On Dec 9, UVSS board members met to discuss updates to their electoral policy and to share what they are doing to enact changes on campus.
The board started with motions to amend the policies surrounding Separately Incorporated Fee-Levied (SIFL) groups, campaign endorsements, and campaign resource limitations — pushed up to the presentations portion of the meeting so the new Chief Electoral Officer, Shaun Slavin, could answer questions.
Some debate was had regarding questions of objectivity and which groups could or could not provide support for referendums. After lengthy discussion, the board passed the amendment regarding what SIFL groups can contribute to campaigns.
The next motion addressed regulations surrounding third party endorsements. Candidates are still prohibited from seeking third party endorsements, but the motion removed some regulations pertaining to these endorsements. Going forward, this would allow for a more loose enforcement of this policy.
“It was too hard to govern,” said Efe Turker, Director of International Student Affairs. The objective of the amendment, he said, was to simplify the process of appropriate disciplinary action if a candidate accepted endorsements from a third party.
Though some board members found the policy unclear, Director-at-Large Caelen Cook clarified that this policy ensures that candidates do not accept any endorsements they are not entitled to.
Next, the board discussed the elimination of the system of candidates running as slates in favor of “cooperatives” of two or more candidates. Ideally, this will allow candidates to cooperate in their campaigning, making the electoral process easier and more welcoming to navigate. However, the candidates would still be elected individually and serve their terms as independent representatives.
Though some members of the board were not sure that this policy addresses the current issues with the current electoral system, the motion passed.
Finally, they moved on to director reports almost an hour into the meeting. Jonathan Granirer, Director of Outreach and University Relations, explained that he has been lobbying to reduce the cost of educational resources. He noted that the UVSS has contributed to the development and distribution of electronic textbook resources with the intention of reducing educational resource costs.
Near the end of the meeting, a motion was brought forth discussing the distribution of a letter to UVic’s president, vice presidents, and relevant university faculty recommending that the university take action to solve transportation and accessibility issues for disabled students.
The letter will express that students are in the best position to propose solutions to transport and accessibility problems, and Natalie Blecha, Society for Students with a Disability rep, assured the gallery that parking accessibility would be an important part of the necessary changes mentioned.
Additionally, the board discussed whether the UVSS’s annual survey would ask students what should happen to the collected student fees associated with the now defunct VIPIRG. Board members expressed their desire to find out what students want.
“It is our job to consult students,” said Hannah Ahluwalia, a DaL. The motion passed.
To finish up the meeting, nominations were opened to fill a vacancy on the Personnel Committee. The nominee was required to be a woman, transgender, or self identified non-binary. Victoria Eaton, Director of Student Affairs, was acclaimed to the position as she was the only nominated member.
After over two and a half hours, the final UVSS Board of Directors meeting of the semester was finally moved in camera. The next UVSS meeting will take place Monday, January 6, 2020 in the upper boardroom and lounge.