Irene Lo / The Peak

Written by: Amneet Mann, News Editor

 

SFSS extends Mini Mart lease in MBC

A motion to extend the Mini Mart convenience store lease in the Maggie Benston Center (MBC) was passed in the latest Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Board of Directors meeting.

The original lease deadline was December 21, 2018. Following this motion, the lease may be extended on a month-to-month basis to correspond with the expected opening of the Student Union Building (SUB). Applied science representative Kia Mirsalehi spoke to the reasoning behind the extension, stating that “[the SFSS has] no plans for the space otherwise.”

Following the opening of the SUB, Mini Mart — along with the other tenants of MBC holding SFSS leases — will be evicted from the building. SFSS CEO Martin Wyant noted that, if there is space available in the SUB for a convenience store, the vendor that will occupy that space will be decided via a competitive process.

 

Board debriefs fall lobbying trip

Vice-president external relations Jasdeep Gill, FCAT representative Amrita Mohar, and environment representative Russell Dunsford presented a debrief of their fall lobbying trip to Victoria to the rest of the Board. The directors were accompanied by SFSS campaigns and policy research coordinator Sarah Edmunds.

The SFSS partnered with UBC Alma Mater Society and the British Columbia Federation of Students (BCFS) during the trip. The partnering organizations presented three joint recommendations on open education resources, sexual violence and misconduct policies, and student financial aid.

Dunsford noted that the group had garnered support for a one-time $5 million funding to BCcampus to provide materials and support to open-access resources for students.

Mohar elaborated on the lobbying done on the sexual violence and misconduct policies. A recommendation was made by partnering organizations for a total review of the sexual violence policies of all post-secondary institutions to make the different policies consistent with each other.

Gill noted that garnering support for student financial aid was a “bit of a tougher topic” as it required significant policy changes on a provincial level, which would eliminate interest on BC student loans. Based on research done by the BCFS, the group made a joint recommendation for a $200 billion annual investment by the province to ensure that ancillary fees — such as engagement fees or facilities fees — charged to post-secondary students do not keep rising as they have been since 1990.

The groups noted steps forward that the SFSS was planning to take regarding lobbying. Gill mentioned that the SFSS hopes to involve SFU student groups in many of the topics that they are looking to address —  such as involving the First Nations Student Association in their reconciliation-through-education initiative and the Fraser International College in their goals to lobby to regulate international tuition.

“It’s really important to bring these groups along as well because I can sit here and talk about the research, but I think it’s their experience that’s what makes these advocacy efforts important,” said Gill.

Federal lobbying was mentioned as another step that the board was hoping to take, specifically to lobby for the safety of SFU students with respect to the Kinder Morgan tank farm expansion project.

Gill and Mohar also noted that they hoped to increase communication with the student body to better convey the intents and results of the board’s lobbying.