Words By Naadia Buhary
On Saturday, the 22nd of November 2014, as current and incoming MUSA council members settled down in the MUSA meeting room, the President called the 9th and final MSC meeting for the year 2014 to order at 10.35am.
First up on the agenda, the Returning Officer (RO) for the MUSA 2015 Annual Elections presented the election report, informing the council of the timeline and procedures that occurred prior to, during and after the elections. Two positions were uncontested: Male Representatives for the Schools of IT and Pharmacy. Debates were held during Week 9, outside Audi 1, with nearly 150 students in attendance on each day. A student raised the issue of noise disruption caused by the debates being help outside of the library, especially during the crucial assignment and mid-sem exam week for students. The RO replied that in order to encourage student participation it was essential for the debates to be held in that location. It was reported that 1507 students voted during the election, while a by-election would be held in Semester 1, 2015 for the election of the Male Representatives for the School of Arts and Social Sciences.
The RO mentioned that several ITS issues were encountered during the debate and voting sessions, such as an unanticipated power outage causing the e-balloting system to be closed. The RO implemented paper balloting, but suggested to the incoming council to find a means of overcoming these issues in order to allow a continuous voting process. With regards to the incident whereby a Monash alumnus wanted to vote during the election, the RO informed the council that upon conferring with the MUSA Advisor, Ms. Caryn, the alumnus was escorted away by security. The RO suggested MUSA 2015 to brainstorm ways by which such incidents could be avoided/ handled in future elections.
Next up on the agenda: worms, butter cream chicken and Lunchbox! Over the past year, several complaints had been raised by students with regards to the sanitary quality of the food. The 2014 and 2015 MUSA Presidents had met with the Lunchbox owners in order to clarify these issues. Following the meeting, the owners had agreed to release a statement pertaining to the issue. MUSA could act as the medium of communication to release the statement to students, while a feed-back survey will be conducted by MUSA 2015.
Next up, the Vice Presidents announced to the council of the university’s Campus Education Committee’s (CEC) decision to adopt the CGPA system, with effect from 2015. The transcript will contain both the GPA and CGPA. Full details are yet to be finalized, with the Academic Progress Committee (APC) will train the School Representatives and Vice Presidents on how to advice students with regards to dealing with failing/deferring exams and other academically related issues. The training will be conducted by officers from Australia though video conferencing.
The second batch of 1050 hoodies was sold out in hours. However of the hoodies reserved for the Clinical School in Johor Bahru, 4 were missing. In order to cover the losses through this, the discussion at the meeting established that the hoodies passed through 3 separate entities before reaching Johor, while the Vice Presidents and MuMeds President had also signed a legal document stating that the MuMeds President was responsible for the goods. He will be responsible for paying for the 4 missing hoodies by personal means or by his committee.
In order to attend the Harvard World Model United Nations (MUN) Conference in March 2015, the MUN Society was requesting an extra RM9,000 as sponsorship. The Vice Presidents were already providing an RM17,000 subsidy. After the lunch break, the MUN Society revised their sponsorship request to RM4,000. After an intense discussion, the society was not granted the extra funds.
The School Reps presented the list of activities: past and future, carried out over the past year. The MUISS President’s Report re-visited the case of the missing money from the previous MUISS committee. The loss of money was not reported to the police, as it was during the exam period, while Campus Security was unable to identify the culprit. It was stated that “admin will take care of the matter”, hence the case was closed. The Admin further clarified that loss of money would not be covered by them; hence the case fell on MUSA shoulders. The total amount missing amounted to RM8579.20, while students had paid RM3,885.10 to external vendors and hence required reimbursement.
The council voted to not absorb the approximately RM9k which was stolen, while agreeing to reimburse the RM3,885.10 to the students. Following a heated discussion, it was recognized that by agreeing to not absorb the missing funds, responsibility was placed on the previous MUISS committee to provide the funds. As most of the committee has graduated and would not be returning to Malaysia, the discussion raised the query of who would bear the cost in the event the previous committee did not pay the money back. MUSA President agreed to inform the former MUISS President on the matter and clarify the issue of returning the stolen money.
Clubs and Societies Division requested extra RM2,500 for the Monash Christian Fellowship. However, due to the lack of a breakdown of the required funding, the council voted against providing the extra funding.
The Editors’ Report informed the council of the themed issues of MonGa, as well as the revamping of the online platform MonDo. The Editors also informed the council of the lack of commitment to an agreement by Monash Media Club over providing the photos of the Monash Annual Ball 2014. Due to this, the Editors were unable to cover the event as well as they would have liked to in MonGa. Monash Media Club accepted the fault was theirs and agreed to hereby adhere to any and all future agreements. It was also suggested to the incoming Publicity and Editor Departments to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure any means of conflicting interests between the club and MUSA for future activitirs.
Reports presented by the Welfare and Wom*n Officers’, as well as the MUPA Division informed the council of the events and activities undertaken over the past year. The MUPA President also informed the council on the verdict of the recently held MUPA elections, with the President being re-elected for a second term.
Nearly seven hours later, the final MSC meeting for 2014 was adjourned at 5.17pm, with everyone breathing a sigh of relief!