Editors note: This article initially stated that the Emergency Response and Student Engagement Group (ERSE) was created by the University’s administration. This was a error, as the group was created by the SFSS’s University and Academic Affairs Committee. The article has been updated to reflect this.
Written by: Paige Riding, News Writer
The Board supports name change for SFU Athletics teams “The Simon Fraser Clan”
Driven by a petition with thousands of signatures demanding a change of the university sports team, the Board voted unanimously to endorse the current efforts put in place to change SFU’s sports team name. This includes signing a letter to the university drafted by Councillors and to “actively work with BIPOC athletes and students in organizing a campaign to support their calls for the athletic team name change.”
The motion, presented by At-Large Representative Balqees Jama, noted that the current “Clan” name is linked with the Ku Klux Klan. Advocators for a name change have been pushing since 2017. Recently, student organizers reached out to Jama about the issue, asking for support from the SFSS around this matter.
“I think it’s just totally in line and appropriate with the kind of advocacy we want to do,” said Jama.
“This is a very simple step the Board can take if we’re actually committed to supporting anti-racism on campus. The Board will continue to ask the university and continue to work with the university in order to make sure that they’re actually moving toward actually changing the name,” said VP University Relations Gabe Liosis.
Student unions will be allowed to donate core funds to BLM and/or Indigenous-focused charities
The Board unanimously voted to suspend policy MGP-4 4.14.a that disallows SFU student unions to allocate their core funds outside of internal operations. The suspension will hold until August 1, 2020, and allows these groups to donate their funds where they choose.
VP Finance Corbett Gildersleve noted that some student unions have been requesting permission to donate their core funds, typically used for internal operations, including events and activities, to Black-led organizations and causes. Under the policies prior to this vote, student unions could distribute their trust funds however they wished, but core funds were to be used “to support the activities of the student union.”
FoodHub Project to receive one-time funding from The SFSS
The Board approved a one-time allocation of $5,000 and the use of the SFSS Forum Chambers for the FoodHub Project, a needs-based food bank project provided to students at SFU during the pandemic.
VP External Relations Samad Raza explained this service is one of the ideas that resulted from the formation of the Emergency Response and Student Engagement Group (ERSE). The group was created by the SFSS’s University and Academic Affairs Committee to help the student body during the pandemic.
Raza and his team reached out to SFU Civic and Community Engagement Coordinator Tara Flynn, who was trying to create a FoodHub service at SFU. They decided on the Forum Chambers as the home base for the service, a space on which the Board unanimously agreed in the vote. Further, a $5,000 grant to supplement the partial grant already provided by SFU was approved to allow the project to run until October.
The food will be pre-packaged into bags available for pick-up. Raza emphasized that six-feet social distancing will be enforced during these times.
“I think that this might act as a really cool pilot project, and then if things do go well, we can always extend it to other campuses, as well,” President Osob Mohamed said.