Motion passed to upload General Membership Student Survey 2017–8 results online
After publicizing the 2016–7 General Membership Survey earlier this year, a motion was brought forward at the latest Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Board meeting to do the same for the more recent 2017–8 results. Applied sciences representative Jeffrey Leung proposed the motion, and the Board approved that the survey results be publicized, after conducting final edits and data analysis within the following week.
Board votes on logo requirements for apparel for SFSS-funded student groups
On behalf of the Student Outreach Office, member services coordinator Ayesha Ali requested that the Board vote on a new policy regarding logo requirements on apparel ordered by SFU student groups using SFSS funding. Three options were presented to Board. The first option was that student groups using SFSS grant or core money to buy apparel must display the SFSS logo on the apparel. The second option was that the logo does not need to be visible regardless of which funding source is used to buy the apparel. The final option required student groups to display the logo when grant money provided by the SFSS was being used for the purchase.
The Outreach staff was in favour of the third option as it aligned with similar branding guidelines that had been put in place the previous year. “It’s just that the current printing guidelines do not include apparel,” said Ali, “so this [option] would just tie into what’s already there.”
Education representative Jamie Zhu mentioned that her departmental student union (DSU) is currently in the process of ordering clothing. “From what I’ve heard from them, they came up with the designs and stuff, and they don’t want to have the logo on there,” she said.
Business representative Gini Kuo and applied sciences representative-elect Kia Mirsalehi both raised concerns regarding the potential added printing cost for student groups to include the SFSS logo on apparel. Mirsalehi brought up the experience of the computing science DSU, which also orders new apparel every year, and spoke about how adding on two more colors for the SFSS logo would nearly double the cost of the clothing. “The point of putting a logo on really does encourage going and using money from our external banking account,” he said.
SFSS Chief Executive Officer Martin Wyant spoke to the original intent behind the branding guidelines passed the previous year: “The intent when we developed branding guidelines was to address concerns from the Society that no one knew who we were. [. . .] We should have an organized approach to this where we are proud of our relationship with clubs, student unions, and other affiliated groups that we support and we hope that they are proud of that relationship with us too over time, and that’s how those branding guidelines came together. It was a significant concern in the day that we were really poorly represented so I just wanted to make sure that I brought their vision into this table and, of course, it’s your decision to make.”
“I think the funding for clubs and student unions are there to help expand student unions their own operations — that’s what it’s for. If we need more communications or branding money, then we’ll put more money into that line. But I don’t think it should be the practice from our side saying that you’re only receiving these benefits because you’re helping us,” maintained Kuo.
The Board’s vote fell on a tie, broken by SFSS president Hangue Kim in favour of the third option, which requires student groups to represent the SFSS logo on apparel purchased with grant money.
Board discusses IEC Elections and Referenda Report
The Board hosted a discussion on the report prepared by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) reviewing the spring 2018 SFSS elections. SFSS Campaigns, Research, and Policy Coordinator Pierre Cassidy spoke about another report that he is currently putting together, which will review the feedback provided by the IEC and other staff areas involved in the election, and put forward recommendations on how to implement some of the proposed changes.
“This election went well in all regards,” said Cassidy. “Like everything, there is always opportunities to improve.”
“One of the things I’ve noticed since I’ve been here is there does seem to be an unnecessary level of drama, no doubt,” said Wyant. “Part of that I think is due to the compressed nature of the election cycle, and for many people it’s their first election. Some of it is also due to having an IEC in place that, in many respects, is brand new when they get hired too.”
“So I think the middle ground that we want to occupy here is one where we can develop a plan to better prepare IECs, make sure they have proper training and support from us as staff people, we need to be very clear that we’re not to play any role in any regard with supporting any particular candidates. But I want a good election, I want to make sure there’s a good debate. The debates aren’t, you know, taken over by candidate slates asking cooked questions to each other and all of the rest.”
The contents of the report were not favourably received by Kuo, who stated that she was personally “not comfortable with this being a precedent of what’s an appropriate report for an election.”
Arts and social sciences representative and vice-president university relations-elect Jackson Freedman proposed that the Board reach out to all the candidates who ran in this year’s election for feedback on their experience. “I think they provide a perspective that, frankly, the IEC is not going to be incentivized to provide,” said Freedman.
Wyant strongly encouraged Freedman to pursue this idea when he takes his position on the next Board. “The IECs get formed, they live in the moment, and then they disband, and historically we’ve stayed away from them,” he said. “So our ability to try and learn from them and the process that’s been undertaken is gone, so that’s why I agree wholeheartedly and I really want to see us do this.”
Board discusses bringing a unified SFSS stance on reconciliation to student groups
After a SFSS student staff member sent an erroneous email claiming that all student groups were required to state First Nations land acknowledgements at every meeting, Mirsalehi asked the Board, on behalf of the SFSS council, for the Society’s official stance on reconciliation.
Wyant clarified the matter regarding the incorrect email, a matter which has since been resolved with the student groups and Council: “The way it should’ve been framed is that it’s a request, it’s a matter of respect. I don’t think you can mandate every group to have to do that as a student society; you can request it.”
The discussion moved on to the SFSS issuing a broader statement regarding the Society’s stance. “I think [land acknowledgements are] part of a bigger issue that the SFSS should address,” said vice-president university relations Erwin Kwok. “Along with requesting our student groups to make [these] territorial land acknowledgements, we could also provide resources and other strategic ways of going about promoting information and awareness regarding this issue.”
Kim agreed with the sentiment: “[Land acknowledgements are] just a small band-aid solution to a bigger problem. So that’s why I think it is beneficial to do some more further consultations into what SFU is doing, what other student groups are doing, and then come up with a full report that we can implement across the entire organization for future years rather than a short term band-aid solution.”
Wyant strongly recommended that the Board reach out to the First Nations Student Association (FSNA) for help when conducting research to put together an official stance. “This is a prime opportunity to work with them with something they can sink their teeth into. So for us trying to come up with this on our own would, in fact, run counter to everything you’re trying to do,” he said.
“We’ve done that little part [of land acknowledgements]. But let’s give the meatier part to the student group on campus that wants it and can best speak to it.”