Divestment key issue dividing candidates
This year, two undergraduate students and three graduate students are vying for two spots on the UVic Board of Governors (BoG). The BoG is responsible for tuition raises, guiding the university’s strategic plans, and approving the university’s operating budget.
The 15-member board has two student representative seats open — one for a graduate and one for an undergraduate student.
All students are invited to vote on webvote.uvic.ca, from 9 a.m. on Feb. 12 until 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 14.
Watts is in her third year of a Political Science degree at UVic, with a minor in Public Administration. Over the past year, Watts guided Divest UVic and collaborated with the UVSS Board to fight for UVic’s total divestment from fossil fuels during her term as the UVSS Director of Campaigns and Community Relations.
Watts hopes to continue advocating for divestment. She also hopes to hold UVic accountable to its Indigenous Plan and advocate against international student tuition raises.
In addition, Watts 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.”
Weldemichael is a third-year Political Science major with a minor in Business. Over the past year, Weldemichael has served on the UVic Senate, including as a member on the University Budget and Awards Committee.
During his term on the Senate, he’s proud that he expressed concerns about the mental health services on campus. However, Weldemichael thinks university mental health services should be better funded.
He supports the steps UVic has currently taken to address the climate crisis.
“The university needs to collaborate with all other levels of government … that way it will be easier for the university to develop more sustainable projects in the future,” Wildemicheal said.
Fairley is currently pursuing a Master’s in Economics. Her research focus is on welfare implications of public policy, which she says directly relate to a role on UVic’s BoG.
Her promises include increasing funding for more health and counselling services, opposing international student tuition increases, and promoting full divestment from fossil fuels.
“I will promote collective and informed decision-making and cultural awareness,” Fairley said.
Bruton is completing his PhD in Education, after finishing a Master’s degree in Music. Bruton has board and business experience. He currently owns three corporations and volunteers on other boards. He appreciates UVic’s sense of community and wants to continue creating it through “win-win” decision-making.
According to Bruton, he is “someone who always has your best interest foremost in mind.”
He was acclaimed for a student role in the Senate this year, but would like to serve on the BoG as well.
Bruce is currently completing a PhD in Engineering at UVic, after completing both a BA and MSc here as well. Last year, he was the Director of Finance for the Graduate Students Society and was a member of the GSS Policy and Bylaw Committee.
Since he’s been at UVic since 2011, Bruce says he has institutional knowledge. As the president of UVic is leaving, he wants to ensure any changes go smoothly while also working to enhance grad student’s experience on campus.