Getting locked out of your house sucks major balls. Trust me; if anybody has ended up sitting on their front steps for hours waiting to be let in by an angry parent at 3 am, itâ€™s me. But as soon as Iâ€™m in the comfort of my home and under my zebra-printed bed sheets (donâ€™t judge) feeling as safe as I ever will be, their frustration hardly matters. Everything is in your house; your clothes, your food, your life, and most importantly the feelings of unity and harmony with yourself when surrounded by your family unit, or whomever it is that you choose to share living space with. I donâ€™t know about you people, but after a long, crazy day or night, I just want to feel at home with my family and feel their love and support.
So the SFSS (Simon Fraser Student Society) staff is locked out. Before I even knew what that was, I assumed they were on strike like every group seems to take part in sooner or later in life. Then on my first day back to school, I was handed a paper by about 6 different people in a span of 10 minutes (ok, maybe Iâ€™m exaggerated a little bitâ€¦11 minutes) stating the following:
I donâ€™t know what disturbed me more: the fact that an established university admitted to using Wikipedia, or the fact that the SFSS- which provide valuable services that we SFU students apparently pay for is shutting down its services until they can reach an agreement with CUPE, meaning those services that people rely on would essentially be shut down for who knows how long. I decided to keep readingâ€¦
SFSS staff members run the copy centre, Out on Campus, the Resource Office, the Surrey Office, and the Womenâ€™s centre. We are the backbone of SFSS support for clubs, departmental student unions and individual undergraduates through the General Office.
As Iâ€™d assume others took this also after reading that, I imagined that the SFSS lockout then meant that facilities would no longer be available to the students who are in need of peer counseling, etc. I expect that there are people on campus who rely on these facilities (like Out on Campus and the Womenâ€™s Centre) to make it through the day or to feel better about whom they are as students apart of such a vast university community. With that in mind, I had planned to be all creative and cute by comparing the SFSS lockout with my â€œgetting locked outâ€ story in the beginning. I wanted to say the following:
While money seems to be a crucial issue here, what about the students who relied on these groups? What about the students who relied on those groups as their family unit or support system? Instead of losing their key, theirs was taken from them and all the locks were changed, denying them access to a safe and burturing environment with no zebra-printed bed sheets. Those students who need a group to rely on, or whatever, have been locked out of their houses and comfort zones. How much longer will they have to wait on- what used to be- their front steps until someone is kind enough to wake up and open the door for them?
â€¦but this idea went to shit when I read on the SFSS lockout site in the â€œLetter to Students from the SFSS Board of Directorsâ€ that all of these facilities will remain open. But wait, the flyer that was so kindly handed to me stated that these services that we pay for wonâ€™t be accessible to us until the lockout is done with. Then, as it comes naturally for me, I got confused. Back to lockout.sfss.ca for more information, I found this in the â€œQuestions and Answersâ€ section.
How are SFSS Services affected by the lockout?
During the lockout the General Office will remain open. Please come by the GO or email email@example.com to book tables, conference rooms, and equipment or to apply for club and DSU grants. The Womenâ€™s center lounge is available 24 hours 7 days a week as a safe space for self identified women. Out on Campus is open as a safe space when a trained volunteer is present in the lounge. The Copy Centre will be closed until the end of the lockout.
Oh no, not the Copy Centreâ€¦that was sarcasm. I didnâ€™t even know we had one here. Fail. And look! It says it again in another statement made on the website:
During the lockout, the elected Board of Directors will maintain services that are important to theÂ student membership. The directors will keep the SFSS General Office open and will continue toÂ provide grants and support to clubs and departmental student unions. The Out On Campus andÂ Womenâ€™s Centre lounges are available as usual. Finally, the food and beverage services â€“Â including the Highland Pub â€“ are not affected by the lockout
Well thank goodness about the pubâ€¦that wasnâ€™t sarcasm at all, I swear. Canâ€™t you tell I have great priorities?
Anyway, this seems pretty normal and dandy to me, considering the facilities that matter most are still very much open and available to students who attend here. I personally don’t see what the problem is or how it affects students. Clubs Days is still happening, and people are still allowed to create new clubs (go look through the website, itâ€™s there and Iâ€™m too tired to look for it again). So if everythingâ€™s still open and working (besides the copy centreâ€¦) then why should I care about this? Why should anyone care whose not being paid to work there?
Basically, this boils down to money issues that don’t necessarily concern students:
In the past four years the SFSS has faced increasing expenses including high staff wages. As a result, significant funding cuts were made to student services in the past year. The Board strives for accountability to undergraduate students as well as a strong future for the SFSS. If reductions cannot be realized, the Society will be unable to fulfill its Constitutional mandate which is to fund clubs, departmental student unions, and constituency groups and provide other valuable services to students. The Union has been less than willing to compromise and continually stalled the process of negotiations. This led to a unanimous vote held on June 6th to lockout the staff. The Board of Directors is not an anti-union group but is rather pro- student.
So if they’re pro-student, then why are they complaining? If, as you say you are pro-student, you would go on with your job and take the money cuts because helping out another human being is better than helping out yourself to a hefty pay cheque. I understand that there is a cost to living. Believe me, I do! So is it terrible for me to say that they should maybe start looking for a second job in the same sort of field? And getting laid off sucks, but at the end of the day, that might have to happen if we want everything to be back to normal, per se. I understand where both parties are coming from, and after doing further research on CUPE BC’s website, I think it’s pretty abhorreny that the SFSS has been treating this considerably hard working staff with disrespect. Decisions need to be made, because there are quite a few people who feel as though they have been locked out of their own homes (hey, there’s that terrible metaphor again!).
Call me whatever youâ€™d like in regards to the situation, but after all of this information was presented to me, I feel like this is an issue that should stay amongst the SFSS board of directors and CUPE, because clearly, us students are still getting the facilities we are paying for…except for the copyÂ centerâ€¦and the pub is still open. Places of mentoring and guidance that make students feel comfortable and “at home” (Out on Campus, Women’s Centre) are still open, as are other groups that other students are taking part of.
Am I missing something here? What do you think? Is this lockout annoying for students, or do you think itâ€™s affecting us? I invite all forms of response- I don’t mind if you even decide to call me an ignorant asshole- so please, give us your input!