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 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.