It’s no secret that few students participate in student government as a whole. Just 17 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots last year. With the polls opening Wednesday, March 4 at 9 a.m., we’ve done our best to present the information necessary to make an informed decision at the polls. Inside, you’ll find the official UVSS election supplement, which will contain election biographies, photos, and platform points, as well as how to vote. Here’s the abbreviated version, which includes concrete examples of how each organization affects you as a student.
They do more than offer free pizza at general meetings. They manage the SUB’s businesses, and serve as a lobby group for students for issues like late-night transit, pass-ups, and tuition increases at the local, provincial, and federal levels (in addition to UVic itself). They organize events for students, approve and fund clubs and course unions, and co-operate in certain university-wide campaigns on issues like mental health and sexualized violence. Look over the supplement to evaluate what priorities are right for you.
While the Directors-at-Large are unpaid, executive directors will make $15.31 per hour (including vacation pay) for 35 hours per week as of May 1, 2015. In the UVSS bylaws, executive salaries are tied to the “student supervisor” rate in the USW 2009 collective agreement, which is the same as student supervisors at SUB food outlets and cooks at the International Grill and Main Kitchen, but executives are not members of that union.
What body approved the funding for CARSA, or any other building for that matter? That’d be the UVic Board of Governors. Composed of appointed members who are recognized in the public and private sectors, as well as elected faculty, staff, and student representatives, they discuss and approve the university’s direction and its budget. Meetings cover topics like the UVic Difference Project (a marketing campaign to appeal to domestic and international students), approve academic recommendations from the UVic Senate regarding scholarships, whether classes and programs run, and much more. Seven candidates are vying for two student spots. All positions on the board are unpaid.
Need a class that isn’t running this year due to low enrolment? Think your entrance scholarship should be higher? It’s an academic matter, and it’s handled by the Senate. Composed of appointed members and elected representatives from the faculties, their 12 standing committees approve scholarships, bursaries, curriculums, degrees, admissions standards, and more. They also have final say over matters surrounding academic misconduct and student appeals. There are 16 elected student members, but each faculty must have one student representative, and as some faculties only have one candidate, they have been acclaimed. The remaining seats are filled by graduate students and at-large student members. All positions on the Senate are unpaid.
This year, four questions are being put forth on fossil fuel divestment, establishing a student levy for the Students of Colour Collective, re-allocating money from the Elections Fund to the Food Bank, and increasing the student fee for the Campus Community Garden. More detailed information can be found in the election supplement and on Martlet.ca, where you can find relevant links to articles and resources to help you make an informed decision.
If you pay UVSS fees, you can vote online after logging in with your Netlink ID. Polls will open at 9 a.m. PST on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Polls close at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 5 for the UVSS elections, and Friday, March 6 at 4:30 p.m. PST for Board of Governors and Senate elections.
Get to know the candidates
On Monday, March 2, there will be an all-candidates forum at 3 p.m. in the SUB Upper Lounge so you can meet the candidates personally. On Tuesday, March 3 at 3 p.m., there will be a chairperson debate in the Upper Lounge hosted by CFUV and the Martlet, where the audience can ask questions in person or through Twitter. Both CFUV and the Martlet will be live-streaming the debate, and Martlet’s video interviews with executive candidates will be on YouTube and Facebook before the end of February.
Who’s on your UVic Board of Governors?
The UVic BoG is currently chaired by Erich Mohr, a former professor of medicine and a biotech entrepreneur. He is the founder of MedGenesis Therapeutix Inc., a biotech company that develops treatments for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Mohr, along with his wife Shelley, donated $2.25 million to UVic to establish a research program on aging. Other appointed members include former BC Hydro executive Beverly Van Ruyven, former MLA Ida Chong, entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Gustavson, and former Coast Capital president and CEO Tracy Redies.