Board of Directors negotiates capital expenditures

Campus News

The UVSS Board of Directors convened for an emergency meeting on Aug. 18 to address motions that were left unaccounted for during last week’s meeting on Aug. 10, including the adoption of an amended Excluded Management Policy to account for the new executive director position.

The board also approved a motion to adopt a new Disability Policy that the UVSS had previously been without.

ONECard contract

Director of Finance and Operations Tristan Ryan announced that there were negotiations underway to bring the ONECard service to the UVSS through a contract with Blackboard, an American company that, according to UVic, is “in use at more than 500 higher education institutions across North America.” The University of Victoria already uses Blackboard’s Transact platform at Mystic Market and around campus.

An estimate from Blackboard for the installation of five units to be used at Bean There, Munchie Bar, International Grill, and Health Food Bar was circulated amongst everyone in attendance at the meeting — except for the Martlet.

When the Martlet asked Ryan after the meeting for a copy of the estimate given to board members and representatives, Ryan said he was unable to provide a hard copy, and had been advised not to disclose the details of any contracts outside the meeting. He also said that all copies were taken back at the end of the meeting.

Board meetings are open to all members of the society, and so it is unclear why documents circulated to all attending members would then be taken back and details not be made public.

However, the Martlet learned that the estimate totaled $10 315 for five multi-function contactless readers and five “AXIOHM TPG” thermal receipt printers.

UVSS General Manager Dale Roberts explained that the university would receive 4 per cent of all ONECard transactions in the SUB, which has been a “sticking point” in negotiations.

Students of Colour Collective (SOCC) Coordinator / interim SOCC board rep Fardoussa Omar asked if there would be any privacy concerns considering that Blackboard is based in the U.S. Ryan assured that the information was stored on Canadian servers and that the university is rigorous in making sure any information collected is stored properly.

Ryan informed the Martlet afterwards that a decision would be made about the contract and ONECard implementation at the next board meeting.

Frozen yogurt gets capital approval

As previously reported by the Martlet, one of the motions at the Aug. 10 meeting involved approving a capital expenditure of $10 000 for the purchase of a frozen yogurt machine for Bean There.

However, what was not made clear in our previous report was that the purchase of the yogurt machine was already approved by the Finance and Operations Committee, and that the motion sought to fund the yogurt machine through a capital fund rather than out of Bean There’s own operating budget.

A capital expenditure request, as Director of Finance Tristan Ryan explained to the board, is reserved for purchases of a significant size — a minimum amount of $2 000 according to UVSS policy.

“Funds are set aside particularly for purchasing large capital items for either the building or business units,” Ryan said, “so we have a request for that today, but we’ve gone ahead and purchased it because there’s been an overwhelmingly . . . positive reception to it.

“We wanted to ensure this was something that would be operational by the September rush as a way to engage new members.”

Should the motion not be approved by the board as a capital expenditure, the machine would go against the operational costs of Bean There for the year, rather than come out of the UVSS budget.

Ryan said that normally they wouldn’t go through this process, but “the time constraint on having [the machine] operational for the busiest time of the year” was a factor in doing so.

The motion to approve the capital expenditure passed unanimously.

Excluded Personnel Policy

As part of the carry-over from last week’s meeting, one of the motions presented was to amend the Excluded Personnel Policy to include updated job descriptions for the general manager position and the new executive director position.

Omar and UVic Pride board rep Orillia Gail both raised concerns with the language used in a section of the executive director position, which had been copied and pasted over from the old business manager job description, that pertained to oversight of advocacy groups.

Omar and Gail asked that the board confirm that the relationships between advocacy groups and the executive management would stay the same.

Omar expressed SOCC’s concerns from a collective meeting earlier in the day that the new management structure would affect advocacy group autonomy. “The language [in the policy] is a bit vague,” she said, “and though we already have an understanding between our advocacy groups and how that relationship has gone with the general manager . . . we are hoping that those relationships remain the same and that we continue with the same understanding that we answer to our collective.”

“There’s no intent to change the relationship with the [policy] language,” Chairperson Brontë Renwick-Shields said. “It was really just a copy and paste from a previous job description into a new one.”

Renwick-Shields suggested that the policy could be taken back to the Policy Development Committee for reconsideration.

Ryan said that there was an urgency to pass the motion before the new executive director was hired so they aren’t given a revised job description after the fact, which was echoed by Renwick-Shields. Director of External Relations Kenya Rogers asked if the board could pass the motion as is with amendments pending for certain sections.

UVSS Events and Communications Coordinator Séamus Wolfe said that couldn’t be done. “You can’t send it back to the committee, and then they get to sign off on a blank cheque, or anything really. They don’t have decision-making power.

“What you have to pass is the motion as is, and then have the Policy Development Committee review the following sections,” he said.

After considering the options, the board agreed to table to motion until the next board meeting on Aug. 24. A policy meeting involving Omar and Gail was set for Thursday, Aug. 20 to discuss their concerns with the job description.

The board meeting concluded with a closed in-camera session to discuss personnel. While the details of the board’s discussion cannot be legally disclosed, the Martlet was informed at a SUB Occupants meeting on Aug. 17 that the board intended to ratify the hiring committee’s decision for the executive director candidate.

The next board meeting will take place on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. in the SUB Upper Lounge.