Clubs’ funding tied to sexual violence prevention

The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) council unanimously passed a motion proposed by Our Turn, a sexual violence task force spearheaded by the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) and CUSA, to link sexual violence prevention to clubs and societies’ summer funding during a June 19 meeting.

Kelsey Gilchrist, vice-chair of the sexual violence framework committee, tabled the motion to make clubs and societies’ summer funding dependent on members attending a sexual violence prevention training session.

“The general gist of this is that we want to implement training to help students be able to prevent sexual violence on campus and support survivors of sexual violence on campus,” Gilchrist said. “We’re hoping to get as many members of clubs and societies as possible to complete this training, and we’re tying that to club funding because we’ve found that in the past it’s an easy way to get clubs to adopt something.”

Operating as a pilot project, clubs and societies applying for summer funding will be required to have three members attend an hour-and-a-half-long training session on bystander training and sexual violence prevention. Clubs and societies will receive the second half of their summer funding after completing the training, Gilchrist explained.

Cat Kelly, CUSA’s vice-president (internal), said that the summer funding pilot project would make club funding more transparent.

“If we’re splitting the funding, that means that we’re going to give clubs the first half, but then we’ll give them a chance to be knowledgeable on sexual violence,” Kelly said. “I think even if we get to prevent one rape, or one act of sexual violence, or just make people more aware, this is a really pragmatic way of making change and making Carleton a leader in sexual violence prevention.”

Also at the meeting, both CUSA president Zameer Masjedee and Eric Hitsman, the GSA’s president, spoke to CUSA council about their “frustrating” experience attending the Canadian Federation of Students’ (CFS) semi-annual general meeting on June 5-7 in Ottawa.

Masjedee said “a lot of really powerful and really important amendments” were proposed during the meeting, but the high number of motions meant many were tabled for discussion and voting at the next general meeting in the fall.

“This is a trend that we keep seeing,” he said. “[Motions] keep getting tabled and tabled to the next general meeting, which makes it difficult for us when we’re trying to make positive changes within the CFS.”

More than 26,000 undergraduate students will be registered at Carleton in the upcoming school year, according to Masjedee.

Masjedee updated council on Carleton’s operating budget for the 2017-18 academic year, revealing a $470 million operating budget. He said the bulk of the university’s funding will come from tuition fees—$274 million—while the government will fund the remaining $172 million.

Council also voted to strike and fill the constitutional board. During a CUSA general election, the board handles any appeals made regarding decisions by the elections committee. Four undergraduate students at large, along with two alternates who act as proxies when necessary, sit on the board alongside Jim Kennelly, the university ombudsman.

Seven students were nominated to sit on the board. After a secret ballot vote, Meg Hickey, Alejandra Andrade, Miguel Vieira, and Tristan St-Pierre were elected as board members. Sultan Al Shemari and Miranda Anderson were elected as board alternates.

Before voting began, Masjedee said Anderson had been a volunteer for the One Carleton slate’s campaign during the last CUSA election.

“The whole point of the constitutional board is to have unbiased entities,” Masjedee said. “For the purpose of keeping our constitutional board as democratic as possible, I’d like everyone to be aware of that when choosing to vote.”

He also urged council members to speak up if they recognized other nominees who had campaigned for slates in past CUSA elections.

“We’ve had issues in the last year or two with people that had conflicts on this committee,” Shawn Humphrey, the CUSA council chair, said. “It does make things much more difficult when we’re trying to deal with issues.”

Photo credits: file photo