The UVSS Board of Directors met for the second time in a week on Nov. 7 in order to discuss the hiring of a new Executive Director as well as the creation of a new position of Administration and Services Manager. The meeting was brief, lasting under 30 minutes, and was held in the stifling hot basement of the SUB and included copious amounts of pizza and technical difficulty.
The meeting began with a land acknowledgment which was entrusted this time to Jonathan Granirer, Director of Outreach and University Relations, who along with the recognition of the university’s position on traditional Indigenous territory, pledged to lobby the university to provide free tuition to “all Indigenous students who come from the nations on which the university stands.”
With the completion of the land acknowledgment, the Board moved on to the adoption of the agenda which was, unsurprisingly, passed unanimously. There were to be just two motions tabled as this meeting came so shortly after the previous one on Nov. 4.
Granirer then opened the floor to announcements and reports by board members.
The first announcement was given by Shay Lynn Sampson, Director of Events, who wanted to notify the board one last time that a shuttle bus to the ferry would be available to students leaving Victoria over reading break.
“The 1:30 PM bus is all filled up, but there is still some space left in the 3:30,” said Sampson. “If you know of anyone trying to head to the ferry tomorrow afternoon, they can go to our Facebook page and get a ticket.”
Sampson added that there would be an accessibility town hall on Nov. 18 from 3:30-6 p.m. in order to discuss legislation being put forward by the provincial government on accessibility and that it will provide students on campus an opportunity to have a say. The town hall will be held in the Michele Pujol Room in the SUB.
Again, with the short period of time between board meetings, there were very few reports given by the UVSS’s committees and councils.
Sampson announced in her report on upcoming events that planning for Mental Health Awareness Week is beginning and that it may assume a different format this year with the inclusion of a table talk.
On to the Executive Committee, which Granirer said would have a campaign promise report up by the end of November — although he has since stated that this will be publicly available on Dec. 1. This graphic will aim to remind the board of the campaign promises they made during the election and the progress that has been made so far.
The meeting was stopped briefly to allow for the opening of a window, which was much appreciated by board members and Martlet reporters alike as death by heatstroke would have brought an unfortunate end to proceedings.
The Martlet used question period to inform the board that the meeting was not being live-streamed on Facebook as announced at the beginning of the meeting. Granirer, the resident tech expert, was not able to get the stream operational and announced that a recording would be uploaded following the meeting.
With no more questions, the board moved on to motions.
The first motion regarded the creation of the position of Administration and Services Manager. This position will be part-time and take up some of the HR, Business, and Marketing responsibilities previously under the purview of the Executive Director.
In an interview with the Martlet, Granirer stated that the UVSS was overextended in all facets of operations and that the hope with the addition of this new position is to relieve pressure on other positions such as the Research and Communications Manager. Conceivably, he believes this will help the society run more smoothly and allow staff to dedicate time to other projects such as updating the society’s website and social media accounts.
There are concerns, however, regarding the restructuring of UVSS excluded management by the present board as expressed by former UVSS Director of Finance and Operations Curtis Whittla in an email to the Martlet. Firstly, Whittla stated that the way in which responsibilities have been divided between the Executive Director and the new position of Administration and Services Manager in conjunction with the switch of Subtext and Zap Copy from businesses to services could possibly lead to significant overlap in responsibilities and confusion in regards to accountability.
“Everyone knows that the best ships have three captains,” wrote Whittla in an email, adding that all three excluded managers reporting to the Personnel Committee (made up of UVSS Directors) could lead to conflict and inefficiency in government as all excluded managers would be equal and reporting to a committee made up of students lacking management experience. “Having only one or two managers report to the board is easier for directors to lead effectively.”
The second motion was to appoint hiring committees for both the new position and to replace Sabrina Studney as Executive Director.
Both motions were passed unanimously although McGovern motioned for an amendment to the former that the Administration and Services Manager position was “recommended by the Policy Development Committee.”
Victoria Eaton, Director of Student Affairs and DaL Caleb Burd were acclaimed to sit on the hiring committee to replace Studney as Executive Director, while Juliet Watts and Olivia Reid-Friesen were elected to the hiring committee for the new position of Administration and Services Manager.
With that the meeting moved in-camera and the Martlet was asked to leave. The next UVSS meeting will take place on Dec. 2.