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Board minutes reveal that new bylaws were approved

A secretive meeting in September was crucial.

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New bylaws that end executive elections and bring significant changes to the governance of IGNITE were approved by the Board of Directors during its secretive September gathering, meeting minutes finally published online revealed on Wednesday.

Meeting minutes were posted for just the May and September meetings. They would have been approved at the meeting after they were recorded if standard protocol was followed, but it is unclear why the student union delayed posting the records for several months or weeks.

The Board approved a new set of bylaws that will also need to be passed by members of the student union — all students — at January’s Special Meeting of the Members, an annual plenary that usually takes place in the fall.

It was delayed this year so that IGNITE could prepare and inform students, officials said during a press briefing on Oct. 4, when reporters first heard the news of the student union’s new, more corporate direction.

If these bylaws are not passed by the student body, it is unclear what would occur next, however, if passed by quorum, usually 50 students, than these bylaws would come into effect immediately.

The September meeting minutes reveal that the new bylaw amendments, which include ending executive elections and new classifications for at-large members of the student union, were moved by Asiya Bashir Awan and carried by Eden Tavares. It is unclear if there was a formal vote.

Also included in this set of bylaws change that IGNITE did not highlight during the press briefing or the Tuesday press release was a significant update: the Board will be able to unilaterally amend bylaws that will go into effect immediately on the “date of resolution”.

The Board-approved amendments can later be unapproved at a Special Meeting but it gives the directors significantly more power to make decisions at meetings that are largely private. Students are supposed to be allowed to attend but no locations have been posted since September.

Other highlights of the amendments to the bylaws of IGNITE, which are compiled in the Constitution, included the use of president term for the board chairperson.

It is unclear if this means the chair of the Board, who is elected amongst the directors every year, will now be called “president” or if the length of time the current president serves in office will now be utilized for the chair, who already serves the same amount of time as the student president of IGNITE.

Another amendment highlighted that was not included in Tuesday’s announcement was that the “execution of documents” will now be “overseen” by the executive director, the highest-level staff member of the student union.

Annual Meetings of the Members, which refer to both the Special Meetings and the Annual General Meetings, will now include “an updated list of required agenda items”, the meeting minutes say.

IGNITE is the student union representing full and part-time students enrolled at Humber College campuses and the University of Guelph-Humber. It advocates on behalf of students over a variety of items, runs events throughout the year and manages a multi-million dollar budget backed by student fees, some of which are optional. ■

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Exclusive: Guelph-Humber will not be moving as strategic plan is developed

There are no plans to move the university as a new strategic plan is developed.

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File photo of the University of Guelph-Humber on Sept. 24, 2019 by Eli Ridder/TAP.

The University of Guelph told The Avro Post on Friday that there are no plans to physically relocate the University of Guelph-Humber “at this time” amid an ongoing process to develop a new strategic plan expected to be completed by the spring.

After a report revealed that last year that Guelph-Humber’s sole building at Humber College’s North Campus was over capacity and there were unverified rumours that the university would be moved, questions arose over its future.

Guelph-Humber was established in 2002 through a partnership between the University of Guelph and Humber College.

Officials pointed to a new webpage dedicated to bringing together all resources to do with the partnership between Guelph and Humber including an operational review undertaken during the fall of 2017.

There has not been a new strategic plan since the governing framework of Guelph-Humber was written in 1999 to establish the university and so a year-long process was launched last May to make a new plan, according to a press release from the presidents of Guelph and Humber.

Guelph-Humber graduates receive a bachelor’s degree from Guelph and a college diploma from Humber. Guelph-Humber students have access to many of the supports provided by Humber and are also members of the IGNITE student union. ■

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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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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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