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SUS board talks sexual assault policy, clearing up confusion about how SUS works, and changes to health and dental

At the meeting, SUS VP external Sukhi Brar said that SUS and UFV were working together on a sexual assault policy.

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By Kodie Cherrille (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: May 6, 2015

Photo Credit Kodie Cherille

April was the first meeting for the new SUS board, including (from left to right in back) new president Thomas Davies, VP internal Ricardo Coppola, and VP external Sukhi Brar.

The new 2015-16 Student Union Society (SUS) board of directors discussed UFV’s revised non-academic policy at its first meeting, which was held in the new Student Union Building (SUB) on April 23.

At the meeting, SUS VP external Sukhi Brar said that SUS and UFV were working together on a sexual assault policy.

“When instances [of sexual assault] happen on campus, there’s not a clear-cut way to deal with them,” said Brar. She noted that policies directly dealing with sexual assault are not very common in North American academic institutions.

“Most institutions right now just have a non-academic policy, and [sexual assault] just gets lumped into that,” she explained.

However, VP students Jody Gordon says that UFV is consulting SUS for a student perspective on a revision of the already-existing student non-academic conduct procedures. Gordon explains in an email that UFV is discussing the possibility of adding educational programming on gender-based violence.

“We are not working on a separate sexual assault policy,” says Gordon.

Earlier this year, The Tyee reported that only nine of 78 Canadian universities have policy that specifically deals with sexual assault. This despite statistics and stories that show sexual assault is a continuing problem at post-secondary institutions.

Later in the meeting, Board of Governors representative Greg Stickland recommended clearing confusion between SUS and UFV’s Board of Governors.

“I’ve noticed that there’s a little bit of confusion about what SUS is, what it does, and how it functions,” said Stickland. “Just talking with one person, they were confused and thought that everyone on the board was automatically an executive of SUS.

“In their defense,” he noted, “a lot of people have that same confusion about them.”

Stickland recommended a formal presentation to the UFV Board of Governors to explain how SUS works.

“A lot of the [members] currently have been sitting on the board for three, four, or five years, and are completely unaware of how we function,” he said.
The new board also discussed upcoming changes in UFV students’ health and dental benefits, effective September 1.

President Thomas Davies explained that the plan will see an increase in mental health services — namely, more annual and per-visit coverage for counselling. He said this increase in coverage will not increase the $215.59 annual health and dental fee. Students can expect more information about the coverage by SUS and UFV counselling closer to September.

The health and dental plan will also see an increase in coverage for eyeglasses and contact lenses, from $75 to $100 every two years.

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