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IGNITE continues to insist students don’t want a ‘line-by-line’

An analysis on budget transparency.

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Eli Ridder | Report

For the first time ever, journalists from The Avro Post were admitted inside the offices of IGNITE where the executive director willingly gave an interview — journalists were there for a budget that the student union insists no one will read nor does anyone want.

Read: First Story from Our Interview With IGNITE

Ercole Perrone made the point that this year’s budget is not finalized yet due to the chaos of the government-imposed Student Choice Initiative. But when asked by our reporter about posting last year’s full budget instead of an infographic, he shrugged the question off.

These are the facts: The majority of students don’t care about the budget of their student union but out of the about 25 per cent of students that vote year-over-year, this could matter to them. Some have told The Avro Post that they trust IGNITE and that a more in-depth budget is not necessary to post.

However, others publicly, privately and anonymously have spoke up over what they see as a lack of transparency. IGNITE has, for the years since it was branded as a student union for both Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, experienced issues over transparency several times.

IGNITE annually posts an infographic that critics have said shows a lack of financial transparency because they do not know where the $10 million of the student union’s budget goes. The money comes almost entirely from students in a $75 fee.

A fee that is now at least partially optional.

The Avro Post was able to send journalists only because we asked our reporters to email Mr. Perrone as individual students after the March Annual General Meeting when the executive director said students could come to his office to see copies of the budget.

When our reporter showed up on Monday, she revealed that she was with The Avro Post and said she would turn on a recording for transparency’s sake. There will be a second meeting on Friday with two our journalists that will build on what we learned in the first interview.

The Humber Et Cetera, an official but academically-tied student publication, was able to interview the executive director earlier this month.

IGNITE continues to ignore requests for comment from The Avro Post as an organization and a reporter was blocked from a Board of Directors meeting because he “was not a student”, despite the fact that he had a student number and was registered for the fall.

The critical Board of Directors meeting went uncovered.

IGNITE continues to insist students do not want what many call a “line-by-line” or more detailed budget but several students have made it clear they want one for transparency’s sake. This fall, students will have the choice to de-fund IGNITE, and there will many who decide to fund it and some who do not.

The question being asked here by student journalists is, if it is a time when the perception of transparency matters a lot so that students trust the union can use their money wisely to their benefit, why not try every way possible to be so?


Image of IGNITE from The Avro Post. ■

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Nominations open for 2020 IGNITE elections

Nomination packages are due by Feb. 14.

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File photo.

IGNITE on Tuesday posted details and nomination packages for its 2020 elections on social media, setting up its first ever election without executive positions.

There are 10 positions open for students to run for, all on the Board of Directors.

There are four positions open at North Campus, three seats at Lakeshore, two open at Guelph-Humber and a sole position available at Orangeville.

All nomination packages are due by Feb. 14 and can be filled out on the elections webpage. ■

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Campus

A new era for IGNITE

The next generation of directors will have new challenges.

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File photo of the IGNITE symbol.

With the passing of several bylaw amendments on Wednesday at a Special Meeting of the Members, IGNITE on Thursday strides into a new era with five months of decision-making behind it.

Elections will start in a matter of weeks and, for the first time in its history, the student union will not be electing executives. There will only be candidates for the Board, which sits at the top of IGNITE. 

There will be open seats at Humber College’s North, Lakeshore and Orangeville Campuses as well as at the University of Guelph-Humber. This next generation of directors will preside over a very different student union then the one the current term was handed last April.

In some ways, there will be more certainty.

They will enter a student union that has been reset with a new, more corporate direction moving forward through a new base rule: By-law No. 1 — which resets the rules for IGNITE with the bylaw amendments that students passed at the Special Meeting of the Members, combined with the skeleton of the previous Constitution.

That is not to say there will not be challenges. Chief among them will be the ongoing legal struggle over the Student Choice Initiative. Currently, the province is looking to appeal the decision made by the Ontario Divisional Court to strike down the initiative.

Several student unions, including the University of Toronto Students’ Union, have cancelled opt-out portals, ending its optional student fees and returning to the previous status quo of 100 per cent mandatory fees.

IGNITE reiterated its position on Wednesday that it would not end optional student fees while the SCI was in essential legal limbo.

If the Ford administration is successful in repealing the court ruling, student union officials said they would not want a scenario where they would have to flip-flop between mandatory and optional fees.

Directors will also have to manage hiring and overseeing the new student engagement coordinators, who will replace the current executive model.

They will be hired staffers within the student union and sit below the executive director and alongside part-time staff, according to graphics released by IGNITE. ■

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Constitution formally replaced with ‘By-law No. 1’

It awaits AGM approval.

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File photo.

Following approval by the members of new bylaw amendments on Wednesday, IGNITE has replaced its Constitution with “By-law No. 1”, though it still needs confirmation by the members at the Annual General Meeting.

By-Law No. 1 contains eight pages of rules, a full five pages less than the previous Constitution. It states it will need confirmation by the members on Mar. 22, 2020, a potential reveal of the date set for the AGM, a normal timeframe. ■

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