UVSS directors call for child care review

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The July 25 board meeting, while lacking the usual attendance in human numbers, presented attendance of a full agenda and creative new proposals by the board. (I’m looking back at you, Periscope.) You can find a live tweeted account of the meeting on our Twitter page.

UPDATES

Director reports reconfirmed that summer UVSS operations are running fairly smoothly and as planned. There is now a Strategic Plan for the coming year available for public viewing, and the UVSS website redesign is on track, with the mentioned addition of a “Fireside Chats” section for short weekly videos released by the board, updating its membership on goings-on.

Kevin Tupper, UVSS director of finance and operations, mentioned that there will be further renovations in the SUB following the International Grill and Health Food Bar in the form of a signage refresh for Subtext, Info Booth and Bean There. Furthermore, he noted the pervasively popular Pokémon Go app, along with the influx of people on campus playing the game, and said that the board are looking into ways that this can help bring campus membership into the SUB. Tupper mentioned potential Felicita’s promotions (which were, in fact, run the two weeks after the board meeting), and other things about the app that went over my head.

CHILD CARE SERVICES

Starting off priority business on the agenda, UVic Director of Campus Services Jim Forbes and student Mari Imahori each gave short presentations to the board. The topic at hand was the controversial decision of Child Care Services (CCS) to shut down their After School Care (ASC) program, putting parents of school-age children in a very hard place once the program is put on hold in 2017. (A full report on that decision can be read here.) After much staff and student dismay, the decision has been put on hold, pending the approval of a committee recently formed to iron out the details.

A motion on the agenda, put forth by Maxwell Nicholson, UVSS director of campaigns and community relations, detailed the position the UVSS should take on the issue and recommended a letter from the UVSS to the university recommending reinstatement of the ASC program, as well as increased funding of CCS. This, of course, sparked some debate.

As the Parent Advisory Board UVSS rep, Tupper spoke to the fact that this decision was made without consulting the parents affected. “The position we take will matter,” said Tupper. UVSS Research and Communications Coordinator Ben Johnson recommended that someone amend the motion, considering child care needs are diverse and need to be more comprehensive. UVSS Director of Student Affairs Emma Kinakin also spoke to the issue, saying that she does not see any evidence of thorough consultation on the program’s closure, as well noting that destroying an already existing waitlist is very hard on students, and that she will not be support the decision to shut down the ASC program.

Sara Maya Bhandar, UVSS Pride rep, went on to say that there isn’t enough childcare, period, and voted to amend the motion. As one can imagine, a room full of people trying to rewrite a motion in their heads can go awry pretty quickly, and the board voted for a short recess, after which a new motion was drawn up and passed.

The motion was reworded to recommend that the Director of Outreach and University Relations write a letter to VP Academic and Provost Valerie Kuehne asking the university “to conduct a full review of child care services . . . with the goal of creating a comprehensive child care program” that balances everyone’s needs.

NEW BUSINESS

Perhaps as an unknowing comment on the sparse attendance of this particular board meeting, Director-at-Large Alicia Armstrong made a motion proposing that, in the spirit of transparency and accessibility, all future board meeting be streamed online via the Periscope app, which self-erases all footage 24 hours after its upload. The motion passed unanimously.

The rest of the motions focused on updating and streamlining UVSS issues policy to make it more relevant for a student’s’ society, as clarified by Ben Lukenchuk, UVSS director of outreach and university relations.

Among policies being struck were sections detailing the UVSS’s stance on gun control and federal militarization, and among rewritten sections were issues on federal electoral reform and public transit. Before voting, Bhandar asked for clarification why federal electoral reform was considered an important policy issue to students and the other policies were not, and following some discussion, the board resolved to send the motion (as well as a motion to strike policy around trade agreements) back to the policy development committee for re-working.

As usual, the meeting adjourned following a brief in-camera session around 8 p.m.

The next scheduled UVSS Board of Directors meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 8, in the SUB Upper Lounge.

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