ASUS to reassess Tartan

Editors-in-Chief surprised motion was proposed

The Tartan has struggled since its inception in 2012.
The Tartan has struggled since its inception in 2012.

Tuesday’s ASUS Annual General Meeting (AGM) saw few disagreements on all but two motions — changes to the Honorarium Committees and the removal of the Queen’s Tartan.

The former was the only motion of the night that failed, while the latter was amended. The meeting, which began with approximately 100 people from Arts and Science, CESA and COMPSA in attendance, saw little contention throughout the night.

Some of the more significant motions that carried included the approval of expanding mental health education and awareness; the approval of a slight increase in the honorarium amounts for most ASUS employees; and the formal endorsement of the grading discrepancies report. The most contentious, and final, proposed motion of the night came at a time when attendance numbers had significantly dwindled. The motion to remove the Queen’s Tartan from ASUS Policy and its Constitution — proposed by representative Abhishek Chaudhry — saw the night’s most passionate speeches in opposition.

Most of those who spoke — including Commissioner of Internal Affairs Jon Wiseman, Rector Mike Young and Co-Editor of the Tartan Scott Ramsay — opposed the motion.

After some debate, the motion was amended to read “that ASUS Assembly task the advisory board to assess the current status of the Queen’s Tartan and to develop, if deemed necessary, amendments to Policy and the Constitution to be presented at the first assembly of September 2015”.

The motion then passed.

Tartan co-editors Scott Ramsay and Brendan Goodman told The Journal that ASUS didn’t consult with them about removing the Tartan from their Policy and Constitution.

“We found out that this was on the agenda when the agenda was officially published by the Commissioner of Internal Affairs Jon Wiseman,” said Goodman, ArtSci ’16.

“In fact, when we had discussed the Tartan beforehand at ASUS Assembly, overwhelmingly the response that we had gotten was quite positive, so it was a bit of a surprise.”

Ramsay said they were surprised about the concerns brought up by Chaudhry and the students he was representing.

“What kind of shocked us more than anything is that the concerns that were being brought up — that we weren’t letting outside sources publish, that we were far too formal, that we were competing with [The Journal] — that was just false,” said Ramsay, ArtSci ’16.

“We’ve set up on the basis that we weren’t going to compete with The Journal — we wanted to be an alternative news source that would provide something that The Journal does not for students.”

Ramsay said the difference between the Tartan and The Journal is that the Tartan’s articles are “user-submitted” and students can “say what [they] want”. Goodman and Ramsay expressed both happiness and disappointment for the way in which the future of the Tartan will now unfold.

“There’s definitely mixed feelings about it. Obviously I think the advisory board would do a fantastic job at being objective in their decision,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay said he hopes the advisory board consults with him and Goodman about where they see the future of the Tartan going.

“We were really hopeful that we would be able to keep things on track and allow the Tartan to see successes over the summer and really be able to hit the ground running come September,” he added.

“And now with this motion — the way things are going, sadly we’re not able to be in a position to do anything but publish articles until the school year ends.”

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