Irene Lo / The Peak

Board decides on process to decide new name for SUB

At the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Board of Directors meeting held on May 25, SFSS communications coordinator Sindhu Dharmarajah presented the Board with the idea of renaming the Student Union Building (SUB) set to open in fall 2018.

     “Right now [the name is] not really creative, it’s boring,” said Dharmarajah. “And it’s inaccurate, because we want something that goes beyond just the union and something that reflects all student groups on campus, general membership, and something that reflects our membership statement.”

     She went on to outline a set of guidelines for a suitable new name for the SUB — that the new name should encompass a sense of community and the student experience, and “it should not be named after a person.”

     The Board was presented with various options regarding different combinations of which groups — from Board staff, an SFSS sub committee, or the general student population — should be entrusted with suggesting potential names, creating a shortlist of names from the suggestions, and making the final decision on the new name.

     The Board ultimately voted on a process which would involve all SFU students being given the opportunity to suggest names, a Board subcommittee responsible for shortlisting the suggestions to a list of suitable candidates, and all SFU students participating in a final vote for the new name.

     “I feel like, with the shortlisting, that’s enough for Board approval,” said vice-president finance Matthew Chow during the discussion that preceded the vote. “So it would be nice for the students to say, ‘I decided on this name together, as a majority.’” The shortlisting process was deemed necessary to avoid what environment representative Russell Dunsford called a “Boaty McBoatface situation.”

     The process of selecting a new name was slated to begin the following week.


Board discusses university’s proposal to change parking fees and tickets

After meeting with the Sustainable Mobility Advisory Committee (SMAC) as a student representative, vice-president external relations Jasdeep Gill communicated to the SFSS Board the university’s proposal to increase parking fees and tickets on campus. The proposed changes would increase parking fines from $30 to $50, the hourly rates in some parking lots from a minimum of $3.50 to a minimum of $5.00, and the daily rate from $13 to $25.

     As reported by Gill, the justification for these proposals was because Burnaby campus was experiencing an increase in traffic, which was partly attributed to the Port Mann bridge no longer having a toll. The increase in parking fees and tickets are aimed to encourage high turnover — to get more students to leave the campus faster, and to make more parking spots available. “Myself and another student obviously raised the concern that this would be working counterintuitive to student engagement because students would have to spend more money to be up here, so they’d be leaving faster or deciding not to come on days that they maybe want to,” said Gill.

     Business representative Jessica Nguyen echoed Gill’s sentiments, saying “I think raising the price on the idea of trying to push people off the campus is exactly the opposite of what we’re trying to do.” Vice-president university relations Jackson Freedman drew parallels between this situation and the MECS catering at SFU: “I think this is similar to the catering issue. I think SFU outsources their parking to another external company, Concord, and they’re gonna have probably a lot of influence in pushing this decision based on the profit margin increase they’re going to get from this so I think it’s going to definitely be a difficult negotiation or a difficult advocacy initiative.

     “But just hearing from other students on the impact this can have, especially the student engagement point, I think it’s definitely worthwhile to get some sort of advocacy together,” Freedman added. He proposed the idea of a parking survey that would allow SFU students to provide feedback on the proposed changes, which the SFSS could then present to the university.

     The next SMAC meeting to get these changes approved the university will be held in two months. The Board reached a consensus to take on this issue as one of their initiatives moving forward.