COMMUNITY SAFETY NOTICE: Man who filmed women in Third Space women’s centre

COMMUNITY SAFETY NOTICE

Please be advised that a man named Tristan Harris (pictured below), along with another unknown man, recently filmed two women in the UVic Women’s Centre without their consent or knowledge. Tristan Harris then posted an edited version to Youtube shaming the Women’s Centre for standing against white supremacy. One of the women noticed his camera in hand and asked if he was filming them, Tristan Harris explicitly told them he was not filming them.

On Wednesday evening, June 21st, 2017 a man that has been identified as Tristan Harris  came by the Third Space women’s centre looking to discuss our poster board outside our space. Our poster board is currently featuring an anti-colonization campaign(for more on this refer to the appendix at the end of this article). If you see this man near the Student Union Building please contact the UVSS Third Space at 250-721-8353 or contact UVic Campus Security at 250-721-7599. More details on the incident below.

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Tristan Harris found two women who were studying in the Third Space women’s centre and approached them to ask questions about the poster board. He identified himself and added that he serves in the Canadian Armed Forces, and that he came to UVic to see this board after viewing a post on Facebook. Later our centre was informed from a member that a video had been posted on Youtube by Tristan Harris of the women in our space. A video that was edited and visibly showed the faces of two of our members, as well as the conversation that Tristan had engaged them in, along with his own text commentary being displayed on the screen. Our centre has assisted our members in reporting this incident to the University of Victoria Campus Security, the Saanich Police, and the Military Police.

The women were studying and trying to answer the man’s questions regarding our board. UVic, and the student society building are on private property, and regardless, we have the right to express ourselves. Tristan posted the video and incited aggression against our centre. The real irony here is that Tristan Harris serves in the Canadian Armed Forces, an organization that is intended to defend Canada’s values, interests and sovereignty at home and abroad. They support human rights around the world, including our own charter, specifically section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication”. So it is hypocritical that a soldier with the oath of service to protect those rights, the right to express ourselves and form our own opinions, one of the essential features of a supposed democracy, desires to vilify people who are enacting those rights! Freedom of expression is an essential part of the right to dissent, and a basic feature of personal development. Now, although freedom of expression is protected, there is a delicate balance with aspects of harm. Our board is our own opinion and people may be upset by what we say, or celebrate it, or have discussions about it, but we are calling out an ideology, a polity, a social and cultural issue! We are not, as Tristan Harris has done, inciting harm against individual citizens because of their beliefs.

Among the replies on Tristan Harris’s facebook feed were people inciting that acts of arson against our centre, or a good beating! So is this what Canadian soldier’s do? Read it for yourself below.

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Appendix

Anti-colonization: As a university and advocacy group we feel it is vital to provide critical thought and lenses to things we see in our society. Canada 150 is billion dollar party for Canadians to show pride in this nation. How can we be proud of a nation that leaves so many people in disparity, a nation with an increasing disparity between the wealthy and poor, a nation that does not have clean drinking water, housing, education, employment, mental health services, health services for all? How do we support a nation that is founded on white supremacy? How do we support a nation that still benefits from the exploitation of people around world, and on its own stolen lands? Canada, as a colonizing power continues its legacy of violence, and institutions, such as this university, indoctrinates students into these contemporary colonial thinkers. Our student society is also complacement and fails to act in meaningful ways, other than boiler plate territory acknowledgements, which are rushed through at meetings.

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.

 

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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).

Summer 2017

Well, summer is fast approaching and it certainly feels hot and balmy today. The next meeting is on May 24th, at 4:30pm, and we will be discussing our summer meeting schedule and fall workshops.

Qian has finished her workstudy. Qian delivered our donation to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. We are very happy that we were able to provide such a donation thanks to the hard work of Qian.

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Our baby bunnies have left the den weeks ago, however, we still have one that is seen often outside in the bushes and it appears happy and healthy.

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We will be getting a usb hub that will allow all our computers to print. We are also discussing getting a new printer that can do duplexing(double sided) as many students have been asking to print double sided.

Tessa is away for the summer, but Daphne, Michelle, and others will be maintaining the centre. If you have any requests for bus tickets or other necessities please let us know at thirdspace@uvic.ca.

Sincerely,

Third Space

Rally to support Women’s March

The Third Space is re-posting this in spirit and solidarity with what is expanding into a global movement on the January 21st as women and various genders march on Washington on the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump.

DATE: Saturday, January 21st, 2017

PLACE: Centennial Square, 645 Fisgard Street, on the unceeded lands of the Lekwungen speaking peoples.

Details from the Facebook event page(EVENT LINK):
“For those of you who can’t travel to DC for this important march, please join us in Victoria while we support our neighbours to the south.

The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to their new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We invite people of all genders, backgrounds, and cultures to stand up for women, indigenous people, queers, and marginalized minorities everywhere.

The Rally will be followed by a march.”

If you need more information, require assistance (such as bus tickets), or would like to participate with the Third Space please email us at thirdspace@uvic.ca.

IMAGE: Illustration titled “Hear Our Voice” by Liza Donovan, created for the Women’s March on Washington. Read more about march art here.

 

UVic’s Message on Sexual Assault

The actions taken by the Women’s Centre, the UVSS, and students has resulted in a renewed attention to the issues of sexual assault on campus. The media became involved and shared the message that post-secondary institutions need policy reform. The Provincial Green Party member Andrew Weaver tabled a bill (read more here) to that aims to address the pervasive occurrence of sexualized violence plaguing universities and colleges in British Columbia. This bill has since been supported by the Premier as well, and it is only a matter of time before it becomes law.

The recent press and government support has caused the University of Victoria to respond. Now, although the message from UVic’s President Jamie Cassels appears to be a promise to work on these issues, it should be noted that it appears the development will be done at higher levels and through internal processes. We are still focused on demanding that survivors and students, faculty, and staff, are adequately represented and have a integral part in policy reform. President Jamie Cassels says in his statement;

“I made that commitment UVic and other BC post-secondary institutions have been working with the provincial government to collect best practices and develop a framework that provides guidance and an integrated approach for responding to sexualized violence. This has also involved seeking advice regarding the process for the review and development of a university policy that more directly and effectively addresses the issue of sexual and gender-based violence.”

Read the whole statement here: Message from the President on Sexual Assualt

This is a good step forward in policy reform, however, we find the terms ‘seeking advice’ to be vague and unaccountable. UVic should work horizontally in this endeavor to review and develop, which means, not just seeking advice from community, but having community at the table!

 

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Red Umbrella March

5:30 pm: Meet at the legislature, then march to Spirit Square (City Hall)
7:00 pm: Speakers, performances, and open mic (Council Chambers at City Hall)

Held on the Lekwungen territory of the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations.
The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers also known as Red Umbrella Day is a day held in solidarity with people around the world who trade or sell sex through commercial sex work. Please join us at 5:30pm on the steps of the legislature to march to end violence against sex workers.

Bus tickets will be availabile at City Hall, and there are two single stall washrooms in Council Chambers.

Peers Victoria and the University of Victoria Student Society are co-hosting this event.

Please contact us at: safersexwork@gmail.com for more information.

This event includes food from The Reef food truck.

This event has FREE CHILDCARE! Cage Shai will be doing child care and will have juice boxes, healthy snacks, and toys. Please message us in advance if your child has specific needs or dietary requirements.