Months later, Feds’ communications policy still not passed

After four months of discussions and revisions, Feds’ first communications policy is close to becoming official. Feds’ president Danielle Burt sent a revised copy of the policy to the Feds’ mailing list recently and days later a task force met to go through any remaining issue and gaps. Burt, who intially introduced the policy last September, was not present at the task force meeting due to illness.

Burt said a motion to pass the policy will likely be presented at February’s students’ council meeting, which is currently scheduled for Feb. 8. Any undergraduate student can attend the meeting.

“We wanted to put something together that was a holistic approach to communication across the organization,” Burt said on why the policy is important for Feds. As to why it has taken as long as it has to revise, Burt said that the policy needed to go through a significant amount of discussion.

It was deliberated at both October’s and November’s students council meetings, and  after the latter, a task force was formed to take a closer look at revising the policy before it could be voted on.

“Anyone who was unhappy with the policy before at council is a member of that [task force],” said Chris Lolas, a current councillor. Lolas named councillors Doug Turner and Carly McCready as members of  the task force.

One conclusion of the task force is that the contents of the policy as it is, will be separated into an official policy as well as a set of procedures. Procedures are a step-by-step guide for Feds whereas policies pertain to an overall philosophy for the organization.

“I’ve known for a while that this communications policy is probably the most important policy that we’re going to pass this year,” Lolas said as to why he joined the task force. “It has taken so long that I needed to join [the task force] just to speed it up and get it passed.

“I would certainly say it’s significantly different,” Lolas said on the product that emerged from the task force meeting as compared to the policy draft that Burt emailed out the week before.

One change that came out of the task force meeting was surrounding staff and volunteer&rsquo;s involvement with external media, <em>Imprint</em> included.

Under the heading media communications&nbsp; it originally read, &ldquo;[Be it resolved that] no Feds staff or elected officers of the organization shall write as a staff reporter, paid or volunteer, for an external media organization due to conflict of interest.&rdquo; Burt said the statement will be changed to just disallow Feds&rsquo; staff from working or volunteering as a reporter.

&ldquo;Because volunteers are free to say what they would like, we&rsquo;re going to change that to &lsquo;no Feds staff&rsquo; so just remove elected officer,&rdquo; Burt said.

According to Burt the recent reopening of Feds&rsquo; board of directors meeting has not and likely will not affect the communications policy.

&ldquo;It was a recommendation from the governance review,&rdquo; Burt said as to why the policy has been in the works. &ldquo;We had procedures within departments about how things are communicated and we also had things in our bylaws and our policies that outline whose responsibility is what, but there was nothing consolidated.

&ldquo;This was an attempt to consolidate and bring together everyone as a community,&rdquo; she said.

As for the next steps, Lolas said if the policy is passed at the February council meeting, the task force will look at communications proceedures to be drafted and voted on by council.

According to Lolas the board hopes to have both the communications policy and procedures officially in place by the end of the current executive&rsquo;s term in April.

&ldquo;I think that&rsquo;s an ambitious goal but it&rsquo;s definitely in the realm of possibility,&rdquo; Lolas said.


<em>This article has been edited to correct the spelling of Carly McCready&#39;s name.</em>


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