Senior News Editor
Special general meeting to eliminate VP external
Vice president external affairs Blair Shumlich wants to see his executive position eliminated next year.
He says that the portfolio of his position is restricted and that his role can be filled by the other members of the executive.
“There just hasn’t been enough for me to do in this position for the last year,” Shumlich said, adding that he had “been looking at this for the majority of the year” and was sure the position was unnecessary.
Citing the 2008-09 scholastic year, when Nicole Kenney stepped down from her position on the executive, Shumlich said a four-person executive would be perfectly effective. In fact, he believes that the arrangement would encourage more compromise and co-operation within the executive on close decisions.
In order to remove the position — or to keep it, if students vote that way — council called a special general meeting for March 3.
To remove the position, there will be a change to the bylaws that govern the USSU. All students are invited to vote.
Rise in health and dental fee approved
Kristin Foster, the Pacific and Western Regional Director for StudentCare, explained the student health care plan to councillors.
The plan, which has been in place since 2001, provides students with coverage for what medicare doesn’t offer.
Currently about 71 per cent of all claims under the plan are for pay-direct drugs. Another five per cent are for drug reimbursements. The remainder is divided between eyecare and emergency medical costs.
An overall raise of 6.1 per cent to the current StudentCare fee passed at council. This will cover a $1.25 increase to the yearly health plan and a $12.55 addition to the dental plan.
The first quarter of this school year saw a 20 per cent rise in claims to the dental plan, thus the significant increase to the dental fee. If the StudentCare compensation fee — which is based on that first quarter data — is lower than predicted, students will see an increase in benefits.
A detailed description of StudentCare services is available at ihaveaplan.ca.
Education priorities for official opposition
The Saskatoon-Massey New Democratic Party representative, Cam Broten, visited council to update them on the development of the NDP’s platform for next year’s election.
Broten is the official opposition council for advanced education, and focused on issues close to students.
He cited affordability of housing, rent and tuition as the most important issues. He also touched on the importance of childcare at the U of S, which has been a focus of this year’s students’ union.
The NDP platform for the November election is still under review, and will be released in more detail at their March convention.