Senate Report — October 4, 2021

The Senate discussed the Gathering House’s art show and COVID-19 safety initiatives

AQ with blue skies
PHOTO: Allyson Klassen / The Peak

By: Charlene Aviles, Staff Writer 

Reports on National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and First Peoples’ Gathering House

Johnson reflected on SFU’s programming for National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and recognized reconciliation is an ongoing process.

“At these events, SFU has been able to reaffirm its commitment to serve as an instrument for reconciliation through restoring relationships with Indigenous communities. We all recognize that this involves meaningful actions in helping with a healing process for past injustices,” said Johnson.

In September 2021, SFU showcased the First People’s Gathering House’s art. SFU plans to start construction of the Gathering House in spring 2022. According to Johnson, it intends to address the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council’s calls to action. The report urged SFU to provide Indigenous students and staff with “culturally safe and culturally appropriate spaces on all three SFU campuses.”

Updates on the return to campus plan

Johnson noted SFU members’ co-operation with COVID-19 safety measures, such as following campus mask mandates.

“Our first month of the semester’s gone really well. And I really want to thank all of you who’ve been part of that process,” said Johnson.

As SFU continues to consult with public health authorities on public safety policies, they are considering ways to verify student and staff’s vaccination status.

“More than 85% of our community have self-declared in terms of their vaccination status. And of those, 97% are vaccinated,” said Johnson.

Despite the high rates of self-reported vaccine status, Johnson cautioned senators they are still checking the data for survey respondents who responded with multiple emails. The final results of SFU’s vaccination status survey are pending. 

“We’re working with Teck Industries right now, and they have generously provided funding to install 1,600 copper patches on door handles, bathroom push plate places, and elevator buttons.

“Due to the antimicrobial properties of the copper, the patches can kill 99% of the surface bacteria,” said Johnson.

The next regular Senate Meeting will be held on November 1, 2021.