A VIUSU graphic with text "expanding health and wellness" and an illustration of a woman speaking on an online call

The VIUSU referendum highlights student health and wellness / Image via the VIUSU Instagram

March is usually a busy month for VIU students is with assignments, exams, and final years getting ready to graduate.

This year, there’s something else important for students to remember—the VIU Students’ Union (VIUSU) referendum and elections being held online March 1–3, 2022.

While VIUSU elections are twice a year, the student referendum is something many current students will have never seen before. The referendum poses six questions, each corresponding to a proposal affecting students. All VIU students have a right to vote on the questions and in the election.

The first two address the health and dental service coverage provided by VIUSU. Currently, the coverage only applies to students taking a majority of their courses (nine credits or the equivalent) at the Nanaimo campus.

The proposals would see the requirement changed to six credits or the equivalent and eliminate the need to be on the Nanaimo campus full-time. This would make students at other campuses, as well as part-time and online students, eligible for the coverage.

The next questions address student advocacy and activities. The accompanying proposals would see the VIUSU membership fee increase by $1.50 a month to support a dedicated full-time Students’ Advocate position. The position would be similar to that of the current Students’ Advocate role, only full-time to help support as many students as possible. The position is independent from VIU and would address issues of fairness and help resolve disputes between student and institution.

Another added fee—$1.75 per month—would support the creation of the VIUSU Grants Fund. The fund’s aim is to help student clubs and course unions, but would be accessible for all students. (To read more about clubs on campus, click here.)

The final proposals would see changes to the VIUSU Board of Directors.

One proposal would eliminate the Parksville Campus Representative position, which is seldom filled, while the other would see the current Faculty Representative – International Education position replaced by the new International Students’ Representative. (There is now no Faculty of International Studies at VIU.)

The referendum proposals pass with a majority vote, while the questions regarding VIUSU representatives must gain a three quarters (3/4) majority.

The elections are being held for positions on the VIUSU Board of Directors:

  • Chairperson;
  • Women Students’ Representative;
  • Director of Events;
  • Aboriginal Students’ Representative;
  • Director of External Relations;
  • Directors of Internal Relations; and
  • Director at Large.

Roles for the Student Representative on the Senate Standing Committee on Indigenous Commitments (SSCIC) are also open.

One candidate will be elected for each position, except for Director at Large and the SSCIC for which there are five and two positions available, respectively.

Campaigning for the student elections ends on Tuesday, March 1, the same day voting begins. Students will be able to vote by email until Thursday, March 3.

For more information on the referendum or elections, visit the VIUSU office at the Nanaimo campus, the VIUSU website or Instagram @viustudentsunion. You can also email elections@viusu.ca and see the full list of candidate platforms by clicking here.

Editor

Sophia Wasylinko is a third-year Creative Writing and Journalism student. She was the Entertainment Reporter for CHLY 101.7FM in winter 2020. Her favorite things in life are cats, the color purple, coffee, and books (mysteries or books about ghosts, murder, and crime in general). Sophia is excited to be back in Nanaimo and hopes to explore more of Vancouver Island this year.

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