How your student fees go down the drain
An account of the meeting with UVSS Board of Directors
**note this was not written by the Women’s Centre, but by a collective member who prefers to stay anonymous. This is the opinion and experience of one of our members.**
On Wednesday June 7, the Women’s Centre invited Board Members of the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) to our 5pm collective meeting. 3 UVSS Directors (Director of Finance & Operations, Director of Events, and Director of Campaigns & Community Relations) were in attendance. At the start of the meeting, the chair informed everyone in attendance that due to the confidential items to be discussed, the meeting will be a closed door one. The Board of Directors agreed. We told them that this meeting is to be considered to an in-camera.
During the meeting, Women’s Centre members raised issues about the UVSS and other road blocks that have been put forward that affects the day-to-day operations of the Women’s Centre. Some of these issues that are public include effects of the closure of our space last year. Our space was closed by UVSS with zero consultation of collective members. Due to this closure, members were unable to access the study space, lunch room, free menstrual hygiene products, free pregnancy tests, etc. In addition to the we raised specific concerns around SUB profitability and the fact that the SUB has shitty food, and is generally a boring place to be. This is something we felt directly concerned the Director of Finance & Operations, Mackenzie Cumberland
As the meeting came to a close, the board members asked for written documentation of our grievances with management. Women’s Centre members unanimously agreed that we would not be submitting written documentation at the time because we were not interested in an investigation, but were only interested in letting the board members know our concerns with the UVSS. We felt like it was best for this information to stay confidential, and for UVSS board members to treat the meeting as an informational session. The reason we felt like we didn’t want a formal process to ensue was because we felt like this would jeopardize our relationship with UVSS management whom we interact with everyday.
We were thanked for bringing these concerns to their attention. They told us that they would respect the confidential nature of the meeting, and would collectively debrief, with the hopes of meeting with the Women’s Centre at a later date.
On Friday, June 8 AT 5:57pm, Mackenzie Cumberland sent an email to a Women’s Center volunteer’s personal email address. The email was not sent to the Women’s Centre email. The email essentially said that since the meeting was in a public space, it essentially cannot remain confidential. She added that the Wednesday conversation is being reviewed by UVSS personnel committee, and that the committee is recommending that the board takes no further action.
We feel like we were lied to. The meeting did not take place in a public space. An investigation is being conducted about our grievances, and we were not allowed to sit at the table. Nobody from personnel committee has contacted us to hear our side of the story. What sort of investigation only hears from management, without hearing from students whose fees pay their salaries? The personnel committee is also chaired by Cumberland who is clearly biased in favour of UVSS management. We cannot rely on Mackenzie Cumberland’s retelling of our stories as she has proven herself to be BIASED.
At the UVSS Board Meeting on Monday, June 12, Cumberland informed the Women’s Centre that we are not able to have a conversation in camera, and cited legal reasons that allwoed her to share the details of our meeting. After the email, we were informed by a lawyer that this is false. As an elected student representative being paid a salary from student fees, Cumberland should know better.
I was at the June 12 meeting in Vertigo, and sat outside Vertigo during the UVSS Board in camera session. During the meeting, 3 previous board of directors were invited to the in camera session. Based on the conversation I overheard outside Vertigo, it seemed like they were there to give a performance review of UVSS management. Nobody from the Women’s Centre was invited to provide an account of our experiences. Among those in attendance was former Director of Finance & Operations, Kevin Tupper. It is a known fact that Tupper is currently dating MacKenzie Cumbaland. Tupper was seen in the SUB earlier that day making plans to play golf with UVSS management.
Who invites their boyfriend to an in-camera session to provide a performance review of a person they are playing golf with? Seems like a clear CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
FYI, your student fees go towards paying MacKenzie Cumberland an annual salary of over $31,000.
She’s advocating for UVSS management, not student’s interests. Your student fees are going down the drain.
**Image courtesy of University of Victoria twitter(2017).