“It’s the million dollar question,” sighed Pierre-Paul Angelblazer, Interim Director of Outreach and University Relations, responding to the inevitable query: What is the UVSS doing to increase student participation in campus politics?
There was a sense of frustrating familiarity in Cinecenta on Oct. 26. Most people knew what was going to happen when 3 p.m. rolled around — the UVSS Annual General Meeting (AGM) began and only 50 people occupied the theatre seats.
Yet again, the UVSS failed to pass any policy changes at their AGM due to a failure to meet quorum (112 people). At its peak, around 30 minutes after the meeting was supposed to begin, only 93 people were in attendance. As a result, all the board could do was report on their work so far in the term, rather than pass the policy changes around age limits (making sure the majority of the board members are above 18) and mailing notices to co-op students.
Not exactly thrilling stuff — perhaps why the turnout was so low, said Angelblazer.
Replying to a question from the Martlet regarding the low turnout, Angelblazer suggested that unlike the last board, the current batch of UVSS directors didn’t attach a controversial amendment to their agenda to get people to show up to the meeting.
Dakota McGovern, Director of Outreach with the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group, quizzed Angelblazer on his slate’s promise to pay $5 to each student who showed up to important UVSS meetings.
Angelblazer said the board was still looking into the legality of doing such a thing, and McGovern pressed him on whether that constituted a broken campaign promise. Anmol Swaich, Director of Campaigns, gave her own opinion on the matter.
“I was 19, and I was just trying to run and do some cool stuff for students here,” an apologetic Swaich offered. “I’m just going to say that and go now.”
Angelblazer and Director of Finance and Operations Mackenzie Cumberland were at the centre of most questions. Angelblazer fielded the questions about quorum, and Cumberland responded to questions about the change in the UVSS’ Health and Dental Plan. The plan originally came under fire after the high-profile case of Lilia Zaharieva, who lost coverage for her Cystic Fibrosis medication after the UVSS changed their health care provider.
Cumberland reiterated the board’s commitment to a referendum in the spring regarding the health care plan, but said that the specifics of the referendum question would be determined through consultation with students.
Cumberland discussed the town hall planned for Nov. 9 in the Michele Pujol room, where the UVSS will begin to conduct these consultations.
Several representatives from the Law Students’ Society (LSS) were in attendance, including president Ian Gauthier and Zach Burrill, an LSS member in charge of a committee formed by the society to investigate solutions regarding the health care issue.
Both Burrill and Gauthier informed the crowd that the LSS were serious about listening to students regarding their concerns about the plan.
Other than questions about the lack of study space (and complaints from the LSS that too many undergrads are studying in the law library), the AGM continued without major controversy.
The next major UVSS meeting is in February, when the board will host its Semi-Annual General Meeting.