Jan. 22 UVSS Board meeting recap

Tensions were high at the latest board meeting, which dealt with board personnel and potential name changes.

The meeting commenced with the addition of Isabella Lee, who was added to the board as the Third Space representative. In her first report to the board, Lee said she was excited for this new era of Third Space and UVSS relations, hoping it would thaw tensions between the two formerly hostile posts.

Lee then apologized to the board for the previous behaviour of Third Space representatives, and said she hoped to “turn over a new leaf with the board.” Her report resulted in a round of  applause from the board members.

Next on the agenda was a motion to approve the resignation of former Director-at-Large Nicholas Chen, due to him finding a full-time job elsewhere, and the motion passed easily.

Several clubs were ratified and a variety of minor policy changes were approved and will be debated upon at the Feb. 8 UVSS Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM), but in the end, the meeting had only one main event: the contentious debate that raged around the table about Director of Outreach & University Relations Pierre-Paul Angelblazer’s proposed motion which would see his title change to “Chairperson.”

Angelblazer said the reasoning behind the proposed switch is because the name “Director of Outreach & University Relations” is “too long” and “is really annoying” with all the syllables in it. He stressed that his job duties wouldn’t change, but just the title.

That resulted in a fierce opposition from the board, who thought the name would imply a perceived hierarchy for students among the board of directors.

Director-at-Large Tanner Lorenson suggested that an uninformed voter wouldn’t know that the Chairperson isn’t above all the other directors.

“We know it because we’re here,” Director of Events Noor Chasib added. “But the optics for everyone else isn’t the same… you see Chairperson— you’re going to automatically think they’re the top dog.”

File photo by the Martlet

As Ben Johnson, Research & Communications Manager for the UVSS, explained, the Director of Outreach & University Relations used to be known as the Chairperson, and that title is common among other student societies. But, the change happened two boards ago in 2016 because of the perceived hierarchical nature of the name “Chairperson.”

Chasib countered by suggesting the position be named “Director of Outreach” instead, to keep the ‘Director of . . . ” name uniform with all the other board members. However, Angelblazer shut down that idea, calling the name “just weird.”

Director-at-Large Ramunas Wierzbicki heightened tensions at the table by calling the debate “a waste of fucking time” if it was simply over preference for a certain name.

After that, Chasib counterned by suggesting Angelblazer go by “Director of Academics,” which would fall in line to how UBC calls their equivalent position, the “Vice President Academic and University Affairs.”

Angelblazer entertained the possibility of that name idea, and decided to hold a roll-call vote amongst the board about debating this further at the SAGM on Feb. 8.

However, the board voted against it, with six in favour and seven opposed — the first time this board has failed to approve a motion. The news garnered a quick and ironic round of applause.

The next motion up for vote was a potential policy that would change Director of Campaigns & Community Relations Amol Swaich’s title to “Director of External Relations.” The motion passed, and will be debated further at the SAGM.

The meeting concluded with Director of Finance & Operations Mackenzie Cumberland motioning a move that would see the Food Bank move $28,734 in funds from their Reserve Fund to Emergency Food Bank Program.

Cumberland said the Food Bank had already budgeted for this money to be transferred, and  the board quickly approved the motion.

The next UVSS Board Meeting is scheduled for Feb. 5 in the Upper SUB Lounge.

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