The first UVSS meeting of the semester starts off with a bang (of the gavel)

A Tweetcap of the September 10 UVSS meeting

Photo by Belle White, Senior Staff Photographer

The first UVSS Board of Directors meeting of the semester saw several key changes including the ratification of a new Pride representative, the presentation of the prospective 2018-19 budget, and a personalized gavel waved around by Director of Outreach and Community Relations Pierre-Paul Angelblazer.

The gavel, a birthday gift according to Angelblazer, was put to use in just the first few moments of the meeting when a round of introductions fell into a heated debate about which type of chocolate is the best.

When order was restored, the next point of business was to ratify changes to positions held by several of the advocacy group representatives. Representing the Pride Collective, Avria Chrystall took the place of Willa Budz. The board also accepted the resignation of both Karina Dhillon of the UVSS Feminist Collective and Natalie Blecha from the Society for Students with a Disability (SSD). While there were no replacement representatives to be ratified at the meeting, both positions are expected to be filled at upcoming meetings.

Only two advocacy group representatives were present at the meeting to give reports. Nathan Ponce, on behalf of the Students Of Color Collective (SOCC), announced that the group is excited to have found an artist in residence, and Chrystall said that Pride has been busy planning their Halloween party.

During reports by the Lead Directors, Director of Events Noor Chasib thanked everyone involved with last week’s Campus Kick Off for volunteering their time to help make the event “one of the most successful ones in recent history.” As it was a learning process, he encouraged people to come forward with any thoughts they had on how the event could be improved upon.

The meeting then moved to question period, where the Martlet asked the board about the still-vacant Director of International Relations position. Although Director-at-Large Adrienne Graham had previously been elected to cover some of the responsibilities of this portfolio, she would be approved for a semester-long leave of absence later on in the meeting.

According to Angelblazer, a by-election to fill the position would be “prohibitively expensive,” a particular concern following the overspending of $26 000 by the UVSS Elections Office  during the 2017-18 term.

Moving on to the main motions, Curtis Whittla, Director of Finance and Operations, passed out a preliminary 2018-19 UVSS budget. Due to the audit still being in progress, the numbers were only 95 per cent finalized.

The board motioned for the budget to be voted on by students at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October. A finalized budget will be made available online before then, said Whittla, and any major changes to the current document would be pointed out at the AGM.

Finally, the last motion of the night was to change the time of the AGM on October 11 from the usual 3 or 4 pm to 2:30 in an effort to make the event more accessible to students and improve attendance.

In previous years, attendance has been a primary concern at the AGM, as the meeting needs to reach quorum (a certain number of undergrads present) in order for  students to vote on proposed changes. At the Semi-Annual General Meeting in the spring, quorum was reached for the first time in five years only to be lost after half an hour.

After a bit of debate regarding the reasons behind this decision—to which UVSS Research and Communications Manager Alannah James added that no time of day can guarantee quorum, and that promotion of the AGM will require significant UVSS involvement regardless—the motion passed.

The next board meeting will be held on September 17 at 6:00 pm in the SUB Upper Lounge.

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