Divestment crucial to both incoming representative’s platforms
The results are in — the newly elected student representatives for the 2020-21 UVic Board of Governors are Juliet Watts and Kate Fairley.
Respectively, Watts and Fairly will represent undergraduate and graduate students on the 15-member board from July 2020 to June 2021. The BoG is responsible for tuition raises, guiding the university’s strategic plans, and approving the university’s operating budget.
Although voting ended at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, full election results will not be available until Feb. 21.
Watts, a third year Political Science major and current UVSS Director of Campaigns and Community Relations, has played a crucial role leading Divest UVic in the fight for UVic’s total divestment from fossil fuels. Through her role in the UVSS and as chair of Divest BC, Watts played an active role in consulting the Board of Governors on their new investment strategy.
Once on the Board of Governors, Watts plans to continue advocating for divestment from fossil fuels — something not promised in the university’s new investment strategy, which she has called a “shameful response” to student and faculty demands for divestment.
Additionally, she hopes to hold UVic accountable to its Indigenous Plan and advocate against international student tuition raises. Watts stated plans to reach out to existing representatives in advocacy groups, course unions, the UVSS, and the Native Students Union (NSU) to develop relationships with those groups and provide them with a feedback Google Form for BoG decisions.
“It’s impossible to reach every single student,” Watts said. “But I hope that collaborating and consulting with the existing representation groups will increase transparency.”
Fairley, who is currently pursuing a Master’s in Economics, also made divestment central to her campaign. Her research focus is on welfare implications of public policy, which she says directly relate to a role on UVic’s BoG.
In her campaign promises, Fairley also aims to increase funding for more health and counselling services and oppose international student tuition increases.
“I will promote collective and informed decision-making and cultural awareness,” Fairley said.
When contacted by the Martlet with the election results, Watts expressed excitement and appreciation about her new role.
“I want to express my gratitude for the support I’ve received from students and members of the university community!” Watts wrote in a statement to the Martlet. “I’m really looking forward to working with Kate to represent UVic students.”