On Jan. 24, the University Students’ Council met for their weekly meeting. In the more than two-hour-long meeting, councillors and the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union executive met with the organization’s Elder-inResidence, discussed and voted on student fees, and talked about cultural sensitivity training.
Elder-in-Residence introduction: The USSU’s first-ever Elder-in-Residence, Marjorie Beaucage, introduced herself to council. Originally from Métis territory in Manitoba, Elder Beaucage has lived in Saskatchewan for half of her life, and she says that her life experience has prepared her for the position.
“I’m a Two-Spirit activist, artist [and] educator. I have been questioning things since I was born — I still do,” Beaucage said. “I’m here because you’re the future, and whatever I have learned, I can share to you. The movements I have been part of, the things I’ve learned from the land and from the mother — that is what I have to pass on.”
Elder Beaucage is slated to be on campus weekly on Wednesdays, and the locations and topics of her teachings can be found on the USSU website.
Student-fee increases: The USC voted on proposed increases to four student fees presented by the USSU executive. The Infrastructure Fee and the Saskatoon Transit Fee are tied to the consumer price index, and the executive proposed to increase them by the contractually demanded 1.1 per cent.
In addition, a 5 per cent increase to the USSU Undergraduate Student Fee was proposed. After consultation with Studentcare, the USSU executive presented a 4.55 per cent increase to the USSU Health and Dental plan. This proposed increase will cover vision care, the amount allocated for health practitioner’s coverage per visit, which is to be raised from $20 to $40, and the annual maximum coverage for practitioner coverage, which is to be raised from $400 to $500.
After more than an hour of discussion over how insurance premiums work, the USC passed all proposed increases. Based on the fee rates for the 2018-2019 academic year, the total increase will be $19.59.
ISC president recommendations: Regan Ratt-Misponas, Indigenous Students’ Council president, suggested that the USC should table the vote for the increased fees, saying that increased involvement with the constituent students is necessary.
Additionally, Ratt-Misponas asked if it would be appropriate for all USSU staff to take cultural sensitivity training with Elder Beaucage. Rollin Baldhead, USSU President, put forward a motion for USSU staff to take mandatory sensitivity training for “12 or six” hours.
Brent Kobes, USSU vice-president operations and finances, made a point of order that the motion is beyond the scope of the USC as the motion pertains to the Human Resources Policy. USSU General Manager Caroline Cottrell said that the USSU cannot legally make staff undergo that training. Cottrell also said that USSU staff would have to be paid for the training, and so it would be a “huge budget item.” Baldhead’s motion was not moved.
Tanner Bayne / News Editor