UVSS Election: Everything you Need to Know

 

I hear students say “How does the UVSS election even work” all the time. There are several elections happening at the same time including: Board of Governors Election, Senate Elections, Graduate Student Society Elections and the UVSS elections (what this article focuses on). In the past 5 years we have had an average turnout of 19% of undergraduate students. With every student having used a UVSS service at some point of their University career, it impacts all of us. This guide is to help get you through the election period knowing exactly what’s going on, how it works, and why it impacts you.

 

What is it?

Of the over 17,000 undergraduate students of the UVSS, we elect 22 members to be part of the board of directors on our behalf.

Spoiler alert: If you are an undergraduate student and pay your student fees, you are a member of the UVSS

Sixteen (16) of those twenty-two (22) positions on the board of directors are the ones we actually vote upon. These are the ones with the posters, coming around to your classes to encourage you to vote etc. These positions include the following:

  • The Director of Outreach & University Relations

  • The Director of Finance and Operations

  • The Director of Events

  • The Director of Student Affairs

  • The Director of Campaigns and Community Relations, and

  • Eleven (11) Director-at-Large positions.

There is one international student director that is elected by international students. There is one native students representative as well. The other 4 positions are filled by the four Constituency Groups and are voted for by members of these particular organizations.

What you need to worry about as the reader of this article (presumably one of the 12,500 students who does not fall into any extraneous category) are the 16 positions listed above.

 

Why do we need it?

The UVSS is a vital non-profit society that provides essential services like the food bank and free store; the ombudsperson; advocacy, like students of colour collective and pride; events, like campus kick off and clubs and course union days; and representation of students.

These students elected by us, ensure that student voices are heard by University administration, and focus on issues that are impactful to the students. You want to be electing people who care about issues you care about, and who will bring the appropriate voice to administration and certain levels of government.

 

How does it work?

Late January: Nominations open, and a week later nominations will close. Campaigning is allowed to begin about two weeks after the closing of the nominations. After campaigning, in the first week of March will be the vote! And that’s where we come in.

 

 

Am I eligible to vote?

Everyone who pays UVSS fees (in your tuition) are eligible to vote for Board of Directors and any Referenda. Exchange students, co-op students and regular or distance students are all encouraged to vote. Some restrictions apply.

 

What are “slates” and how do independants work?

A slate is a group of candidates that run upon a similar or common electoral platform. Independents are people who have been put through in the nomination process but have chosen to not be a part of a particular slate.

 

How do I learn more about the candidates?

For a direct side by side with summary of points per position, the martlet put together a handy guide. This guide includes the the independent candidates as well. Each slate has their own website detailing holistic goals of the entire slate, as well as individual platform points per candidate. The two slates are Connect UVic and Energize.

 

What is a referendum? And is it related to these slates?

A referendum is a question that can be proposed by any UVSS member in regards to student fees, issues or other UVSS matters. A referendum can only be called via two methods:

  • a majority vote of a quorate meeting of the UVSS Board of Directors, or

  • a petition signed by no less than 10% of UVSS members.

These do not happen necessarily every election only when something is proposed via one of the two methods above. Since these can be submitted by any UVSS member they are not related to the slates.

The two referenda up to vote this year are:

  • “Do you support an increase to the UVSS Food Bank Fund of 75 cents per full-time student and 37 cents per part-time student, per semester, for the purpose of addressing student food insecurity?” - Proposed by Jasmine Robertson (Approved Proponent)

  • “Are you in favour of adjusting students’ society fees annually to match Canada’s inflation target, to a maximum 2% per year, beginning in January 2019?” - Board Endorsed Question

When voting you simply answer the proposed question with “Yes” or “No”.

 

 

What do I need to do?

You can vote online at webvote.uvic.ca starting March 1st at 9am, then it is open for 48 hours and closes March 3rd at 9am. There will also be physical voting stations on campus in the following locations:

Wednesday March 1st:

  • McPhearson Library*  9am-9pm

  • Clearihue*  9am-5pm

  • SUB*  11am-7pm

  • Cadboro Commons  4:30-6:30pm

  • Fraser  4:30-6:30pm

  • MacLaurin  10am-12pm

  • ELW  2pm-4pm

Thursday March 2nd:

  • Fine Arts  11am-1pm

  • ECS  11am-1pm

*Accessible polling stations

 

Reminder: Voting will be held between March 1st 9 a.m. and March 3rd 9 a.m.

 

The election is an important process every year and with such a smaller voter turnout, it’s important that the majority of campus has their voice heard. You can vote on mobile device, laptops, and in person.