Written by: Henry Tran, Coordinating News Editor
Meeting minutes will now note which director is abstaining or voting against a motion
At the latest Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) board of directors’ meeting on February 1, the board passed the motion to keep a voting record for all future board meetings.
The motion was brought forward by Kia Mirsalehi, applied sciences representative. Mirsalehi stated that: “If we make it obvious on who’s voting against or who’s abstaining from a motion [it] adds transparency to our motions and means that we can’t [hide] behind any sort of barrier.”
Jackson Freedman, vice-president university relations mentioned that the disadvantage to this new protocol is that it might make some directors vote out of fear. “I don’t want to put our board member in a position where they may have to vote out of fear [. . .] because there are some board members who may be afraid to put their perspective forward.” However, Freedman made it clear that he was not against the implementation of this new practice.
Giovanni Hosang, president of the Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry (SOCA) stated that: “This is a good way to track people’s voting record [ . . . ] We get to see who is voting what, where, and if people are voting [differently] because [of personal reasons].”
SFSS to officially recognize February as Black History Month
The SFSS board of directors has formally agreed to celebrate February as the Black History Month, starting this year. According to the SFSS meeting agenda, Black History Month is an important event to recognize the contributions that black Canadians have made to the nation and remind “all Canadians that racism is not a matter just of the past.”
Balqees Jama, internal relations officer of SOCA gave a presentation on why Black History Month is of importance to the SFU community.
Jama stated that: “Celebrating Black History Month honours the leaders of this country in the black community [ . . . ] I think a lot of people forget that Black people exists in Canada especially in the West Coast just because we’re not as visible compared to the Black community in the East Coast.”
At SFSS community events such as Munchie Mondays, the SFSS will be providing educational pamphlets as well as a list of existing certificates and courses that SFU students can take to learn more about the history of the Black community.
Board approves shared-space model for the new Student Union Building
Following the space allocation discussion that the SFSS directors had previously, the SFSS directors have agreed to use the shared-space model to allocate space to student organizations and student unions in the new Student Union Building (SUB).
Under this model, clubs and student unions will be allocated space in one of the four suites and eleven offices in the SUB on a semesterly basis, according to Freedman in a follow-up interview with The Peak.
In response to this announcement, Hosang said: “This model is one logistical nightmare. There are 300 clubs on campus and based on the current model, only [a limited amount of] clubs will get a suite each semester.”
Hosang further commented that, “There are 22 other bookable rooms in the building. I don’t understand why you are pushing so politically for a shared space model. It is not efficient.”
Freedman then clarified during the meeting that the SFSS has received only 66 applications for space in the SUB, so not all 300 clubs require space in the new building.
Aiswariya Sunder, an SFU undergraduate student said to the board if clubs have to apply for spaces in the SUB through these application processes, it means that the SFSS is “indirectly stating that one club is better than the other.”
“Organizations like SOCA, SFPIRG, CJSF, need space to run on a day to day basis. Clubs don’t. Clubs meet once or twice a week or biweekly. I’m part of three clubs. We meet every two weeks, sometimes once a month. Clubs do not need [a] permanent space,” she further said.
Samer Rihani, acting president of the SFSS said in a follow-up interview with The Peak that after the semester has ended, the SFSS will conduct an internal review to determine if they should extend the space usage to the group who is currently occupying that suite.
“It’s still a bit of a rough plan as to exactly how it’ll look, but we’ll be sure to communicate this to students well in advance,” said Rihani.
Freedman also stated to The Peak that the board of directors is currently exploring different options to ensure that every SFSS group have a chance to use space in the SUB. An option that Freedman had in mind was to make ownership for three out of the four suites rotate every semester, he shared. However, this hasn’t been brought forward to the board yet.
Physical altercation during break
As the board meeting transitioned from an open session to an in-camera session (where only the SFSS board of directors are permitted to attend), a physical altercation took place between two non-board members. The altercation took place during the 10-minute break.
According to a public statement by the SFSS, the involved individuals are non-SFU students. Campus Security and the RCMP have been contacted and the individuals remain unnamed for the time being as an investigation is underway, according to Rihani.
As a result of this incident, the SFSS will be making changes to ensure that future board meetings will be safe for its membership to attend, the statement further adds.