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SUS silences campus radio; rep blames “oversight”

At this year’s SUSpocalypse Vancouver-based radio station CFOX erected a tent and played music for students on the green while UFV-based station CIVL was nowhere in sight.

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By Joe Johnson (Contributor) – Email

Date Posted: September 23, 2011
Print Edition: September 21, 2011

Aaron Levy, station manager at CIVL

Attendees of this year’s SUSpocalypse may have noticed the absence of a typical staple of UFV’s welcome back events; Vancouver-based radio station CFOX erected a tent and played music for students on the green while UFV-based station CIVL was nowhere in sight. Their absence was made perhaps even more visible following a strong presence at the recent Welcome Back BBQ, where CIVL set up a table to play music for students as well as to promote the station and recruit volunteers. The omission of CIVL from SUSpocalypse was not attributed to intentional exclusion or to a declined invitation, but rather a slipup during the planning of the event.

Jhim Burwell, communications director for the Student Union Society (SUS), explained that somewhere along the lines, CFOX was booked and CIVL was neglected. “I… recognize it as an oversight that CIVL wasn’t invited,” he noted, and recalled that when he “pointed out to several of the organizers from the events committee/board that CFOX was there and CIVL hadn’t even gotten an invitation, most of them reacted with a hand slap to the forehead, saying ‘CIVL wasn’t even invited?’”

It could have been that both were meant to be present, as Burwell also had stated, “I would have no problem having both of them there. And I think both of them should have been there.” However, where the separation of most duties between the two stations would lie is a little unclear, though Burwell assured that “talking as communications director, [he would] always give preference to CIVL…”

But it’s the “transitory staff members [and] board members [at SUS] that create the issue,” according to Aaron Levy, station manager at CIVL. He attributed the overlooking of CIVL to “the fact [that] they’re not used to networking with relations between departments over the course of an extended period of time.”

Levy’s view stemmed from the events that lead to the oversight. The decision that there would be no Dis-Orientation concert this year was made far before the SUSpocalypse idea was fully developed, and Levy was informed of this in early summer by Andy Wild, who was VP Social at the time. At this occasion, Levy was also floated an early idea of what would become SUSpocalypse; he was then asked how CIVL would like to be involved, setting a tentative motion for the radio station to be included.

In June, things began to come together and SUSpocalypse was formed. Burwell admitted that it was “a little late to be starting to do something like that,” but nonetheless, the planning moved forward. However, in the middle of August, Wild announced he would be stepping down, serving his final day on August 31.

With this news, Chris Doyle, an ex-official member of the SUS board, was asked to take over. There was then a period of overlap in which Wild and Doyle jointly performed the VP Social’s duties. When Wild had finally left, Doyle was joined by Mehtab Singh Rai – the new interim VP social. Together they continued into September with the unrolling of SUSpocalypse, as well as the larger “Weeks of Welcome”.

However, since that initial meeting between Levy and Wild there had been no follow up. In fact, Levy had no idea of the event’s official details until the day of, when he walked out onto The Green and found CFOX providing the services which would normally be in the domain of CIVL.

Levy later commented that it was “inappropriate for CFOX to be on the Abbotsford campus with UFV. Period.”

“It makes us feel like we’re not doing a good job,” he continued.

Communication between Burwell and Levy is generally excellent, which is why the omission has been so perplexing. According to Doyle, as a new member of the planning team he “had been under the interpretation that they would have been included already.”

“…When I didn’t see them at the event I assumed that they were unable to attend,” he explained. To note, the SUS has since spoken with CIVL on this issue and will be working to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

In total, there was an allocated budget of $8,000 for SUSpocalypse, though it’s not yet clear how much of that budget was used. No money came from, or went towards, having CFOX at the event.

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