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Student blocked from IGNITE’s Instagram for ‘spam’

IGNITE has blocked a student after they made comments criticizing their social media.

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A fourth year psychology student was blocked by IGNITE’s official Instagram account on Thursday for what they called “spam” after several weeks of criticizing the student union for inaction on several issues.

The University of Guelph-Humber student, who co-founded the Pre-Med Society on campus, Hannah Derue, said that she made several comments criticizing IGNITE’s efforts largely around the Student Choice Initiative.

“You have done nothing to inspire the confidence or voluntary dollars of the students you’re looking to represent,” she wrote in one comment on a Feb. 5 post from IGNITE about a protest they attended.

“Here’s where our student government’s priorities are as we wrap up the last semester of mandatory ancillary fees. Good luck with convincing student(s) to find your meme account in the fall,” she respond on another post that depicted a popular creature from the Harry Potter movies.

These and other comments were removed after the student union blocked her account. A video posted by Derue in her Instagram Story shows how when she is logged out she can access the @ShareIGNITE page but when she logs in, she is unable to.

In a response to a tweet from Derue, IGNITE said she was blocked because her account was “used to spam our Instagram with the same comment on 24 posts, and so we blocked it” and invited her to contact their media coordinator if she wants to have it unblocked.

Derue replied to IGNITE’s response with a video showing what appeared to be a “bot account” for a business selling fruit on a Valentine’s Day-themed post, asking: “so IGNITE takes down my comments and blocks me but leaves spam messages from advertisers and bot accounts?”

There has not yet been a response from the student union to Derue’s reply.

“IGNITE should be ashamed of itself for running on a platform of transparency and blocking and deleting comments from those who dissent,” Derue told The Avro Post, referencing the student union’s statements saying they are transparent.

“They do not operate with democratic principles in mind and censor outside opinions. This will be reflected as students vote with their wallets this fall.”

There is no precedent known by The Avro Post for the student union to block an individual student. Other students have made some comments critical of IGNITE or have supported Derue’s comment but do not appear to have been blocked.

An investigation by The Avro Post to be published later this week found that IGNITE has posted 28 memes — humorous images usually made funny the text superimposed on them — since Jan. 17 when changes to student financial life were announced.

The Avro Post has reached out for comment from the executive director and president of IGNITE. The student union, however, has not responded to a formal request for comment since August 2018.

Image of IGNITE from The Avro Post.

Disclaimer: Hannah Derue is the partner of the editor-in-chief of The Avro Post but this story was written without influence and has been independently written and reviewed for accuracy and impartial reporting. ■

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Campus

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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Campus

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

It awaits AGM approval.

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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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