SU prez to miss bi-weekly meeting

By Jon Roe

The Students’ Union president will be excused from attending Students’ Academic Assembly meetings for the rest of the semester after a narrow decision Mon., Jan. 14.

The assembly voted eight to seven in favour of excusing SU president Julie Bogle from the remaining SAA meetings.

SAA represents and promotes the academic interests of undergraduates, meets weekly Mondays at 5:45 p.m. and is comprised of the SU’s vice-president academic, president, four academic commissioners and 13 faculty representatives.

Academic commissioner Alastair MacKinnon sits on SAA and feels the president added value to the meetings.

“[The president is] going to high-level meetings,” MacKinnon said. “They have the top-down view of the whole organization. They know what’s going on in the various portfolios so they bring a lot of knowledge and insight to SAA that other individual members don’t have.”

External commissioner Glen Krueger agreed, noting the president provided an important link between SAA and the Student Legislative Council, the governing body comprised of the four VPs, the president and 16 commissioners and the president is involved with all aspects of the organization.

“To have the person who can speak to anything not at SAA is detrimental, in my opinion,” said Krueger, who sat on SAA last year as a faculty of medicine representative.

Bogle had the option of taking a Tue./Thu. class, but the class fell before SLC’s Tue. 6:30 p.m. meeting. Instead, Bogle wanted to be amply prepared for SLC and to be available for elected officials during regular office hours. She explained that Tue. afternoon is a high traffic time for her because elected officials often have questions about the SLC agenda.

“I wanted to ensure I wasn’t going to be in a situation where I needed that time to prepare [for SLC] and I wouldn’t be able to,” she said.

She further noted that the president has a number of roles with SAA and she can fulfill those roles without attending the meeting. If Bogle took neither the Mon. or the Tue./Thu. course, it would have delayed her graduation.

The motion to excuse Bogle was brought forward to the Mon., Jan. 14 SAA meeting and generated a lot of discussion.

Members expressed concerns that the president’s absence would undermine SAA. Some said that they didn’t feel like SAA was important.

“If you’re not participating, it kind of makes us all look bad,” said academic commissioner Megan Martin to Bogle at the Jan. 14 meeting. “To be perfectly honest, SAA, at least the majority of us, we kind of feel shafted. I think our feelings are just a little hurt.”

Bogle has set up weekly meetings with VP academic and SAA chair Brittany Sargent to discuss SAA issues and has blocked off time to meet with SAA members before the Mon. meetings.

“It is an unfortunate situation,” Bogle said. “I’m really glad that the academic council could see my academic need and were willing to accommodate me.”