Council discuss changes to policies on in-camera discussion

Council members concerned over the transparency of the executive’s governance

This is a photo of the SFU Stadium at the SFU Burnaby campus.
Proposed referendum will have $299 health fee charged from Sept 1, 2023 onwards. PHOTO: Krystal Chan / The Peak

By: Pranjali J Mann, News Writer

Policy amendment for in-camera sessions 

At the June 22 Council meeting, Judit Nagy, SFSS vice president internal and organizational development, introduced a motion to suspend policy PM-1.2., which dictates how policy is notified and changed. This is because “a time sensitive situation has come up surrounding the amendment of old policies,” and would therefore “allow [the] Committee on Councilor Breaches of Confidence (CCBC) to continue its work expeditiously.” The motion passed and PM-1.2 was suspended.

After PM-1.2’s suspension, Council discussed time sensitive changes to R-9 and SO-22. The motion proposed only councillors and invited third-parties will be allowed into in-camera meetings. Additionally, if a councillor is not present for an in-camera meeting, they will not be given the information that was discussed.

Nagy stated the policy suspension had already been put into place in the last Board meeting in March. “This is highly, highly important to pass. We have work to do. This needs to be handled now,” said Nagy. 

Matthew Reed, history student union councillor, raised concern about this policy. “This is a highly questionable motion to propose. You are essentially saying that any councillor members that are not in attendance of any of our in-camera discussions are not granted any access to the in-camera discussions.” He added, “It’s very frustrating and very concerning. This is highly irregular, and I don’t see how you could desire it.” 

Reed continued, “There’s just a lack of transparency that has taken place with regards to this. This was proposed within the last 24 hours, we were given no clear information about this, and now we’re asked to vote on it.

Nagy responded, “That’s actually incorrect.” She said directors who are not present for in-camera meetings are not allowed to view the discussions, which “is not actually irregular.” She added, “I highly encourage Council to let CCBC do its job, and do it well.” 

Rea Chatterjee, vice president equity and sustainability, added, “I just want to reiterate a sentiment that a lot of people have been saying: this is becoming increasingly concerning with the lack of transparency, and also the lack of time that was given to everyone for a decision this big. This undermines the democratic nature of the society as well.” 

Vivian Ly, Disability and Neurodiversity Alliance member, echoed similar concerns. “I do not have any trust in this process right now as a councillor, because this does not seem to be good governance at all.”

After voting, 56% of Council voted in favour of Nagy’s policy amendment. This fell short of the two-third majority it required to be passed. The motion was not carried. 


SFU Bridging for Future Initiative

Arthur Lee, sociology and anthropology councillor, presented the SFU Bridging for Future Initiative to Council. This initiative aimed at assisting and supporting students who are directly or indirectly affected by civil and international conflicts. 

Lee highlighted the initiative as a support tool for students in response to major international conflicts, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He stated this was in accordance with similar past attempts of the SFSS to support students through implementations like the Palestine policy

This proposal is set out to roll in a three-step basis. The first step would include communicating with the university regarding what has been done already. This would be followed by consultations with SFSS and students to get an understanding about what the SFSS can do to support the student body. The third step would be to implement measures agreed upon in their student consultation in coordination between the SFSS, staff, and students.

The proposal passed unanimously.