IGNITE, already under fire for locking out students from Board of Directors meetings, took down the date for its Special Meeting of the Members recently, The Avro Post found on Saturday.
The meeting, or SMOM, is an annual public press conference that takes place every fall. Students attend to vote on changes to the constitution and can ask questions of executives and the Board of Directors.
Where it used to read Oct. 16, the Governance page on the IGNITE website now states that the SMOM’s date is “TBD”. The change was likely made at some point in the last three days, but it is unclear exactly when.
It is not the first time this fall that changes have been made to the page without any notice. Sometime between Aug. 14 at the earliest and Sept. 11, the student union removed an open invitation to attend Board meetings.
On Sept. 11, a reporter from The Post was barred from entering the first Board of Directors meeting of the year, held at Lakeshore Campus. The reporter was told the by-laws had been changed and that the governance webpage was updated to reflect it.
An immediate check of the governance page using a website categorizing service found that IGNITE had, between Aug. 14 and that evening, deleted a paragraph that invited students to attend the meetings and that “progress is made through open and honest conversation”.
Within the following hours, likely as the meeting was being held or right after it finished, IGNITE outlined new rules, saying that under the Ontario Corporations Act only directors had the right to attend meetings. Attendance or meeting minutes are now only available by request.
In the following weeks, student journalists have looked to find more answers to the sudden change. In an apparent response, IGNITE invited campus publications, including The Post, Et Cetera and Humber News, to a press conference on the by-laws that will take place on Friday.
It is unclear if this press conference is the reason the SMOM was changed to “to be determined” status. It could also could have been changed due to incoming alterations to the constitution which expected because of the Student Choice Initiative.
The Avro Post was asked earlier this year to send media requests for comment through Executive Director Ercolé Perrone, however, responses on this issue and others have been scarce. A planned meeting between IGNITE’s lawyer and The Post has not yet occurred, but likely questions will be answered at the press conference.
As for the directors themselves, the first public response was through Director Erika Caldwell, who advised students to look at the meeting minutes posted on IGNITE’s website.
A response from a Post reporter pointing out that the minutes would no longer be posted there did not receive a response.
The Post published an open letter on Sept. 24 asking for the board directors to contact the publication over the changes to meetings. None of the directors reached out to The Post.
An IGNITE club president commented on the open letter posted to social media, saying that Director Stephanie Fallico “is from my program and she’s wonderful”. Fallico responded to the Humber College student, saying “thank you, really appreciate that” but without addressing the letter’s request.
Eden Tavares responded to a poll posted on The Post’s Instagram Story that asked: “was our Board right to publish this open letter pleading transparency?” Her response was “no”.
Beyond the three director interactions, The Post has had no direct or indirect response from the Board. There has been no formal response beyond an invitation to the Oct. 4 press conference to either the Et Cetera or The Post.
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The Avro Post was established as an independent student publication at Humber College’s North Campus in October 2017. Its mission is to report daily news, important updates and in-depth reporting that matters to students on campus.
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