significant amendment that will be up for approval in January is a proposal to give the Board of Directors to pass amendments that will come into effect immediately. It can later be overturned at a large member meeting but it allows directors to have more unilateral power.

It is unclear if all the directors voted in favour of these changes or if it was a smaller-than-unanimous majority to pass the bylaw amendments.

There were some other items passed by the Board including, but not limited to, new classifications of IGNITE membership, document execution being under the control of the executive director and a vaguely worded amendment specifying that the “president term will be used for [B]oard chairperson”.

The new classifications come about because of the Student Choice Initiative and was expected. 

The top classification is “Full-Time Enhanced Members”, which appear to be those that opt-in to IGNITE fees, though there is no specification for those that only opt-in to some. 

“Full-Time Members” and “Part-Time Members” are those who pay only the mandatory ancillary fees. All three classifications are official members of IGNITE and so it is understood they will be able to still vote in elections and at special meetings.

It is unclear exactly what “executive documents being overseen by the executive director” means as an amendment but The Avro Post has reached out for comment from IGNITE for clarification.

Another hard-to-understand change is the “president term” being used for the Board chairperson. It is not clear via the meeting minutes whether that means the president’s term in regards to time or the terminology of “president” being applied to the chairperson.

Currently, the Board directors start and end their term at the same time as the executives so it would seem unusual for new amendments to specify that just the chair would have the same term timewise as the president.

It seems more likely that the chairperson position itself could be renamed to “president” to signify the Board’s importance from the student perspective, a goal that Executive Director Ercole Perrone and other officials have said they have committed to in the coming months.

These items will be flushed out in more detail at the Special Meeting of the Member and potentially press briefings that The Post will no longer have access to due to being cut off by IGNITE on Oct. 15 from briefings, interviews with elected student representatives and all other media requests.

There could be other items up for change come January but only the “highlights” of the amendments were noted in the Sept. 11 meeting minutes. ■

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IGNITE confirms 80% opt-in, critical meeting date

The special meeting will be Jan. 16.

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File photo.

IGNITE confirmed that there was an 80 per cent opt-in for the Student Choice Initiative earlier this year to the Humber Et Cetera, confirming the number stated by Humber College President Chris Whitaker in September, and narrowed down the date of a critical public January meeting.

Officials at a press briefing with IGNITE on Oct. 4 were surprised when Post reporters asked if the student union would release official opt-in numbers, and said they would take it under advisement. Most Toronto student unions have released their numbers.

The Student Choice Initiative, or SCI, was mandated by the provincial government in January among a series of reforms that cut student grants and post-secondary education funding across Ontario under the Progressive Conservatives.

Another article found in the same edition of the weekly newspaper reported that the Special Meeting of the Members, pushed back to the new year so IGNITE has time to prepare significant bylaw changes, will be on Jan. 16, confirming the date for the first time.

“The intent is to move towards a more formalized non-profit organization style way to work, which is to say meetings with the Board of Directors and guests the board wants to hear from,” Executive Director Ercole Perrone said to the Et Cetera, confirming reporting by The Avro Post earlier this year that IGNITE officials said was incorrect before cutting the publication off.

A member of the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union at Humber told a Post reporter last week that she had reached out to the student union in the past thinking they would be natural allies, but IGNITE was not responsive.

IGNITE has come under backlash from students for some of the bylaw amendments that were passed by the Board of Directors in September including ending executive elections and giving more power to the Board for unilateral decisions. ■

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