Who envisioned things going this way?
The UVSS Elections office released preliminary UVSS Board of Director results at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 2, announcing that Envision UVic had swept the 2018 election.
All of the three referenda questions also passed.
The five Lead Directors elected are all from the Envision UVic slate. While 18.2 per cent of students voted on the referenda questions, around 1 100 ballots were spoiled for each Lead Director race, resulting in only 11.8 per cent of undergraduate students casting a vote to determine their UVSS representatives.
The UVSS results are still preliminary, and will be finalized once all complaints and appeals have been resolved. The referenda results are final and binding.
Of the two contested Lead Director races, Isabella Lee and Ainsley Kerr beat out Dirk Slot and Ciel Arbour-Boehme, respectively. Lee was elected to the Director of Student Affairs position, winning 58.9 per cent (1 248 ballots) of the vote. The race between Kerr and Arbour-Boehme for the position of Director of Campaigns and Community Relations was a closer affair, but ultimately Kerr won with 53 per cent (1 121 ballots) of the vote.
The three unopposed lead director candidates were all approved in their positions by wide margins. Curtis Whittla was approved to be the UVSS’s new Director of Finance and Operations by 79.7 per cent of voters (1 645 ballots). Noor Chasib and Pierre-Paul Angelblazer will return to their positions of Director of Events and Director of Outreach and University Relations next year, too. Chasib was approved by 79.6 per cent of voters (1 636 ballots). Angelblazer was approved by 79.4 per cent of voters (1 648 ballots).
“We’re so happy,” said Nathan Daisley, Envision UVic’s campaign manager. “We were screaming and cheering as the results came in. This is the best case scenario for us.”
“Congratulations to everyone who ran in this year’s election, and to all who put in the effort to make this season a success in getting an increase in voter turnout!” said Dirk Slot in a statement emailed to the Martlet on Sunday night.
“I ran a positive campaign to attempt to reach out to people who were tired of the usual election shenanigans. Was I successful? In a way,” he wrote. “During and after the election I had a number of complete strangers compliment me on my campaign and give me wonderful words of encouragement. Being honest with people at every turn was fresh for people, and also made it easier for me, as I was just winging it for the most part!
“Now that the election is over, I can look back and say I gave it a solid try, and did it with respect to the students of UVic. Because that is who I was doing this all for.”
In a statement, Arbour-Boehme criticized the slate system.
“As an independent candidate running in UVic’s ineffective slate system, the odds were stacked against the likelihood I would be visible and heard by the student body,” she wrote. “This is extremely problematic because it means diversity of representation is less likely within the 16 positions on the board. In democratic systems, diverse and substantive representation is essential, but within the UVSS, this essential representation is non-existent.
“If the UVSS and UVic care about substantive, long-term, meaningful student representation, and raising the voter turnout to above a measly 18 per cent, they will eliminate the slate system, like every single other university in B.C., and allow independent voices to be heard,” she continued.
“If not, student politics will remain ineffective, meaningless, and indicative of future political culture on national, provincial, and municipal level.”
With the 11 acclaimed Directors-at-Large, the Envision slate now occupies 16 of the elected student positions on the 22-person board. There is still no nominee for the Director of International Student Relations position.
All three referenda questions were passed as well: two of them by a hefty amount.
The Food Bank’s appeal to have their student fee levy increased by 75 cents per full time student per semester passed with 84.2 per cent of the vote (2 666 ballots).
UVSS students also voted to split their health care into a two-tiered plan, as well as grant the UVSS board the power to increase health care fees by up to five per cent. Both questions passing means that the Students’ Society has avoided entering the 2018–2019 school year with a dangerously scant health care plan.
The tiered plan question passed with 86.1 per cent of the vote (2 696 ballots). The second question’s results weren’t as convincing, but the question still passed with a solid 59.8 per cent of votes (1 839 votes).
Daisley expressed relief at the health care referenda questions passing.
“The thought that we could have been the board to see health care defunded or changed was a terrifying thought for us,” he said.
The winning Lead Directors now have two months to prepare for their ensuing board terms, though Daisley said that’s the last thing on their minds right now.
“Oh man, we are not thinking about that!” laughed Daisley. “If you give us the weekend we’ll be able to tell you [the answer to] that question.”
Three-day celebratory bender?
“[We need to] take a couple days off, rest a little,” clarified Daisley. “It was a lot of work there at the end. Surprisingly enough, for having the one slate. But we’re really happy with everything.”
This article was updated on Tuesday, March 6, at 11:16 a.m. to include statements from Ciel Arbour-Boehme and Dirk Slot.