Written by: Michelle Gomez, News Editor
Here are the highlights from last Friday’s four-hour long Board meeting.
Black in BC Community Emergency Support Fund contribution
The Board carried a motion to contribute $3,000 to the Black in BC Community Support Fund for COVID-19.
The motion was put forward by At-Large Representative Balqees Jama. “We have stated that as the SFSS we’re standing in solidarity with Black lives, and a part of that is to make sure that we support the Black community financially,” said Jama.
She added that UBC’s student society, the AMS, has donated $6,000 to the same fund. Since UBC has double SFU’s student population, Jama noted, the SFSS will be proportionally matching this amount.
President Osob Mohamed expressed her support for the motion. “Times are rough,” she said, “not just because of COVID, but because of systemic racism that Black people are facing at the hands of white supremacy.”
Jama added that the fund prioritizes individuals who have not been able to access federal support, including international students.
Board votes to openly oppose the TMX project
The Board unanimously passed a motion to officially oppose the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) Project.
Science Representative WeiChun Kua explained that this project has been very controversial, and “has faced many oppositions from the City of Burnaby, from the provincial government, from environmental groups, from First Nations.”
“It’s unsafe and it doesn’t make sense to continue on during COVID,” said Environment Representative Anuki Karunajeewa.
Kua also noted that “we need to push SFU to take stronger action as well because I think as an institution they should be really doing more to pressure the government.”
VP Student Services Matthew Provost stated, “The SFSS has already stood in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en [ . . . ] we need to always be mindful that we should be taking opposition to the pipeline.”
The motion also mandates the Board to work with student climate justice advocacy groups to submit a letter to student unions across Canada and the United States to support them in calling on the Federal Government to terminate the TMX Project.
The SFSS will look into hiring a Black Student Support Staff position
The motion that was carried authorizes SFSS staff to investigate hiring a staff member to “assist in effective support, advocacy, and service delivery for the space that has been allocated for the SFSS SOCA constituency group.”
Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry (SOCA) is a constituency group that is currently entirely maintained and operated by students, noted Jama.
Jama explained that all other constituency groups (i.e. Out on Campus, the Women’s Centre, First Nations Student Association) have a support staff coordinator of some sort. “I think having a support staff to maintain the space in the new building [ . . . ] it’s appropriate to have.”
“This is definitely needed, and it has been needed for a long time,” stated Provost.
Mohamed said, “Being Black while in university is difficult. The system wasn’t made for Black folks [ . . . ] I am very cognizant of the harm caused by the SFSS on the Black community on campus and I’m hoping this can be a step in the right direction.”
SFSS staff are to report options for this position at a later Board meeting.