A Breakdown of the General Assembly
By Devyn Sherry
The Dawson Student Union’s General Assembly was originally planned for May 21st. Due to many organizational issues, the meeting was postponed several times, from the 1st of October to the 10th, until finally happening on November 19th. The meeting ran from 6:07pm to 8:58pm, and was divided into two sections: An overview of the Union’s activities in 2020, and reviewing the 2019-2020 budget.
Aya Chkirate, Chairperson, was the first to speak. In her introduction, Aya outlined the DSU’s plan for the ongoing school year - assessing student needs, reorganizing the union to fit those needs, and strengthening the efficiency of the Union itself. To assess student needs, the DSU plans to hold consultation meetings for both clubs and regular students of different backgrounds and programs. This, along with a student-wide survey, will culminate in a student recommendation report that will inform how the DSU can best serve the student body.
To achieve this goal, the Union execs are planning on reorganizing everything, from existing files and policies to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, to better suit student needs, whether those needs be filing a health and safety report or asking for a money box. After that, executive meetings will be held once a week with an emphasis on student support and Union transparency.
Annalyn Ervas, Deputy Chairperson, outlined some of the projects she’d like to see brought to light in the coming semester. Among those projects is the First DSU Gala, an annual prom-like event that would take place in mid-April. Annalyn also stressed the importance of implementing a student council to supervise the DSU, though when exactly the Union plans on forming the council is still up in the air.
DSU’s main goals concerning the budget were to minimize bureaucratic expenses, maintain club financing, all while paying for seven years’ worth of auditing.
Expenses were a big talking point - Faith Kerner, Treasurer, cited limiting bureaucratic spending as an important goal for the DSU. On top of that, many of the DSU’s financial statements in the past seven years had not been completed, and so Faith has been tasked with finding an accountant to properly audit expenses. Above all, however, the DSU will be striving for financial transparency, as Dawson students want to know what their money is being used for.
Legislative transparency is also a DSU goal, as George Rigas, director of Internal Affairs and Advocacy, outlined in his presentation. Having already worked to organize advocacy cases so that they can be more accessible to the student body, George plans to continue revising student by-laws and policies so that advocacy cases can be better handled. George plans to work with the Hive to revamp Dawson’s sexual harassment policies, which will make students feel safer and allow more cases of misconduct to be handled effectively.
Lastly, the budget. DSU’s main goals concerning the budget were to minimize bureaucratic expenses, maintain club financing, all while paying for seven years’ worth of auditing. Currently, the DSU has 512,000$ in revenue, with 1000$ coming from merch. Of the 512,000$, many changes were made to better reflect Dawson’s spending tendencies. Mobilization funding has doubled from 40,000$ to 80,000$, and training expenses have dropped to 4000$ from last years’ 10,000$. The biggest change, however, can be found in the funds allocated for retreats, plummeting from 50,000$ to 6000$.
Despite the extensive nature of the Assembly, some financial issues were left undecided after attendance dropped significantly in the second half of the meeting. A second Assembly, held on December 3rd, finalized any and all decisions left to be made, and the DSU will be able to move forward with their 2020 plans.