Feds President backpedals on communications policy

Originally presented as a motion and changed to a first reading, Danielle Burt seeks to have all media communications go through Feds executive team.

Feds President Danielle Burt has drafted an updated communications policy based on recommendations from a Feds governance review conducted earlier this year. The policy originally appeared on the most recent students’ council meeting agenda as a motion to pass; however, due to feedback she received prior to the meeting, Burt changed it to a first reading.

The policy originally said, “Feds’ president is responsible for administering an relevancy [sic] public information.” However, Burt amended the statement at the beginning of discussion to change “president” to “executives” after receiving feedback from other execs.        

“This is more of a holistic belief of how we think our communication should go in a policy perspective,” Burt said in an interview before the policy was discussed at students’ council. She said that the representative from Global Governance Advisors who conducted the governance review identified the current Feds communications practices as a risk.

“[He said we] need a communication policy for how these bodies talk to each other and talk on behalf of Feds,” Burt said referring to students’ council, the board of directors, and staff.

“Students’ council sometimes doesn’t know where their place is,” Burt said. She also said that the policy does not address Feds staff speaking with the media, as they are not trained to do so. “It’s not always their strongest suit,” she said.

At the students’ council meeting where the policy was discussed, Feds Vice President of Operations and Finance Ben Balfour was quick to ask if the Feds marketing and communications team was consulted on the policy.  They were not; Burt said in an earlier interview that the department has their own policies to govern media communications.

As the policy was changed from a motion where council would vote on whether it should go into effect to a first reading, the policy will be revised and discussed at a future meeting.

Burt said there was no specific event or media interaction to prompt the policy, just the recommendations from the governance review.