Presentation from Student Care, replacing Merit Travel, and a potential cost-share with the university on the agenda
On the evening of February 3, the UVSS Board of Directors met for the final time before their Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM) on Thursday, February 6. On the agenda was a presentation from Studentcare, as well as motions to cost-share with the university on a new 24/7 mental health support line and to replace Merit Travel.
The territorial acknowledgment was given by the Society for Students with a Disability representative Natalie Blecha.
Shay Lynn Sampson, Director of Events, also spoke on the recent actions by land defenders against the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Next, the board heard a presentation on the UVSS Health and Dental Care Plan by Kristin Foster from Student Care.
In her presentation, Foster educated the board on what claims students are making with their insurance, the costs over the last 5 years, the difference between the enhanced and basic plans, and how negotiations with insurance companies for next year’s plan will be carried out.
Foster informed the board that while prescription drugs do indeed drive the plan at 40% of claims, this percentage has gone down in recent years due to a change in the allocation of resources. She also noted that 17% of claims are not health-related but rather are related to vision care, while only 2% of claims are for medical equipment related to serious injury as well as for braces and orthotics. As for the dental portion of the plan, restorative makes up a significant portion of claims at 33% however preventative still makes up the majority of claims.
Foster also discussed why a jump can be seen for 2016 on the five-year plan, as well as the percentage of students opting down to the basic plan or out of the plan altogether.
She stated that her role is to give the board the tools and background information necessary so that they can make educated decisions in the coming months. She also made several recommendations to the board.
With the end of Foster’s presentation, the board moved on to announcements as well as reports from committees, constituency organizations, and the Native Students’ Union.
Among these was the announcement that the UVSS will be setting up a Little Free Library in the UVSS offices which the board hopes will be a way to draw students into their offices and learn more about the UVSS.
In addition, Director of Finance and Operations Dakota McGovern announced that board games have been set up in the SUB, while Sampson advised that there will be shuttles available to take students to Swartz Bay for Reading Break.
Juliet Watts, Director of Campaigns & Community Relations, also gave an update on UVic PIRG.
Following the completion of announcements and reports, the board moved on to two main motions.
The first concerned the exit of Merit Travel from the SUB, as they have announced that they will be terminating their lease agreement with the UVSS and vacating their offices on August 26.
The motion the board voted on concerned whether they wanted Merit Travel’s replacement to be revenue-generating or a non-profit. McGovern pointed out that Merit Travel provides the board with around $25 000 a year and that replacing them with a non-profit would represent a significant hit to UVSS finances.
The motion passed; however, there were some concerns over how the new tenant will be found.
The second motion regarded the 24/7 mental health support line that the University of Victoria is currently working to implement.
McGovern and Granirer supported it on the grounds that it helps support student well-being as part of the UVSS’s mission statement as well as that financially it would only cost as much as half, maybe even a little as a third, of the fund.
Executive Director Alannah James reassured the board that the draining of the fund in 2016 was an anomaly and that the Health & Dental Plan has since been restructured to prevent a recurrence.
With the motion receiving the two-third majority needed to pass, the board moved in camera and the Martlet made its exit.