Student Parliament meeting: public canteen situation, incentive scholarships and other issues

On October 8, members of the Student Parliament of Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) gathered for the last remote sitting of this term. During the meeting, issues related to the implementation of the Vytautas Magnus University Public Canteen, incentive scholarships, student representatives in the Vytautas Magnus University Senate, Vytautas Magnus University Student Representatives (SR) Statutes and Work Program were discussed. Also, the issue of the procedure for organizing the next VMU Student Parliamentary Elections was included.

First of all, members of parliament discussed the VMU public canteen. VMU SR President Paulius Vaitiekus and parliamentarians belonging to the canteen working group presented what was decided at the last meeting with VMU Director of Administration Jonas Okunis. It is proposed to involve the entire VMU community in decision-making regarding the canteen. Monika Višnevska, a representative of the Faculty of Social Sciences, said that it is possible to create several working groups to work with different models of canteen design. Finally, it was decided that the current canteen working group, consisting of Emil Starodubov (HMF), Benas Baranovskis (SMF), Ieva Vengrovskaja (HMF), Tomas Bacevičius (PMDF), Tadas Juodgudis (MF), Monika Višnevska (SMF) ir Paulius Vaitiekus (EVF) , will prepare recommendations for further action and community involvement in the development of the canteen business model.

P. Vaitiekus, President of VMU SR, raised a discussion question regarding incentive scholarships: to what extent scholarships should be awarded to students. MEPs agreed that the current system for awarding scholarships should be changed, as the number of students receiving them is very low and the criteria are extremely high. According to Ieva Vengrovskaja, a representative of the Faculty of Humanities, in order for a student to make the greatest effort, study and be able to work, the scholarship must be one for which he or she can live freely. It was decided that the President of VMU SR would make the necessary calculations and gather information about the possibility of receiving larger funds and present them to the newly elected parliament.

This year, the term of office of the current student representatives in the Vytautas Magnus University Senate ends and the election process begins. The Senate is a collegial institution of academic affairs management of the university, in which students are represented by 14 persons. The President proposed extending the mandates of six candidates already in the Senate because of their competence and ability to continue the work they had begun. According to his proposal, Gabrielė Šturmaitė and Kristina Balčiūnaitė, representatives of the bachelor’s degree, Greta Šmaižytė, Vytautas Kučinskas and Dominyka Kurklietytė, representatives of the master’s degree, and Vigilija Žiūraitė, the representative of the doctoral degree, should continue to represent the Senate. Parliamentarians will express their views on each candidate by electronic vote. Also, they invite the president to submit their proposed candidacies for the remaining student seats in the Senate.

The further process of editing the current VMU SR Articles of Association was also discussed at the meeting. The Statutes adopted by Parliament contain errors which do not comply with the law. President P. Vaitiekus asked the parliament to give him a power of attorney, which would allow him, together with a notary, to correct the corrective errors in the Articles of Association of VMU SR. Parliamentarians will express their views by electronic vote.

During the meeting, Solveiga Skaisgirytė, Chairwoman of the Audit Commission of Vytautas Magnus University, presented the report and recommendations on the implementation of the Student Work Program prepared by the Audit Committee. The first recommendation was to convene a working group to edit the document and suspend its execution until the document is updated, and the second was to cancel and abandon the implementation of the Student Work Program. Following the debate, it was agreed by common accord that Members would express their views by electronic vote: a decision would be taken on whether to approve the report on the implementation of the Work Program submitted by the Audit Committee.

At the end of the meeting, the procedure for organizing elections to the new Vytautas Magnus University Student Parliament was discussed. At the suggestion of President P. Vaitiekus, the Board of VMU SR should prepare the temporary procedure for parliamentary elections (taking into account the situation regarding COVID-19) and present it to the members of parliament next week. The electoral process is scheduled to begin on 19th of October. MEPs supported this proposal.

The meeting was attended by 20 student representatives and 3 guests. Paulius Vaitiekus took the chair, Matas Čepurna took the secretary.

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