By James Falls, March 28 2019 —
The Students’ Union’s Refugee Student Board will take on greater responsibilities following the dissolution of a student club and changes to the board’s terms of reference passed by the Students’ Legislative Council.
The program has existed since 1986, as a partnership with the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) club on campus, sponsoring two refugee students each year.
Vice-president operations and finance Kevin Dang said that WUSC “would take care of a lot of that day-to-day stuff, like helping students register for classes or taking them to appointments.”
In the past year, WUSC was dissolved, “Mostly because it didn’t meet the criteria for an SU club,” Dang said.
“As a result of that, the SU took on a lot of the additional responsibilities that they would’ve been doing,” he added. “We decided we could actually expand the Refugee Student Board to increase its capacity.”
The expanded capacity of the board is reflected in the committee’s new terms of reference, which were approved by SLC in November 2018.
“We’ve increased the actual number of students on the board, so there’s more students-at-large, there’s another elected official on there,” Dang said.
As part of the new terms, the vice-president external will chair the committee, with the vice-president operations and finance co-chairing.
The SU is also continuing to work with members of the now-defunct WUSC club.
“We’ve included parts of the club constitution, we want to make sure that the support we’re offering aligns with what they were doing,” Dang said. “A lot of our students-at-large were part of the WUSC club, and we just brought them under.”
Dang observed that the changes ensure that the work that was being done by both WUSC and the SU is now more centralized.
“Now that we have this framework of having the board work more directly with the students in that support role, I’m really excited to see what we can do with it,” Dang said.