Board Shorts – July 24

The board discussed reinstating the Fall U-Pass, ‘The Clan’ name change, and racial profiling incident at past SFSS election debate

Image: Irene Lo

Written by: Paige Riding, News Writer

Roundtable discussion regarding Fall U-Pass

With the deadline approaching to make a decision about reinstating the U-Pass program for SFU students, the Board discussed its options before agreeing to vote at a later time.

VP External Relations Samad Raza summarized the meeting held between the SFSS, the Graduate Student Society (GSS), SFU, and Translink. They discussed newly presented options for opt-outs not shown in the recently circulated U-Pass survey in which students not residing in the Metro-Vancouver area could potentially opt out of the program if they could provide evidence of their location. Translink has not yet cleared this, though it is being considered, noted Raza. 

With only one week left to make the decision, the Board provided their inputs on restarting the program. The student survey that was sent out in mid-July came back with results that were “basically 50/50,” said Raza.

President Osob Mohamed also read a letter from the GSS requesting the reinstatement of the program and emphasizing graduate students’ need for a U-Pass due to research schedules and dependents. There is no separate U-Pass program for graduate students; therefore, the letter asked for their support in reinstating the university-wide program.

The financial aspect of suspending the U-Pass for another semester raised concerns amongst members like Haider Masood and Corbett Gildersleve. While the U-Pass costs $170 per term ($42.50 per month) for unlimited zone travel, a three-zone monthly pass is $177 per month. All other Board members who spoke during the roundtable also supported the reinstatement. The Board will vote on this matter shortly.

The Board provides update on SFU Athletics team name change

At-Large Representative Balqees Jama spoke about the current process of changing SFU’s name ‘The Clan’ due to its racial connotations.

“The review process is underway right now for the Athletics team name change. SFU Athletics is to provide a report to President Andrew Petter in early August — which is right around the corner — and the decision will be shared before the Fall term begins,” said Jama. She expressed feeling hopeful because of the overwhelming support from various accounts for the name change.

Jama continued to note the disappointment and alarm raised by the SFU community surrounding President Andrew Petter’s comments during the Senate meeting on July 6.

President Petter’s quote raising concern read, “to change the name because of a racist organization could be seen as succumbing to the hegemony of a racist organization, so it’s been a complex issue.” 

“There is nothing complex about asking for a name not associated with the KKK. It’s simple. And the rhetoric really just shows how institutions are not understanding the gravity of racial trauma systemically inflicted on racialized people, especially Black and Indigenous people at SFU,” stated Jama.

“It just goes to show again why we need racialized people in decision-making positions at SFU so that BIPOC perspectives are no longer considered an afterthought or just blatantly gaslighted.”

The Board discusses racial profiling incident at past SFSS debate, pledges to write a letter to individual targeted

Jama described an instance of racial profiling during the 2019 SFSS elections debate by past SFSS Board members and staff as a member of the audience wished to ask a question, but was allegedly not permitted to due to the alumnus not being a current student at SFU. The Board agreed to write a letter of apology to the individual.

According to Jama, who was present at the debate, these SFU community members “collectively targeted a Black man by preplanning calling security on him, and subsequently planning to escalate by calling police.” She proceeded to note that the individual was not endangering himself or anyone around, nor were there any prior bans on his presence on campus.

Jama said that Black audience members had to “deescalate a situation that should have never been instigated in the first place.” She emphasized that, not only had the SFU alumnus done nothing wrong to deserve such treatment, but calling the police was a threat to him as a Black individual.

VP Student Services Matthew Provost noted his concerns around Campus Security.

“This isn’t one isolated incident; this has been ongoing,” he begins. “This addresses more of the issue around security on campus. This isn’t the only time that individuals have been profiled, especially on campus.