Mar. 25 was a beautiful day and the sun was still covering campus in a warm glow by the time the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) meeting rolled around at 6 p.m.
Board members made quick work of the meeting, sailing quickly through each agenda item.
Unlike most UVSS meetings, where often there is a sole attendee (the Martlet), there were a few members from the newly elected board in the audience this time around. They sat quietly, taking notes and watching intently.
Director-at-Large Gulseerat Boparai gave the acknowledgement of the territory and discussed the importance of making an effort to decolonize through the language we use.
Following the territory acknowledgement, Pierre-Paul Angelblazer, Director of Outreach and University Relations, asked for amendments to the agenda.
Curtis Whittla, Director of Finance and Operations, motioned to amend the meeting’s agenda to include the ratification of the results of the 2019 UVSS elections and referenda for questions one, two, and three. The motion passed and the results were later ratified and are now considered official.
Executive Director Sabrina Studney, then provided a brief report, announcing that the UVSS is preparing for their annual audit.
The constituency organizations were up next.
Lee explained that the organization formerly known as the Feminist Collective/Third Space just had their Annual General Meeting (AGM) and that they have officially changed their name to the Gender Empowerment Centre. It will be referred to as GEM, she said.
After the Students of Colour Collective (SOCC) and the Society for Students with a Disability (SSD) provided their reports, Angelblazer asked for reports from the committees and councils. At this point, Kolin Sutherland-Wilson, the Native Students Union (NSU) representative, noted that Angelblazer had skipped over the NSU report. Angelblazer apologized quickly.
“That’s all right, we’re used to it,” said Sutherland-Wilson.
He reported that they’ve been taking care of some housekeeping and preparing for their AGM which will take place on April 5. They’ve also been collaborating with different student bodies on campus, including the Graduate Students Society (GSS).
Sutherland-Wilson added that they’re working on some interesting projects for the upcoming year and welcomed new collaborations as the NSU is in a creative mood.
During question period, Avria Chrystal of Pride asked for the names of the university administration who chose not to take a public stance on the conflict at the Unist’ot’en Camp on Wet’suwet’en territory in Northern British Columbia. Earlier in the year, the UVSS asked the University to take a stance in support of the Camp, and the University declined.
Though one UVSS board member responded saying that they were noted in the minutes, Lee noted they weren’t able to disclose names.
“However, we are talking to UVic Operations about having a meeting with us and [the] NSU and them to get a more in-depth response,” she said. “It’s very unfortunate and I wish this wasn’t the case.”
Sutherland-Wilson asked Lee if UVic Operations had acknowledged the donation or the Martlet article written by the NSU or any of the other lobbying efforts.
Lee responded that she didn’t think they made direct mention of it and that’s why the UVSS was pushing for the meeting.
“So hopefully they don’t get to not acknowledge things,” she said.
With no more questions, Angelblazer moved the meeting along to main motions.
Whittla explained that his amended motion was related to resolving the results of the 2019 UVSS elections.
“That’s all of it, it’s pretty straightforward,” he said speaking to the ratification of the election results and the first three referenda questions.
Director-at-Large Jordan Gilson asked if the board needed to ratify the current Chief Electoral Officer’s (CEO) recommendation that another referendum should be held involving the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG).
“It’s not necessarily clear based off of the last paragraph of the CEO’s ruling on what the actual outcome is,” responded Angelblazer.
“There are still some outstanding questions as far as what does it mean for the CEO to make that recommendation. Are they recommending that the board vote again to hold another referendum? Or are they recommending … that the next CEO would implement it?”
As the UVSS board is unclear on the current CEO’s recommendations, nor are they clear on who is responsible for implementing a new referendum, the CEO, Gary Nason, will attend the next UVSS Board meeting to make a statement.
At this, the board move to in camera and the Martlet was out the door.
The next UVSS Board meeting will be on Apr. 8 at 6 p.m. in Vertigo. Readers can follow our live coverage at twitter.com/themartlet.