UVSS: Why you always lying?

The June 7 Third Space Meeting had 9 collective members present. I was one of them. At the start of the meeting, the chair discussed that this meeting would be confidential and similar to an in-camera meeting because of the confidential nature of information that would be shared.

The 3 UVSS Directors in the room agreed to stay in the meeting, and the room door was closed immediately after. We went on to share personal details about our experiences in the Women’s Centre. We talked about sensitive information like on-campus safety, disability, reproductive health, and things of that nature. We were asked to put our concerns in writing so it could be further investigated, and we said no. This information is confidential and should stay here. We only wanted to alert the executive directors about issues that concern us as students.

2 days later, we were told that this information was not confidential because it happened in a public space. We consider this a breach of our confidentiality and trust. Mackenzie’s response showed a disregard of confidentiality, and a lack of consent and accountability.

It deeply saddened me to read in the Martlet on June 15 that the UVSS claims that we mentioned that the meeting was confidential halfway through. Like I mentioned earlier, this was mentioned at the start of the meeting, and there are 8 other collective members as witnesses, excluding myself.

The Women’s Centre and UVSS both acknowledge that it was mentioned that the meeting was confidential. Mackenzie Cumberland then disclosed this confidential information to management and other members of the UVSS without our consent. Instead of being accountable for her harmful actions, Cumberland has chosen to tell lies to the Martlet about what took place during the meeting.

Regardless of when we mentioned that the meeting was confidential, it should not make a difference. Sharing sensitive information about members of our collective is not okay. It’s worse that we asked Mackenzie not to and she still disregarded our requests. We were not informed that our stories and concerns would be forwarded to another UVSS committee. She did not inform us until after this process started. She then told us that we have no right to confidentiality because we are not a legal entity. This is unacceptable. You do not have to be a legal entity to have a right to ask for sensitive information to be kept confidential.

Mackenzie Cumberland claims she was carrying out her fiduciary duty, forgetting that she also has a fiduciary duty to members of the student funded organization that pays her salary. Mackenzie’s poor ethics also speak to her inability to do her job as the Director of Finance and Operations.

We will not stop protesting her unethical actions. In the meantime, don’t let Mackenzie’s breach of our confidentiality distract you from the fact that she gets paid over $30,000 per year from your student fees. Our student fees are going to a financially failing organization, with a board member who has questionable ethics. If she cannot respect confidentiality, she certainly cannot represent my best interests as a student.

 

UVSS2

 

UVSS: unaccountable bias!

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).

UVSS Dir. of Finance ethics?

Recently our collective had a meeting with a few executives from the University of Victoria Student’s Society. In order to create a safe space for our members to share their stories we told the visiting UVSS execs that the meeting was confidential, a closed door meeting. The executives agreed and began our meeting. During the course of the meeting our members shared their thoughts and stories with the executives who sat quietly and listened. After the meeting we had our regular scheduled collective meeting.

A couple of days after the collective meeting one of our coordinators received an email from Mackenzie Cumberland, a UVSS board executive who had attended the closed door session stating that our meeting, our stories, were not confidential since the meeting took place in a public space (our women’s centre), and that since we are not a society, but a group within the student society, then we have no legal ability to enforce confidentiality.

Our collective is incredibly upset at this breach of our trust, and although there may not be a legal instrument to enforce confidentiality of our meetings, the principle still stands that Mackenzie Cumberland sat in our meeting, agreed to confidentiality, without any intention of maintaining that spoken agreement. This, in our opinion, is not only unethical, but is malicious, and tantamount to professional misconduct! Mackenzie Cumberland entered a verbal agreement with our collective to maintain confidentiality and she chose to disclose that information publicly without our consent. The UVSS board is aware of Mackenzie Cumberland’s actions and has yet to take any action on this matter. Mackenzie Cumberland reminded members of our collective that asked questions to the board at the last UVSS board meeting (June 12th, 2017), that the women’s centre collective has no right to expect confidentiality in any of our meetings! In essence, we were reminded that our rights are secondary to privilege of those in positions of power.