Hello SOCA Followers and Supporters,
We have some positive news regarding our current space campaign. After multiple months of advocacy and campaigning against SFSS’ harmful decision to evict us on December 14, 2018, we have successfully got the eviction delayed to when the lease of the current space ends. This means that we will be housed in the Rotunda space until the new Student Union is built. This is very good and we could not have done this without the support of everyone.
However, the work is not yet done! We have previously and continuously asked the Simon Fraser Student Society to meet with the Rotunda Community regarding long term space for all the groups being evicted in the new Student Union Building. After they had previously committed to being more transparent with the Rotunda Community as well as previous admissions that the current model is unworkable, The SFSS has rejected our invitation to meet and has doubled down on their decision that will inexplicably block us from having a continuing space in campus. This action by the SFSS to continuously make decisions affecting us, without having us at the table is continuing the harmful adverse effects on our membership and a direct blow to our advocacy efforts of creating a space for anti-racism education and healing.
This means that we require continued support of our members, followers and supporters to continue advocating on our behalf in our campaign for a long term dedicated safe space on campus. This is important and we would love for you to attend the meetings of the SFSS Board of Directors and call on them to at least meet with the Rotunda Community. Sign our petition and continue to write letters of support on behalf of the SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry outlining the importance of having safe spaces for black students on this campus as have been the case since 1997.
#BlackSpacesMatter #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs #SAVESOCA
In Solidarity and Rage
The Executive Team
SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry
The SFU First Nations Student Association (FNSA) issues this public statement in the form of an open letter regarding the fraught relationship and interactions between the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) and the FNSA.
The SFU First Nations Student Association (FNSA) issues this public statement in the form of an open letter regarding the fraught relationship and interactions between the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) and the FNSA.
[Image description - letter with First Nations Student Association letterhead with statement which reads -
"September 21, 2018
To all concerned,
The First Nations Student Association (FNSA) at Simon Fraser University has moved to go public with our concerns regarding the conduct of Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS).
It may seem that our response has been delayed as our allies, Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG) and the Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry (SOCAA), have previously issued public statements. Due to the circumstances surrounding our negotiations and communications with SFSS, our ability to maintain communication with our larger membership over the summer was limited. The FNSA is based on values of consensus and consultation with our whole membership. Our council, who maintained dialogue with the SFSS over the summer, did not want to speak for our membership without hearing their feedback or concerns.
Now that our membership and council have had the chance to discuss, we have agreed that our treatment by SFSS has been problematic, to say the least, and our attempts to reconcile with their board and leadership have been met with resistance and bad faith for years. We hope that our struggle will continue to reveal SFSS’s disregard for the wellbeing of SFU’s marginalized communities - in particular, its students of colour.
Some examples of mistreatment from SFSS are as follows:
- SFSS has negotiated with the FNSA in bad faith and has avoided consultation with regards to the new Student Union Building (SUB).
- By withholding space in the new SUB, SFSS has denied Indigenous students a consistent, safe space to gather. This denial of space has compromised our ability to succeed academically and maintain our mental, physical, and spiritual health.
- SFSS has repeatedly demonstrated resistance to taking up principles of cultural competency.
- SFSS has routinely neglected their fiduciary duties to the FNSA by obfuscating account statements, denying cheque requisitions, and forcing the students who lead the organization to shoulder financial burdens.
- SFSS has demonstrated outright racism in denial of events and responses to FNSA governance initiatives.
Indigenous Peoples are no stranger to institutional prejudice, discrimination, and mismanagement, especially within academic institutions. SFSS has routinely demonstrated a refusal to take their responsibilities seriously with regards to the FNSA while we continued - as students, elders, parents, relatives, and workers - to provide for our membership and community the advocacy and support that we promise to our relations via our constitution.
Our dealings with SFSS is but one example of the asymmetrical distribution of power between institutions and Indigenous students and faculty at SFU. The current SFSS board’s conception of community and inclusivity are based on Eurocentric values and neoliberal governance. These ideologies are violent, oppressive, and exclude Indigenous peoples. SFSS must collectively become allies, rather than opponents, and consider the needs of SFU’s Indigenous students by following these initiatives:
- Indigenous students, represented by the FNSA, need a space that will support us on our terms. This new space in the SUB building needs to be inclusive, culturally appropriate, and spatially accommodating towards our growing membership.
- FNSA will accept nothing less than dignified, direct consultation between the FNSA and SFSS: leadership to leadership with mutual respect. Direct consultation must centre us in all plans moving forward.
- As Indigenous students, we will not be subjugated to racist attitudes and paternalism.
- As Indigenous students, we need reliable financial security. SFSS needs to be transparent and prompt when dealing with our accounts and funds so that no council member is financially liable.
- As Indigenous Peoples, we will not compromise our rights as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). We expect SFSS to familiarize themselves with those rights, as well as the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
SFU has a reputation as a progressive institution. The university’s commitment to true reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is a prime example of such progression. When we see the Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (ARC) and numerous other initiatives and committees happening across the campus, it is apparent that SFU is committed to walking alongside Indigenous students as we strive to decolonize our school; this will make the institution safer, more welcoming, and a place for positive experiences. Although SFSS and SFU are distinct entities, SFSS’s existence is contingent on that of SFU. SFSS’s mandate to represent students should follow SFU’s positive initiatives included in their own mandate. Thus far, there has been a sharp divergence from its parent’s mandate.
If SFSS continues on this path, it will be in violation of their organization’s policies, values, and constitution as they will not provide an appropriate, safe space for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students here at SFU. We hope that, with public support, this will encourage SFSS to change its behaviour for the better.
All our relations,
The First Nations Student Association"]
We are representatives of the Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry (SOCA) student group at Simon Fraser University. We are a racialized and equity-seeking group in the Rotunda Community who are advocating for the reconciliation, the redressing of wrongs, social and racial equity though values such as inclusivity, representation, social-justice and community-building.
BACKGROUND ON SOCA
After consultations with the BuildSFU project in 2013/14, the SFSS assured the various groups that the process would be smooth and that the groups housed in the rotunda would be allocated space in the organizational suites of the new SUB.
In the architectural report it can explicitly be seen that the rotunda groups are allocated space, alongside other bookable rooms such as the 22 booking rooms that can be found on various other floors of the building. Six rooms were to be allocated for the Rotunda Community and one for the napping room. The 6 groups to be allocated space in the Rotunda are FNSA, SFPIRG, CJSF, SOCA, Women's Centre and Out On Campus.
SFU extended SFSS’s sublease with only one view in mind, that groups, especially SFSS groups housed in the Rotunda would be saved. But for the CEO to communicate in our meeting that SOCA 'just can not have dedicated space' is disingenuous.
News article 2013/14: https://the-peak.ca/2014/05/build-sfu-presents-sub-architectural-designs/
The term "institutional racism" describes societal patterns that impose oppressive or otherwise negative conditions on identifiable groups on the basis of race or ethnicity. Oppression may come from the government, schools or the court.
Institutional racism shouldn't be confused with individual racism, which is directed against one or a few individuals. It has the potential of negatively affecting people on a large scale, such as if a school refused to accept any African Americans on the basis of color.
SOCA's DUE PROCESS
SOCA has exhausted all available avenues to get our voices heard.
Would you be able to meet us on Wednesday, April 4th, or Thursday, April 5th, in the morning?
Please let me know ASAP as Martin's calendar fills up quite quickly. We would meet in the Maggie Benston Centre, room 2234.
Many groups having concerns:
We call on the SFSS:
1) To provide an extension to the leases for all Rotunda Groups Spaces
2) To vote to provide spaces for the Rotunda Groups in the Students Union Building
3) If the SFSS refuses to make amends to the situation we call on all board of Directors to apologize and resign due to the embarrassment of the SFSS and this Artificially created SUB Space Crisis.
4) To Remove Martin Wyant as CEO of the SFSS
September 14th, 2018
Joint Statement from SOCA and SFPIRG to the SFSS Board of Directors
To the SFSS Board of Directors,
Thank you for inviting us to attend your September 14th, 2018, Board of Directors meeting. As student organizations who have been on campus serving students for decades, we appreciate having the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how we can all continue this important work. Before we begin, we would like to highlight a few things as they relate to our ongoing struggle to secure space at SFU.
Issues Addressed in Open Letters
First, our organizations have sent you open letters with regards to our concerns about securing long-term space on campus. These letters have attempted to not only address the serious issue of any of our organizations being displaced by the SFSS, but also the many concerns that have come up over the last few years in our dealings with the SFSS. Some of these concerns include a lack of respect for fellow student organizations, systemic discrimination against marginalized students, and bad faith negotiations with student groups and the University. We would like to be clear that not a single one of our concerns has been addressed by the SFSS Board of Directors, and so the issues raised in our open letters remain outstanding.
SFSS Governance Conflict
Second, we understand that the SFSS is currently in the midst of a governance conflict, wherein allegations have been made against President Jas Randhawa, a motion to impeach him is being brought to the SFSS membership by the SFSS Board of Directors via the upcoming AGM, and counter-motions are being proposed by him to bring forward at an SGM. Some of the counter-motions include moving to provide space in the SUB to the FNSA, SOCA, and SFPIRG.
It appears that both Jas Randhawa and the SFSS Board of Directors have both been using our organizations and our need for long-term, secure space on campus as campaign and messaging tools. Allegations have been made that Jas Randhawa has been attempting to make backroom deals with student groups, promising to provide them with space in the SUB in exchange for their support of his campaign. Very honestly, we have not made any kind of deal or agreement with Jas Randhawa.
We would like to be very clear that our organizations remain committed to transparency and honesty about our negotiations for space on campus, and have sought to deal with the full SFSS Board of Directors at every opportunity possible. We have been nothing but forthright with you about the issues we continue to face, and as we have highlighted in our previous letters to you, we understand that the SFSS Board of Directors, collectively, form the entity who has the power to make any kind of agreement on behalf of the SFSS. This is why we are here to speak with you, and this is why we are holding the full SFSS Board of Directors accountable for your decisions. You are ALL responsible for the imminent displacement of multiple student organizations, and so we are exceptionally displeased by how you have ALL used our ongoing struggle to secure space as a messaging tool in the SFSS governance conflict. Just as we have been clear about what our concerns with the SFSS have been, we kindly ask that you be clear with students about the nature of the ongoing governance conflict at the SFSS.
Respectful Organizational Relationships
Finally, we would like to underscore once again our concern about the approach the SFSS has brought to community-building and organizational relationships. The June 13th letter from the SFSS to SFPIRG, signed by Jas Randhawa, states:
We hope that you come to understand this decision and can find a way moving forward to build a better relationship with the student society that is based on mutual respect and clear communication.
Ironically, this is what we have been asking for from the SFSS, and what the SFSS has yet to demonstrate a willingness to engage in. Tactics of intimidation and coercion have been utilized in dealings with our organizations, such as the imposition of unreasonable deadlines with virtually no notice, and the implicit threat of displacement if we do not move mountains in order to meet your imposed timelines.
We have previously named the extreme power imbalances between our organizations, caused by the disparity in resources available, the SFSS’s comparative ease of access to a relationship with SFU, and the SFSS’s control of campus space for student organizations. Because of all these reasons, we once again had no choice but to act within your timeline when you invited us to this Board meeting with less than 3 days’ notice with very little information about what would be discussed.
We believe that if the SFSS Board of Directors had a genuine interest in working with our organizations to resolve the student space crisis and to address the many issues we have brought up with you, that you would have collaborated with us to find a time that was agreeable for all parties. This is not about personal preference or convenience, this is a matter of mutual respect, compassion, and community-building. This approach to how the SFSS builds relationships has very real impacts on people; for example, one of SFPIRG’s staff members lives with chronic illness, and in order to attend this meeting, was forced to reschedule four medical appointments. The sense that the SFSS would have proceeded with this conversation about student space that we were invited to, with or without us, leaves us concerned about the SFSS’s genuine interest in good faith organizational relationships. We sincerely hope that you reconsider how you approach this work of nurturing student community on campus because, as we hope you have been coming to understand, the SFSS cannot serve students in a silo.
The above issues notwithstanding, we remain hopeful that the student space crisis at SFU can be solved; however, this will require the SFSS Board of Directors to genuinely revisit decisions that have been made about organizational suites in the SUB, subleases in the Rotunda, and organizational relationships with your fellow student groups.
A meaningful step in this direction would be to extend the subleases of all groups currently housed in the Rotunda, allowing them to stay in their spaces until the SUB has been completed. With the recent announcement that the SUB is not projected to be completed until March 2019 at the earliest, there is no reason to impose December 14th, 2018, as an eviction date. We ask you to please extend our current subleases.
Furthermore, we once again implore you to reconsider the shared space model that is being considered for the SUB. This model contradicts the results of BuildSFU’s own consultation process, calling into question whether oversight and stewardship of the multimillion-dollar project has ever been genuine. Students, building architects, and the University were all led to believe for years that the organizational suites in the SUB would become the new homes for the student organizations on campus. Please, please reconsider how you are allocating organizational suites in the SUB.
Students are eager to see this space crisis resolved, so that our organizations can continue to focus on what we do best: serving students.
We hope you’ll work with us to help make that happen.
The Executive Team Students of Caribbean & African Ancestry (SOCA)
The Board of Directors Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG)
August 24, 2018
Dear SFSS Board of Directors,
It is very disappointing the SFSS Board of Directors is using the 'recent incidents' as a pretext to justify refusing to address the decision of the SFSS to evict SOCA on December 14. It is very unfortunate that we have been met with condemnation due to one of our members stating her discomfort with being challenged. The unfortunate response of the SFSS to bring this simple interaction in official email communication to detract from the actual conversation is disingenuous. We believe that the SFSS has shifted the conversation unnecessarily and a simple interaction is being shaped as much more than what it needs to be. This is a prime example of the SFSS using the power it has to suppress groups that the SFSS is supposed to work in alliance with. A direct example of how to not treat an organization, for example threatening organizations to not go to the Peak or else 'all conversations will be shut down' in addition to just not acting in good faith. This is using the power imbalance and abusing power to ignore the concerns that the many groups are facing.
This has shown that there is a lack of cultural and racial sensitivity training in dealing with marginalized people and marginalized groups. These interactions show the lack of respect the SFSS shows to organizations they serve. We believe that the SFSS is not concerned enough with finding a way moving forward, but rather suppressing our representatives. We also believe the SFSS has also not listened to us regarding our concerns on being treated with disregard and condescension which was shown by the SFSS Administration in a previous meeting. They would not listen to the negative effects of evicting us as a marginalized student group on campus which currently have had space since 1997. Their responses to our concerns about these meetings were disheartening to say the least. As the President stated, "Our CEO can have a direct approach”, we have become increasingly concerned with how operations are controlled by the CEO within the SFSS. Especially when those operations affect marginalized students.
There is a growing trend in the SFSS of acting in bad faith, delaying conversations, and not communicating clearly as it relates to groups having issues that require urgent attention. We urge the board members of the Simon Fraser Student Society to engage with the membership, the students, with all organizations which students are members, volunteer in or are a part of. There are various student groups who have been having problems with communication, the transparency and the lack of respect that the Simon Fraser Student Society has been showing to them. We call on all members of the board to take an introspective look with how the board may serve your constituents better and listen to the voices of the different groups.
We are not pleased with the SFSS's blatant abuse of power, the constant disregard for less powerful groups and the institutional roadblocks you erect for groups that have challenged your decisions. We hope that you do truly understand the need for the Black Community that SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry represent on campus to continue to have a space that we may continue to raise awareness, and educate the campus community on issues of race, as well as to maintain the fellowship and provide resources and support services that we do as an organization. We call on the well-meaning members of the board to feel free to reach out to have a conversation as to how to respond to persons that are uncomfortable.
We implore the board to never condemn people for expressing their concerns, especially concerns from students that have been raised. Whether it be:
There is a pattern with the lack of communication and an overall shredding of the relationships that SFSS has had with many groups including SOCA over the last three years. We wish the conscience of well-meaning board-members to hold itself to account, to stop being siloed and engage these various groups on the issues, and realize that it's the students who are in charge and you can make the hard decisions to fix these systemic issues.
As such, since the SFSS had postponed the scheduled meeting between SOCA and the SFSS. We hope that you will soon see us as a priority along with other groups losing space instead of the time-sliced shared space model proposed by the CEO and also, address other issues arising with the SFSS as an institution.
We wish the very best for the remainder of your term on board, and good luck.
The Executive Team,
SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry
Dear SOCA Followers and SFU Community,
It is with sadness that the SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry (SOCA) announces that after many rounds of negotiations with the SFSS over the past year, we are contacting our followers, members and community for support after being neglected by the SFSS Board of Directors. It is heartbreaking, sad and outright unempathetic to the plight of the Black Community that SFU SOCA represents.
SOCA has operated the Black Community Services Centre located in the Rotunda since 1997. This center has been at the heart of our operations and plays a critical part in supporting our ability to provide a home to a continuously marginalized group at the university.
The SFSS is currently building a new Student Union Building (SUB), and will be giving up its lease on the Rotunda once the SUB is completed. This means that SOCA will need a new home to continue our awesome work of supporting marginalized communities and developing student life on campus.
The action of the SFSS evicting a Black Students Group who have been operating in the TC317 The Black Community Services Centre in the Rotunda for 24 years is a textbook example of institutionalized racism against communities of colour, where new developments render the most marginalized groups homeless.
Here is how you can help SOCA:
1. SHARE THIS POST TO RAISE AWARENESS
2. USE THE HASHTAG #SAVESOCA AND #BLACKSPACESMATTER. MENTION @SFSS1 and @SFU.
3. SIGN THE PETITION HERE:
Come to the Black Community Service Centre in the Rotunda or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information on how to #savesoca.
September 2, 2018
Dear SFU Administrators,
It is with sadness that the SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry (SOCA) have to be contacting the SFU Administration regarding space due to a lack of support from our very own student society, the Simon Fraser Student Society Board of Directors. It is heartbreaking, sad and outright unempathetic to the plight of the Black Community that SFU SOCA represents.
Who we are
SFU SOCA was founded in 1994 as the Black Students Association and has gone through several name changes including: The Association of Students of African Descent (ASAD), African Caribbean Heritage Students Association (ACHSA) and now SOCA. Though having a variety of names over the years, the organization has always had the same vision - that is, to expose the campus community to issues significant to the African and Caribbean Diasporic communities by initiating and maintaining fellowship between the black community and its allies at SFU. We do this through hosting conversations and discussions on political, economic and social issues affecting the African and Caribbean Diaspora and providing a space for this dialogue through our Black Community Services Centre.
SOCA also holds various events including Symposiums, Panel Discussions, Cultural Nights, Evenings of Excellence, Galas, Pub Nights, Afro-Caribbean Parades and Festivals as well as participates in performances and cultural events on and off campus. These events are hosted with the aim of sharing and raising awareness of the diverse cultures within the diaspora, and providing a context for students to understand the issues significant to people of African and Caribbean descent, at SFU, Canada and the world at large. In addition SOCA works to raise awareness surrounding the importance of having conversations to deconstruct issues of race in academia and the representation of black professors in faculty and for African and African Diasporic narratives to be in course offerings. SOCA emphasizes the desperate need for Afrocentric education curricula that seek to dispel myths and stereotypes, and gives the true historical account on issues related to people of African descent in Canada and also that critically examines issues of race and removing systemic barriers to people of African descent in academia and society at large.
Our Black Community Services Centre- a safe space for the black community- has enabled us to attain our vision, as it has provided a space where our community can meet to share our stories and engage with each other. Moreover, in this space, we strategize and fight for the issues which affect our community; we meet to make persons aware of the rich history of a people who continue to be oppressed as well as share positive prospects for the future through having dialogue, and providing a space for members to meet and belong. It has not only been efficacious in building community but also has the practical benefit of providing a physical place where we can collect, store and archive resources concerning Black History at SFU and the larger Canadian context - practical example of this is our library where students can borrow books to learn from a myriad of African, Caribbean, African-Canadian, African American and other African Diasporic writers. As such, SOCA seeks to highlight challenges we are currently facing at SFU regarding retaining a space for black students to belong on campus. It is very important that institutions support initiatives that address anti-black racism so that they are not complicit in the systematic racism occurring in the wider society.
SOCA received an eviction notice from the SFSS to vacate our current space by December 14, 2018 at 12:30. As such, SOCA had been trying to work with the SFSS to make the SUB a new home. However, even though the SFSS consulted with SOCA and other rotunda groups in 2013/2014 and assured the groups that they won’t be displaced in the process of building the new SUB, the SFSS has insisted on reneging on this decision and instead has proposed the idea of a timeshare or hot desk model where no club, student union or equity seeking group is allocated dedicated space -not even the student groups which are the only element of SFU's institutional structure which addresses key social justice issues.
The initial meeting with the CEO of the SFSS, Martin Wyant, got off to a rocky start. He was not negotiating in good faith and tried to dismiss the conversation by affirming that SOCA did not need dedicated space and even threatened that “conversations [would be] shut down if we see stuff in the Peak tomorrow". He was not empathetic to the specific needs of black students at SFU. Afterwards, we reached out to the Board of Directors and proposed an alternative where one suite (containing three offices and a lounge) in the new SUB would house three earmarked groups who would share an Equity and Inclusion Lounge. In addition, the remaining suites would be allocated among groups such as SFPIRG, FNSA and CJSF. However, this proposal was rejected. The SFSS then communicated that there would be no permanent allocations in the SUB, which ignored the fact that we have been in dialogue about a proposal. As such we went for clarification with the President.
In this clarification meeting, SOCA made a pointed reference to the tumultuous atmosphere of the first meeting that was held with the CEO of the SFS and that since then he has not been acting in good faith and is hurting the relationship between the SFSS and various equity seeking groups. In response, SOCA was told that "The CEO has a direct approach". This response reflects a larger systematic problem where the CEO has a disproportionate amount of control over important decisions that affect marginalized students, especially in that he is not required to consult with these students ahead of time. Also in this meeting, one of our members, a white female, was questioned as to whether she was a member of SOCA. She replied that "SOCA lets white people in as well", which the President took offence to, thinking that he was being “called out” on racism when, in fact, it was merely a misunderstanding. This resulted in a conversation about systematic racism and how those in power can unintentionally be discriminatory in their actions and decisions. The conversation then came to a halt and we asked the President to clarify via email what he was stating in person - that there had been no decision made regarding permanent space allocations.
After this clarification meeting, the SFSS instead followed up by sending an email which condemned SOCA and stated that they 'don’t support hateful, racist or otherwise demeaning speech' and that 'verbal harassment is not tolerated'- clearly using this situation to deflect from the issue. They subsequently called off the next meeting to discuss our proposal.
In response, SOCA stated “let’s not think of how SOCA or SFSS as institutions feel attacked for being perceived as complicit in institutional racism, but to see how we support people who are uncomfortable, and how to de-escalate and address these types of situations; to acknowledge the power differentials". The SFSS then doubled down stating that “this is a minimization and misappropriation of what occurred” and proceeded to shut down meetings.
These interactions and the actions of the SFSS evicting a black student group that has been operating in the TC317 The Black Community Services Centre in the Rotunda for 24 years is a textbook example of institutionalized racism against communities of colour where new developments render the most marginalized groups homeless.
These problematic situations are occuring in the SFU community. We hope that when such institutional roadblocks are put in place - especially as it relates to marginalized groups such as SOCA representing the Black Community on campus - SFU will step up and support these groups. In line with SFU's strategic vision to engage communities, and in line with SFU's President, Andrew Petter's speech at the recent 2018 CAUBO conference where he firmly asserted that universities need to play a greater role in building and harnessing social infrastructure, SFU should support the recognition of black student spaces as it has since 1997 and continue to provide a more tight knit support mechanism for black students through our student group.
We understand that SFU is unable to lease space directly to us. As such, we ask that SFU publicly support SOCA in our fight to retain a space on campus. This will allow the SFSS to see that the SFU administration is truly engaging the world; addressing the tough conversations around race and the realities of racial hierarchies in academic spaces as well as the reason for these safe spaces.
We have grave concerns that the SFSS is making decisions in such a way that lacks empathy for the plight of the Black Community on campus. Specifically, we believe that Martin Wyant and the BuildSFU Manager, Marc Fontaine, have not been acting in good faith regarding the issue of space allocation and have led the SFSS to such a decision based solely on their own political goals. They have not truly allowed the Board of Directors to see the harms of their decisions and have not been empathetic to the plight of student groups losing space.
As such, we propose that SFU, via its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, be present at any subsequent meeting that SOCA has with SFSS regarding this space issue. It is also requested that further meetings exclude the SFSS's CEO, Martin Wyant, as he has caused emotional distress; used marginalized groups as scapegoats and has eroded trust in the SFSS’s intentions due to his lack of empathy in dealings with us.
Moreover, we call on SFU to strengthen the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative so that they can be in alliance with SOCA and push for space in the new SUB alongside groups such as FNSA, SFPIRG and SOCA. We require specific and targeted support that we can't find elsewhere institutionally.
Finally, we want to assert that even if people outside the black community cannot understand why SOCA's space is needed, they can still have compassion and trust our voices enough to support us in this fight. This is not the case with the current student leadership and as such, we desperately require the support from SFU.
We have attached correspondence we've had with the SFSS to this email.
The SFU Administration can support us, SFU has the power to ensure that our voices are heard and that we are not evicted. We sincerely hope that SFU will live up to its commitment to marginalized groups and we are sure the supportive administration will not be silent on displacement of Black Communities at the hands of an indifferent Student Society leadership and CEO. Looking forward to hearing from the SFU Administration.
The Executive Team,
SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry