One petition demands the resignation of current board members while another calls for bylaw changes
Several Reddit posts criticizing the professionalism of the UVic Students’ Society (UVSS) Board of Directors has led to the creation of a petition calling for their resignation, which has garnered over 150 signatures.
On Jan. 5, 2024, Reddit user “AnimatorAmazing190” created a post in the UVic subreddit criticizing how the directors use the UVSS Instagram page.
“It looks like it has been turned into a personal promotion account for the members of the UVSS,” they wrote. “They literally post themselves smoking joints and then comment on each post like ‘yay cool outfit.’”
This post gained over 250 upvotes and 50 comments, and was followed by a slew of other posts voicing various critiques of the UVSS and the student fees that fund it.
On Jan. 6, AnimatorAmazing190 posted that they had started a petition on Change.org asking that UVSS fees be refunded to students. This was then changed into the current petition demanding that the Board resigns. They clarified that the petition “has been updated to be more realistic.”
The petition, which is named “Demand Resignation of UVSS Board Members for Unprofessional Conduct, Poor Representation” has a current goal of 200 signatures.
“There have been numerous instances where members of the UVSS were found smoking weed during work hours,” the petition description claims. “This not only violates professional ethics but also undermines their ability to perform their duties effectively. Additionally, they frequently miss their own office hours which further hampers their accessibility and reliability. On top of that, they use the UVSS Instagram account as their personal promotional space: they post pictures where they smoke weed and drink alcohol.”
One UVSS director responded to the criticism, claiming that part of their job is to increase engagement, and that since posting more relatable content on the UVSS Instagram, that engagement had increased nearly tenfold.
“I actually genuinely appreciate the scrutiny,” they wrote. “It means a lot to know that you care about us doing the best for you folks at UVIC. We’re not perfect, but I won’t hear someone call my colleagues lazy while I know how much of themselves they put into this and how much good they’re doing.”
This response was then reposted to Reddit by the user “spud_potato,” where it was given the title “UVSS director leads proves that the current BODs can’t take criticism.”
A response from another director on Instagram that says, “Looking forward to seeing you run this year!” was put under similar scrutiny and is present on the petition’s page.
Despite the apparent interest in the UVSS, voter turnout in student elections has been underwhelming recently. During the last Director-at-Large by-election in October of 2023, only six per cent of UVic undergraduates eligible to vote did so.
While the majority of the criticism on Reddit is of the alleged unprofessionalism, some students have used this as an opportunity to voice their distaste of the mandatory UVSS fees that students pay every semester.
“So the board of directors are salaried I’m assuming? Anyone have any information about how much they pay themselves with our money? This seems very scammy,” wrote one user. It was quickly pointed out by other commenters that all UVSS expenses, budgets, and audits are available freely on their website.
The current Board of Directors’ term in office will last until April 30. Impeachment proceedings may be initiated if a petition is signed by at least five per cent of UVSS members. With approximately 18 000 undergrads at UVic, this means that 900 signatures would be needed.
When asked for a comment, the UVSS directors declined to make any official statements on the matter. The creator of the petition was unable to be reached for comment.
Another, more recent petition has been posted to Reddit calling for broader action regarding the UVSS. “After years of increasingly bad governance in our student union,” says the petition description, “it’s time to act.”
Reddit user “tiogar99” the creator of the petition, writes that “we’ve hit a critical point. Staff turnover has gotten ridiculous: in the last year, every single senior manager in the organization has left, but one.”
The petition, which does not disclose how many signatures it has garnered, is proposing changes to the UVSS Constitution and Bylaws. It aims to do this by raising the motion at the 2024 UVSS Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM) and including it as a referenda motion for the 2024 UVSS election.