SGPS council meeting highlights internal privacy issues

First reading of coming year’s budget kicks off Sept. 13 council

SGPS council meeting discusses budget, event-sanctioning, and privacy issues

On September 13, the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) held their first council meeting of the academic year.

Putting aside recent rumours at the SGPS-affiliated pub, The Grad Club, allegedly jeopardizing SGPS member’s health and dental plans, the SGPS meeting instead focused on an issue of privacy that has been causing concern in recent months.

During the meeting, a motion was put forward to create a new committee, which would take a critical look at newly-implemented SGPS departmental registration and event sanctioning processes.

Various issues had been raised to SGPS executive members about the inclusion of personal contact information of council members being required in these processes.

These concerns fueled debate during the meeting, where some council members felt as though their lack of accessible information at the time was more of an excuse for a political process than a justified reason to shut down an event.

During the meeting, VP of Finance and Services Stuart Clark said that the reasoning behind collecting the personal contact info of council members in order to secure an SGPS sanction for their event boils down to authenticating.

“A lot of it is just to make sure that the person submitting events from that particular faculty society is the person recognized to do so by that faculty society,” he said.

“We realized we do a pretty bad job of keeping track of people who should have official contact with us.”

Four questions about the topic were pre-listed in the meeting’s agenda, and asked for clarity around what the registration process was for, whether it would solely be an application for official recognition of a department society, and what it entailed.

As well, members wanted to know whether this process would be linked to the process by which departments have seats on Council, and why it was necessary to the SGPS to collect both personal information of members and the results of departmental society elections.

Clark fielded the majority of the questions raised by other council members, and regularly needed to have speaking rights donated to him to continue defending his position.

Other matters of business attended to during the September council meeting included the first reading of the 2016/2017 budget — one of two other formal motions in the agenda.

The budget, compared to last year’s, is up over $30,000. Last year, the society operated with an expense budget of $612,150, with a jump this year up to $643,800.

However, the 2016/2017 budget increase comes without much surprise. The new value factors in the excess revenue from 2015/2016, which tallied in at $32,595.

A second reading of the budget will be held at the next council meeting, set for Sept. 20. 

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