Board Shorts: July 25

Notes from the latest SFSS Board of Directors meeting

Image: Irene Lo

By Gabrielle McLaren, Editor-in-Chief

Board redirects SASS Fest (frosh) executive team to Executive Director to seek funding 

Representatives for the executive team of the Society of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS) gave a presentation on SASS Fest: a two-day welcome event including a sleepover and a variety of activities. The executive team hoped to secure a $4000 grant that would help them subsidize ticket prices. 

Ultimately, the board redirected the team to Executive Director (ED) Sylvia Ceacero given outstanding concerns about the proposed budget. This also ensured that the group adhered to proper SFSS procedures, which include going directly to the ED instead of the board for grant requests under $4000. 

Board formally endorses the British Columbia Federation of Students’ Knock Out Interest campaign 

The Knock Out Interest campaign’s goal is a direct appeal for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to eliminate student debt. Campaign representatives had presented to the board during the last meeting. Other student groups that have endorsed the campaign are based at Douglas College, Selkirk College, Northern British Columbia University, and Vancouver Island University. 

Board moves to update the Surrey campus committe’s membership policy 

“These rules were a little bit restrictive before,” explained Sarah Edmunds, the SFSS’ Campaign, Research, and Policy Coordinator. According to Edmunds, the policy changes will make it easier for students whose home base is the Surrey campus to engage in committee life even if they are not enrolled in classes at Surrey every term. 

SFSS to review its by-laws in preparation for changes to the BC Societies Act 

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In preparation for changes to the B.C. Societies Act, the SFSS is set to review its by-laws to make sure that it remains in compliance once those changes are enacted. 

“We need to be putting our ducks in a row for when those changes come, so we can adapt our by-laws and re-present them to the membership,” ED Sylvia Ceacero told the board.    

Ceacero has already started the process of hiring a consultant with experience in updating by-laws, and has also taken steps to access additional information via Vantage Point, a professional development group for non-profits. 

Ceacero estimated that these changes would be done by Fall 2020. 

SFSS to discuss officially supporting efforts to ban conversion therapy in B.C.

ED Sylvia Ceacero brought this issue to the board after it was raised by Out on Campus Coordinator Ashley Brooks. In early May, the provincial Green Party presented legislation to officially ban conversion therapy (interventions designed to “correct” the identities of sexual and gender diverse individuals to fit cisheteronormative categories). Public support for this motion has been picked up since, including through petitions on sites such as

“Personally, I think [conversion therapy] is barbaric,” Ceacero said. She asked the board to consider taking an official stance supporting this ban. “As a society, we need to push to make sure that we are as forthcoming and as clear with our intention that we will support banning this practice.”

Osob Mohamed, faculty of health sciences representative, agreed with Ceacero’s statement. 

“I also think this would be a really great time to hopefully continue thinking about implementing an issues policy,” she said. “Political discourse often ends up here and gets echoed here [ . . . ] we could end up seeing a lot of these things being implemented and we definitely want to take a stand against this and make sure that we are not funding these things in terms of clubs. 

“So I’m hoping that if we do decide to put out a statement [ . . . ] that we could also think about implementing a homophobia policy, et cetera.” 

This sentiment was echoed by SFSS president Giovanni HoSang. 

Further discussion on this issue will be held at a later date, once board members have had a chance to research this topic and prepare. 

Fall Kickoff update

Vice-president student life Jessica Nguyen announced that Fall Kickoff was moving forward and that the event’s Facebook page and early bird ticket sales ($30 each) would go live the next day. 

HoSang took the time to commend Nguyen on her hard work and dedication to the project during the meeting. 

The Peak is working on a longer story to look into this announcement more in depth.