By Amneet Mann and Henry Tran

Simon Fraser University consults SFSS on its updated Code of Student Conduct

Dr. Tim Rahilly, vice-provost and associate vice-president, students and international, who is currently on leave, proposed at the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Board of Directors meeting on January 12 that the current SFU student conduct policy, the Code of Academic Integrity and Good Conduct, be split into two policies: one for academic conduct and one for non-academic conduct.

“Generally speaking, the academic piece will follow what we do now, [. . .] and with the non-academic piece, there are some major changes,” said Rahilly.

The revisions pertaining to the non-academic piece of the new policy were introduced in the context of SFU’s new policy GP 44, which addresses issues of sexual violence.

Currently, the procedure for investigating serious cases of misconduct may involve the case being presented to the University Board on Student Discipline, which involves a tribunal. As an SFU Student Services document outlining the proposed changes notes, “In recent years the use of tribunes for conduct has been identified as a barrier for those reporting misconduct such as sexual violence as the survivor/compliant must face the respondent/perpetrator at the tribunal and there is an expectation of cross examination.”

Accordingly, the use of a tribunal to handle sexual assault allegations will not be recommended in the proposed non-academic conduct policy.

In the most serious cases, an investigator would be assigned to look into an allegation. The investigator would submit a report to a university decision-maker, which could be Rahilly, who would then determine whether or not the Policy had been breached and disciplinary action may or may not be taken. Disciplinary action can range up to, but excludes, suspending a student from the university.

Suspension of a student is an action that can only be taken by the President of the University, as specified by the University Act of British Columbia.

Board approves social event for student unions and council

The Board of Directors approved the budgets for an upcoming event for student union and council members.

As part of its Governance Engagement Strategy, the event’s goal is to bolster the student society’s relationship with its student unions. The budget for the event is approximately $1,700, with the projected attendance to be 25–40 individuals.

According to Erwin Kwok, vice-president of university relations, the event will allow the SFSS Board of Directors to discuss with departmental student unions about their goals and concerns.

“We feel that [this event] is entirely justified given the fact that this could change the whole focus of how we’ve been approaching these groups, who are our strongest followers,” Kwok said.

The majority of the budget will be spent on prizes, as an incentive for club members to attend the event, according to Jeffrey Leung, applied sciences representative. The event is free of charge and it will help the student society learn more about how their services could be improved to better accommodate the student unions’ needs.

External company to help SFSS explore new options for its health and dental plan

The board has unanimously approved a motion to allow TRG Group Benefits and Pensions Inc. to administer its SFSS health and dental request for proposal (RFP).

The purpose of the RFP is to help the student society explore new options for its health and dental plan.

According to Jimmy Dhesa, vice-president of student services, TRG Group Benefits and Pensions Inc. is a reputable consultant company that has worked with the University of British Columbia’s Alma Mater Society in choosing their health provider.

“[TRG Group Benefits and Pensions Inc.] will help us market the RFP . . . to many vendors as possible and then review the submissions that come in. They’re [going to] help us negotiate to get the best possible deals and they’re going [to] identify and recommend the possible vendors to us,” stated Dhesa.

The cost for their service is approximately $15,000, but according to Dhesa, it is a small price compared to the current size of the costs for the student society’s health and dental plan.  

“The value that this would derive is [probably going] to far exceed the cost. We’ll probably get a much better deal that will be valued at more than $15,000 [than] we are going to spend into this,” noted Dhesa.

In addition, Dhesa stated that this fund is coming out of the Health Reserve fund, which is currently around $1,065,000, and after this expenditure, it will decrease to $1,050,000. Dhesa emphasized that this is a one-time service between the SFSS and TRG Group Benefits and Pensions Inc.

“I think it’s money that’s well spent,” added chief executive officer Martin Wyant. Dhesa also commented that the last time the student society did a RPF was approximately eight years ago, so it is time for the student society to begin this process.