At their first board meeting of the new year, the UVSS announced that they will be convening a week later on Jan. 15 for an emergency board meeting to formalize and vote on the health care referendum question — a question that will determine what, if any, health care system the UVSS will facilitate next year.
In addition to suspending an existing statute in order to consolidate and clarify electoral policy for the imminent election, the board also finalized details on the upcoming Mental Health Awareness Week and an end-of-semester concert.
Speaking to the Martlet via email, Interim Director of Outreach & University Relations Pierre-Paul Angelblazer anticipated there will be two referendum questions to finalize at the Jan. 15 emergency meeting.
“One [will be] from the Food Bank and Free store which aims to increase its fee (likely the same question as last year), and the second is to raise the fees on the health plan in order to correspond to costs of the health plan,” wrote Angelblazer. “With increased usage as well as Pacific Blue Cross giving us new quotes, we need to raise the [health plan] fee by referendum otherwise the plan will run out of money or will be subject to drastic cuts.”
At the meeting, Director of Finance and Operations Mackenzie Cumberland stated that the urgent timeline of the referendum questions is due to the arrival of new Health and Dental plan fee information from StudentCare.
“In order to set our fees we need to have a referendum,” confirmed Cumberland in an email to the Martlet. “The numbers [sent] from StudentCare will help us set the cap for what students will be charged for the Health and Dental Plan next year.”
The Food Bank previously sought to increase their funding during the last UVSS election, but the referendum failed to make quorum.
Next week, there will be several events held around campus for Mental Health Awareness Week.
At noon on Jan. 16, a Friendship Bench will be unveiled in front of the SUB as a “permanent physical reminder” for students to take care of their mental health. The bench, the fourth of its kind on Vancouver Island, is designed with a plaque listing mental health resources around campus and in the community. In addition, the fourth annual Mental Health Showcase will take place on Jan. 18 at 5:30 in the Vertigo Lounge of the SUB, and will feature diverse artistic performances inspired by their experiences with mental health.
Finally, Noor Chasib, Director of Events, announced that the UVSS has settled on a date and venue for an end of term concert — April 5, at CARSA.
Although the headlining artist has yet to be confirmed, both Roy Woods and local EDM DJ Ekali are scheduled to perform.
“This is great news,” said Chasib. “But there’s a lot of stuff that still needs to happen.”
Before this can be promoted on social media, there are still logistical elements to confirm—including choosing the name, which Chasib is still fielding suggestions on, finishing contracts with BluePrint, an events company, and CARSA, and securing sponsors for the event.
After the emergency meeting on Jan. 15, the next regularly scheduled UVSS board meeting will occur on Jan. 22 in the SUB Upper Lounge.