UVSS ELECTIONS | New UVSS Board elected, all referendums fail to meet quorum

Campus News

Dalal Tubeishat first independent elected as Lead Director in over three years

Photo by Joshua Ngenda

After a tense election period, voting has ended and the unofficial results are in — for the first time in over four years, the incoming UVSS Board of Directors will be made up of candidates from each of the two cooperatives and two independents.

The three referendum questions failed to pass, as none of them met quorum of 15 per cent of eligible voters, despite all garnering more ‘yes’ votes each than any single candidate. Each referendum was less than 200 votes short of the voter turnout needed to pass.

Of the 18 256 undergraduate students eligible to vote, 2 705 cast a ballot for an overall voter turnout of 14.8 per cent

Lead Director and Director-at-Large results

For the position of Director of Outreach and University Relations, Sarina de Havelyn beat out Isabella Lee — receiving 1252 votes to Lee’s 857. Both de Havelyn and Lee have served previously on the 2019/2020 and 2018/2019 boards respectively.

As the first independent candidate elected to a Lead Director role in over four years, Dalal Tubeishat won in the position of Director of Student Affairs over Katy Berglund. Tubeishat garnered 1 091 votes to Berglund’s 952.

Emily Lowan beat out Tal Katz to become the next Director of Campaigns, receiving 1 307 votes to Katz’s 807.

Sebastian Franco-Monroy, the only candidate from Inspire UVic to win a Lead Director position, won the position of Director of Events over Tommy Lay. He received 1 020 votes while Lay garnered 996. 

In the position of Director of Finance and Operations, Caleb Burd was elected with 1 302 votes to Shaun Zhang’s 706 votes.

With 2 485 international students eligible to cast a ballot, Dipayan Nag beat out Justin Lo for Director of International Relations by just 20 votes. Nag garnered 126 votes while Lo received 106.

For the positions of Director-at-Large, Jana Barkowsky, Victoria Ritchie, Isaiah Adachi, Abdul Abuelazm, Marran Dodds, Elizabeth Giesbrecht, Evan Guildford, Jocelynne Parent, Emily Hiser, Paarth Mittal, and Reeve Henderson were elected. Ritchie is the first independent Director-at-Large elected in over four years.

Referendums fail to meet quorum

Due to low voter turnout, none of the referendums met the 15 per cent voter turnout needed for them to pass, as per the UVSS Constitution.

Of the referendums, the Open Educational Resources referendum received the most votes, with 2 006 students in favour and 589 against. This referendum needed 144 more votes to meet quorum. Jonathan Granirer, proponent for this referendum, could not be reached at time of publication for comment.

The Student of Colour Collective received 1 498 votes in favour and 1 074 against increasing their funding by $1.00 for full-time students and $0.50 for part-time students. They were 167 votes shy of quorum.

The World University Services of Canada (UVic WUSC) sought to increase their funds to sponsor an additional student refugee each year and expand support for newly-resettled students. 1 747 students voted in favour of the referendum, while 837 opposed it — 155 votes short of quorum. However, a similar referendum was passed by the Graduate Students Society.

“Thank you to everyone that has supported the referendum. Thank you to the 1 747 students that voted yes, and thank you to the tireless campaigning of our amazing team,” said Kate Korte, WUSC’s campaign manager. 

“Clearly, students want the Student Refugee Program on this campus. When we talked to students, we got such a great response. Refugees are welcome here, this referendum result doesn’t change that.”

WUSC faced several challenges during the election period, including students who voiced concerns about the impact of fee raises and racist statements directed towards members of WUSC. In spite of this and the outcome of the UVSS referendum, WUSC still intends to sponsor four new student refugees this coming fall, as they have for over 15 years.

Response from candidates

As the first independent elected as a Lead Director, Tubeishat expressed how overwhelmed with gratitude she felt in response to winning.

“I’m so grateful for all the support — like I could really start crying,” she said. “I just can’t wait to start working with clubs and course unions and to fulfill some of those promises I made.”

De Havelyn got the news that she won while cleaning up leftover chalk from the campaign period.

“I just fell to the ground and cried,” she said, adding that she hadn’t fully processed the news. 

“I’m really excited to push for evening counselling and mandatory sexual consent training … and then continue working with Lowan on Divest.”

Both de Havelyn and Tubeishat expressed disappointment that none of the referendums met quorum, and expressed support for future referendums for those groups.

Marshall Scott-Bigsby, campaign manager for Inspire UVic, expressed mixed feelings on the outcome of the election.

“I’m happy that a lot of our people got on, and I’m disappointed that a lot of [them] didn’t,” he said. “Everyone put in so much effort, it’s disheartening not everyone got on. I wish only the best for this mixed board, and I look forward to what they have in store for the next year.”

Running independently made for a difficult campaign period, but Tubeishat said it felt freeing to win as a person of colour without relying on slates and cooperatives who she felt often excluded or tokenized people of colour.

“It was so scary and really difficult, but it was worth it,” Tubeishat said. “I’m so happy for the doors to open for people of colour to not have to depend on anyone else.”