UVSS directors alter in camera policy at June 30 meeting

Board no longer required to include topics of discussion before moving to in camera

After two weeks apart, the UVSS Board of Directors met on July 30 to discuss the purchase of new liquor guns for Felicita’s Campus Pub and amendments to in camera sessions during board meetings.

The meeting kicked off with reports to the board, starting with the UVSS Executive Director Sabrina Studney. Studney reported that the strategic plan is currently on its last draft and that the financial audit of the students’ society was slated to begin on July 31.

Director of Finance and Operations Curtis Whittla explained that the UVSS were finishing preparation of income statements for the year, which is why the audit was finally starting the day after the meeting and somewhat behind schedule compared to previous years.

Speaking on behalf of the UVSS Feminist Collective, Isabella Lee said that the group were “at a standstill,” but assured everyone that they would be having their General Meeting in September once all stakeholders were back in Victoria.

Next, Director of Events Noor Chasib spoke on behalf of the Events Committee. “It’s coming along slowly,” said Chasib, discussing plans for the UVSS’s big kick-off event in September.

Whittla then entered into a discussion of the Coke and Pepsi proposals for the coming year. Whittla said that they were going to extend their current contract with Coke while they wait for UVic to sort out what they do with their own proposals .

Whittla also discussed the purchase of new liquor guns for Felicita’s. “They are, in fact, not guns,” Whittla joked, explaining that liquor guns are, instead, pressurized alcohol dispensers that are used at the bar.

Question Period came ten minutes into the meeting. No questions were asked.  

Director of Outreach and University Relations Pierre-Paul Angelblazer reminded fellow board members that question period was also an opportunity for Directors-at-Large to ask the board questions, or for directors to ask other directors questions.

“Part of the role of Directors-at-Large is to scrutinize the work that Lead Directors do,” he said.

Angelblazer was met with silence, and the meeting moved on to the main motions on the agenda.

“It would kind of defeat the purpose of in-camera if we had to list it off every time that we wanted to talk about something outside of the parameters of legal or personnel.”

As the first order of business, the board made a correction to the originally set election dates for the 2019 UVSS elections by increasing the campaign period by six more days, as has been the tradition previously.

Logistics aside, the second motion was to approve the spending of $5 000 for the two liquor guns for Felicita’s campus pub. The motion was approved with no discussion or objection.

The third motion centred around a discussion regarding how the UVSS board conducts  in-camera sessions during board meetings.

Angelblazer quickly read through section 1, part 3, subsection 3.2 of the UVSS BoD policy which states that “a motion to move in camera shall include the topic(s) to be discussed. No other issue(s) may be discussed during the session.” Angelblazer said that the Board wanted to remove this part of BoD policy.

Pierre-Paul Angelblazer, Director of Outreach and University Relations. Photo by UVSS

“Oftentimes, things that are discussed in camera are not necessarily as we put [them] on the agenda,” Angelblazer said.

“We’ll talk about things that aren’t necessarily legal [matters], that aren’t necessarily to do with personnel — it could be a political problem with our organization, it could be a whole wide variety of things. It would kind of defeat the purpose of in-camera if we had to list it off every time that we wanted to talk about something outside of the parameters of legal or personnel.”

As such, he justified, the board ought to strike this part of the policy.

Historically the UVSS board has not been obligated to provide every detail regarding in camera discussions — they have only been required to state the general topics that will be discussed during the session on the agenda — nor to record minutes during in camera sessions.

Still, Angelblazer explained, the UVSS couldn’t just conduct all board business within the in camera sessions.

“This doesn’t mean we can just move the entire board meeting in camera, because in the end, you can’t do motions in camera, really, except for a few to do with personnel-related matters,” he said. “Just to note that the board meeting still has to happen outside of camera, thankfully.”

Shortly after Angelblazer’s explanations, the motion to amend the in camera policy passed.

The final motion saw a small policy amendment, adding “referenda” to the already listed “student elections” which the UVSS are responsible for when it comes to engaging students to participate. The motion was passed with no discussion and no objection.

After the main motions were passed, 20 minutes in to the board meeting, the board moved to an in camera session.

The next board meeting will happen on Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. in the upper lounge of the Student Union Building.

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